L.G. Patterson/Associated Press
One of the benefits of the SEC’s conference-only schedule is that we should be treated to at least one ranked matchup each week.
On Saturday, there are two Top 25 meetings in the SEC that could shake up the complexion of both divisions.
Alabama hosts Texas A&M in the first of those two games, but it will serve as the appetizer to the main event between Auburn and Georgia.
The “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” will be contested under the lights at Sanford Stadium and will serve as an early measuring stick for each team’s championship hopes.
Georgia is in a much more favorable position to make a title run from the SEC East, but Auburn might be able to lay claim to the title of second-best squad in the SEC West if it comes out of Athens, Georgia, with a victory.
Week 5 Rankings
AP Top 25
1. Clemson (2-0)
2. Alabama (1-0)
3. Florida (1-0)
4. Georgia (1-0)
5. Notre Dame (2-0)
6. Ohio State
7. Auburn (1-0)
8. Miami (3-0)
9. Texas (2-0)
10. Penn State
11. UCF (2-0)
12. North Carolina (1-0)
13. Texas A&M (1-0)
15. Cincinnati (2-0)
16. Mississippi State (1-0)
17. Oklahoma State (2-0)
18. Oklahoma (1-1)
20. LSU (0-1)
21. Tennessee (1-0)
22. BYU (2-0)
24. Pittsburgh (3-0)
25. Memphis (1-0)
The four SEC teams in the Top 25 matchups will be under the biggest spotlights Saturday.
Alabama looked like the most impressive of the four squads in the opening week of SEC play by beating Missouri by 19 points.
Auburn was frustrated by Kentucky, Georgia struggled in the first half against Arkansas, and Texas A&M failed to pull away from Vanderbilt.
Georgia could be in the best position to improve out of the three with the arrival of J.T. Daniels into the offense.
The USC transfer was one of a few players across the SEC to be declared eligible this week. Kentucky quarterback Joey Gatewood and Tennessee offensive tackle Cade Mays were among the others.
Daniels will likely be the starting quarterback in the long term, but Kirby Smart may be inclined to use Stetson Bennett IV on some drives because he stabilized the offense in the second half versus Arkansas. Bennett went 20-for-29 for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns in relief of D’Wan Mathis.
No matter who starts under center, the Bulldogs need to find more consistency on offense after producing five first-half points.
Auburn scored 29 points in its opener behind Bo Nix, who was 16-for-27 with 233 yards and three scoring throws.
The Tigers have a chance to upset the Bulldogs because they have a consistent offensive unit that has developed chemistry in the last two seasons.
Seth Williams, Eli Stove and Anthony Schwartz combined for 13 receptions and 207 receiving yards against Kentucky, and if they haul in a good chunk of Nix’s passes Saturday, they could test the Georgia secondary with their speed and physical qualities.
Texas A&M may end up as the top candidate to drop spots in the AP Top 25 since it failed to get going against Vanderbilt and faces one of the most talented defenses in the country.
The Aggies lost to Alabama by a combined 41 points in the last two years and conceded over 40 points to the Crimson Tide in both meetings.
The rest of the Top 25 teams are favored to come out on top in Week 5, but there could be a few squads that run into some trouble.
Oklahoma needs to rebound from its loss to Kansas State, but it must conquer an Iowa State team that has given it trouble recently. The Cyclones lost by a combined 11 points in the last two seasons.
In the ACC, North Carolina faces a potentially tricky trip to Boston College because of the circumstances around the matchup.
The Tar Heels have not played since September 12, while Boston College has played in each of the last two weeks.
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Statistics obtained from ESPN.com