Dye-Log: SEC On the Outside Looking In

Coach Pat Dye

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the Auburn Tigers and SEC football in this week's edition of his Dye-Log column.

Looking back at the Auburn-Georgia football game, it was a lot like what we have seen from the Tigers in previous games. There wasn't a lot to get excited about from an Auburn perspective.

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I will give Georgia credit for playing well. I think the Bulldogs have improved a lot since earlier in the season and they are a much better team than the one that lost to South Carolina. I voted them fourth this week in the Coaches Legends poll behind the three unbeaten teams–Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame.

Georgia has come on strong and looks to me to be playing about as well as any team in the country after having some problems early in the season. I think the Bulldogs will have a real chance to win the SEC Championship this year now that the defense is coming on strong. My son, Pat Jr., is an agent and he told me that the Bulldogs may have as many as six NFL first-round draft picks on their defense. I don't remember ever hearing anything like that before.

The Bulldogs offered a tough challenge for Auburn's freshman quarterback, who was making his first start against an SEC team. I thought Jonathan Wallace competed hard and didn't go in the jar and made a few plays on Saturday night.

I don't expect any miracles out of him this year, but going forward he is certainly a quarterback who has a chance to win in this conference. A good sign concerning Wallace is that I really think his teammates have rallied around him. I think that shows he is a leader, something that is important for any football team to have in abundance.

As a coach I don't know how you develop leadership and toughness in a football team other than working hard. Through hard work, and offering challenges, you will find out who the leaders are. The players will respond to it--not all of them, but the good ones will. They always do. There will be some that you don't think will buy in who do and others you think will buy in but don't.

This past weekend was another of example of how tough it is to go undefeated in the SEC with Texas A&M going into Tuscaloosa and knocking off Alabama. It was too much for Alabama to come back from an emotional, last-minute win against an LSU team that is showing signs of improvement with its quarterback Zach Mettenberger playing better. I believe LSU is playing about as well as any team in the SEC right now.

Texas A&M has certainly improved, too, and is playing like a Top 10 team. With Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Florida all in my Top 10, it isn't a big surprise that once again this year that no team is getting through the season undefeated in SEC play.

Right now Georgia may be the best team in the league and Coach Richt's group looks like it is capable of beating any team in the country, but unless two of the three undefeated teams lose the SEC's streak of producing BCS championship teams looks like it will end this season.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.

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