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Leeman Bennett is a former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is the current chairman of the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s Team Selection Committee. He writes a weekly team selection blog to give fans an inside look into the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s team scouting and selection process.
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10/18/12: Midway Point Snapshot

Halfway through the season is a good time to take a snapshot of the standings in the ACC and SEC and reflect on some of the surprises and some of the blockbuster games looming for teams that look to be in our mix at team selection time.

Here’s a look at both conferences and some thoughts on what stands out to me so far.

IN THE ACC

   
Atlantic
Conf
Overall
Maryland
2-0
4-2
#14 Florida State
3-1
6-1
#19 Clemson
2-1
5-1
NC State
1-1
4-2
Wake Forest
1-3
3-3
Boston College
0-3
1-5
Coastal
Conf
Overall
Miami
3-1
4-3
Duke 
2-1
5-2
North Carolina 
2-1
5-2
Virginia Tech
2-1
4-3
Georgia Tech
1-3
2-4
Virginia
0-3
2-5

On the Up Side

The Seminoles are a one-point road loss to NC State away from an undefeated season and probably top-five national ranking, but the shocker is in how FSU is making it happen this year. A 15th ranked rushing attack and a 4th ranked scoring defense are a little out of the norm for Florida State, but are certainly serving them well.

Duke is 5-2 and looking really good doing it on the offensive side of the ball with nearly 300 yards through the air each time out. Look for an interesting game this week against North Carolina for Duke to become bowl eligible. Their schedule remains difficult as they finish the season with FSU, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami.

Tech Stocks are Down

Big surprises at both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech as they have uncharacteristically lost non-conference games: VT to Pitt and Cincinnati and GT to Middle Tennessee. These are both very talented teams with top-notch coaching staffs and we fully expect them to get things turned around. We’re looking for both Techs to bounce back, but it does not get any easier with the heart of the ACC schedule.

IN THE SEC

   
East
Conf
Overall
#2 Florida
5-0
6-0
#7 South Carolina 
4-1
6-1
#11 Georgia 
3-1
5-1
Vanderbilt 
1-3
2-4
Tennessee
0-3
3-3
Missouri 
0-4
3-4
Kentucky
0-4
1-6
WEST
Conf
Overall 
#1 Alabama
3-0
6-0
#12 Mississippi State 
3-0
6-0
#6 LSU 
2-1
6-1
#18 Texas A&M
2-1
5-1
Arkansas
2-2
3-4
Ole Miss
1-2
4-3
Auburn 
0-4
1-5

Look at all those numbers

Half of the SEC is ranked in the top 18 teams in the country. Stop and let that sink in a little, ‘cause it’s a pretty big deal. And don’t look now, but the SEC East has joined the party in a big way with three ranked teams of its own including the surprising Gators at 6-0 and the yes-they’re-for-real Gamecocks who are only a Death Valley field goal shy of a perfect season.

Maroon alert!

SEC teams with maroon (or garnet) as their primary color are a combined 17-2. We all knew South Carolina was going to be good, but a little more surprising to see just how far Mississippi State has come and how well Texas A&M is faring in their first SEC season. The Bulldogs are still undefeated and the Aggies’ only loss is to the #2 team in the country. Not bad.

Conference wins are tough

No way anyone could have predicted that halfway through the year there would still be four SEC teams without a conference win and even less of a chance that those team names would include Auburn, Tennessee and Missouri. These are talented teams that just haven’t had the ball bounce their way … yet.

Games to watch this week:

Both conferences are filled with quality games this week, but keep your eyes peeled and your TVs tuned into these gems as we gear up for the start of our team selection process.

  • Virginia Tech at Clemson – Look for a battle of top QBs between Thomas and Boyd.

  • Florida State at Miami – FSU has won 5 of the last 7, but the ‘Canes hold the all-time advantage 31-25. Always a classic.

  • Alabama at Tennessee – A good, traditional rivalry game. Look for a prideful game out of the Volunteers.

  • South Carolina at Florida – #7 vs. #2 and Spurrier back in The Swamp. The winner takes control of the East.

  • LSU at Texas A&M – Kyle Field will be a great environment for what I hope becomes another great SEC rivalry.


Current media predictions for the Chick-fil-A Bowl:

CBSSports.com
ESPN.com
Sporting News
Clemson vs. Miss. State
Clemson vs. Miss. State
Clemson vs. Texas A&M

These seem pretty reasonable, but I’m wondering if we might get to see a somewhat delayed winner’s bracket game from our season-opening Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game doubleheader with Tennessee against Clemson. That would be pretty fun!

Enjoy this week’s games!

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  Comments

New teams
Created by South Georgia CFA fan in 10/22/2012 7:32:28 AM
I would like to see some new teams in the CFA this year and so far the standings are cooperating. Miss. State, Texas A&M, Duke,UNC, Maryland would all be fun. I want fan bases that want to be in Atlanta on 12/31.
Gator Bait
Created by Pat in 10/18/2012 12:12:38 PM
Spurrier's Gamecocks are going have to be at their best to bounce back from that LSU loss. Heading to The Swamp could really make or break them...it should be a fun one!

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