What we learned in the SEC: Week 12

November, 16, 2008
11/16/08
3:55
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Alabama and Florida continue to bear down on their collision course in Atlanta on Dec. 6, a showdown that's shaping up as the most anticipated SEC Championship Game since its inception in 1992. If Oklahoma beats Texas Tech this coming weekend, there's a decent chance that Alabama and Florida -- provided neither team stumbles these last two weeks of the regular season -- will go into the SEC Championship Game ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS standings. That's never happened before. Until then, I'm sure we'll all debate who's the better team. It's hard to pick against Florida right now with the way the Gators are playing. But we'll get to see for ourselves in the Georgia Dome. Can't Dec. 6 go ahead and get here? Here's a look at what we learned in the SEC in Week 12:

1. No ordinary season: Nope, this isn't the way anybody envisioned it going this year in the SEC. Tennessee is assured of its second losing season in the past four years, and Phillip Fulmer is on his way out. Auburn's Tommy Tuberville could be right behind him, as the Tigers are also in danger of finishing with a losing season unless they can upset Alabama in two weeks. Speaking of the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Tide, wasn't this supposed to be just another step in Nick Saban's rebuilding process? And Ole Miss and Vanderbilt both being bowl eligible? The Commodores, thanks to their 31-24 win over Kentucky on Saturday, are going to a bowl game for the first time since 1982. And if they can beat Tennessee this coming Saturday, they would secure only their second winning season in SEC play over the last 48 years.

2. Gators dialing long distance: Every time you look around, Florida is scoring a touchdown from 30, 40 or 50 yards or more. If it's not Percy Harvin or Jeffery Demps on offense, it's Brandon Spikes on defense or Brandon James on special teams. As South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier pointed out Saturday following the Gators' 56-6 drubbing of his Gamecocks, it's impossible to keep tabs on so many fast guys. Florida has a staggering 27 touchdown plays of 20 yards or longer this season -- 11 passes, 10 runs, four interception returns and two punt returns.

3. Percy is priceless: Ask Harvin what position he plays, and he shrugs his shoulders. "I'm whatever the team needs me to play; a receiver, a running back, it doesn't matter," Harvin says. He's right. No matter where he lines up, he's finding ways to reach the end zone. The Gators are moving him all over the place. He's in the slot. He's split wide. He's a single back. He's one of twin backs flanking Tim Tebow in the shotgun. Simply, the Gators are getting the ball in Harvin's hands, and he's delivering. He's now scored a touchdown in the past 12 games he's played in. This season, he has seven rushing touchdowns and seven receiving touchdowns.

4. Don't sleep on the Tide: With all the talk about Florida, Alabama's likely to get lost in the shuffle until the two teams meet in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 6. The Gators will almost certainly be favored in that game. But the Crimson Tide have proven they know how to win games, whether it's Javier Arenas breaking a game open with a punt return, the offensive line putting a game away with one of those patented, shove-it-down-your-throat drives or the defense setting up an easy score. This is a physical, well-rounded football team that believes deeply in what it's doing right now.

5. Finally some relief for Lee: His first half was pure misery, and he threw another interception that was returned for a touchdown. That's right, LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee now has seven interceptions this season that have gone the other way for touchdowns -- an incredible statistic in its own right. But Lee showed some courage in the second half in leading the Tigers to a remarkable comeback after being down 31-3 in the third quarter. Fighting off the boos from the home crowd, Lee recovered to go 11-of-14 for 138 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and the Tigers came back from the dead to score 37 unanswered points and escape 40-31 at Tiger Stadium.

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