Preseason projected record: 12-0 Midway mark: 5-0 The good news: The nation's top-ranked defense is good enough to carry UF to a crown. The bad news: The stellar play of the nation's top-ranked defense is overshadowed by Tim Tebow and his head coach sharing a sideline kunik (see here).
Next game: vs. Arkansas, Oct. 17 (3:30 p.m. ET/CBS).
Alabama Crimson Tide
Preseason projected record: 11-1 Midway mark: 6-0 The good news:Greg McElroy has proven to be more than just a one-read-and-ditch-it kind of quarterback. Mark Ingram has proven to be a one-cut-get-up field-chains-moving machine. The bad news:Nick Saban might need to put his starting defense on a kickoff team that has given up more green than a Bernie Madoff investor. Think Terrence Cody kicking off Tom Dempsey-style.
Next game: South Carolina, Oct. 17 (6:45 p.m. CT/ESPN).
Preseason projected record: 9-3 Midway mark: 5-1 The good news: The presence of new coordinator John Chavis seems to have stabilized the Tigers defense. The bad news: Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton is intent on turning quarterback Jordan Jefferson into Jeff George.
Next game: vs. Auburn, Oct. 24 (6:30 p.m. CT/ESPN or ESPN2).
Preseason projected record: 7-5 Midway mark: 5-1 The good news: The maturation process of quarterback Stephen Garciaseems to have graduated from pre-adolescence to early adulthood. The bad news: In recent years, the Gamecocks have been the Eastern Division's worst team over the second half of the season. With Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and Clemson still on the schedule, will this year be any different?
Next game: at Alabama, Oct. 17 (6:45 p.m. CT/ESPN).
Preseason projected record: 7-5 Midway mark: 3-2 The good news: Quarterback Ryan Mallett has lived up to the hype in his first season behind center. The bad news: If Mallett jumps to the NFL, the Hogs will have their third starter behind center in as many years in 2010.
Next game: at Florida, Oct. 17 (3:30 p.m. ET/CBS).
Preseason projected record: 5-7 Midway mark: 5-1 The good news: The Tigers are one win away from bowl eligibility, which puts them a year ahead of where I thought they would be in Gene Chizik's first season. The bad news: For entirely different reasons, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's stay on the Plains might last a little longer than the guy he followed.
Next game: vs. Kentucky, Oct. 17 (6:30 p.m. CT/ESPNU).
Preseason projected record: 6-6 Midway mark: 3-3 The good news:Jonathan Crompton completed 20 of 27 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns in the Vols' win over Georgia. The bad news:Jonathan Cromptonthrew 27 passes in the Vols' win over Georgia.
Next game: at Alabama, Oct. 24 (2:30 p.m. CT/CBS).
Ole Miss Rebels
Preseason projected record: 8-4 Midway mark: 3-2 The good news: This week, the Rebels will face a team from Alabama it can actually beat. The bad news: That team is UAB.
Next game: vs. UAB, Oct. 17 (6 p.m. CT/FSN).
Preseason projected record: 8-4 Midway mark: 3-3 The good news: The Bulldogs showed some serious backbone in their first five games of the season. The bad news: In their sixth game -- a 45-19 loss to Tennessee -- they looked like a team on the verge of shutting it down for the final two months of the season.
Next game: at Vanderbilt, Oct. 17 (11:21 p.m. CT/SECN).
Preseason projected record: 6-6 Midway mark: 2-3 The good news: With Mike Hartline out with a knee injury, UK fans are getting the change at quarterback they've been howling for. The bad news:Rich Brooks' next-best option at the position is wide receiver Randall Cobb. Plenty of wildcat formation in the Cats' offensive future.
Next game: at Auburn, Oct. 17 (6:30 p.m. CT/ESPNU).
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Preseason projected record: 2-10 Midway mark: 2-4 The good news: If nothing else, Dan Mullen's offense is easy on the eyes. The bad news: Opposing offenses are saying the same thing about the Bulldogs defense.
Next game: at Middle Tennessee, Oct. 17 (11:30 a.m. CT/ESPNU).
Preseason projected record: 5-7 Midway mark: 2-4 The good news: Freshman running backs Warren Norman and Zac Stacy are a solid one-two punch for the future. The bad news: Four years A.C. (after Cutler), Bobby Johnson is still in search of a legitimate answer at quarterback.