Let's assume for a minute that Alabama and Florida meet in the SEC Championship Game. It's not an outlandish assumption. The Gators' path to Atlanta is clear after a 44-28 win over Georgia. Both Florida and Alabama will be favorites in their remaining games and there's at least some separation between them and the second-best teams in their respective divisions. So if that matchup comes to fruition on Dec. 19, it would be a good one. And Florida would have a real chance to win.
The style of football Alabama and Florida are playing is what's winning in the SEC -- and college football on the whole. Through the first nine weeks, Alabama, Clemson, Florida and Ohio State all ranked in the top 10 nationally in points per drive. The Tide beat Georgia -- the best defense in the country, per FEI -- in October thanks to heavy downfield passing with their superstar wide receivers. On Saturday, Florida beat Georgia with a heavy dose of running back wheel routes and ball distribution. In all, 10 players caught a pass.
Go back to Alabama's closest game of the year, a 63-48 win over Ole Miss. The Rebels put all kinds of stress on the Tide's defense with downfield passing and an effective running game. To beat the spread, Alabama had to play it even better. Florida's lone loss, against Texas A&M, was a shootout as well. Getting a game into the 40s and up is how you beat Alabama and Florida. These offenses are so dominant that, short of an off day, the only way to best them is to beat them at their own game.
If Alabama and Florida are capable of doing what they did to Georgia's defense, imagine what they could do if they met each on a fast track indoors.
Here's what else went down in Week 10 of the college football season.
Ian Book played the best game of his career
No. 4 Notre Dame's 47-40 double overtime win over No. 1 Clemson wouldn't have been possible without Book playing his tail off. D.J. Uiagalelei technically had the more prolific stat sheet with 439 yards passing and two touchdowns. But Book was a maniac with 378 yards of total offense and a touchdown. He kept drives alive with his feet and made tough throws all evening. From the opening drive, it felt like the Fighting Irish might finally be able to get over the hump against elite teams, and there was a different vibe around Book's performance. The determination and sheer will was there. Book may not be the touted NFL prospect like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, but he played his best game in South Bend at the most critical time.
Texas A&M was written off too soon
I know this because I did it, too, after the 52-24 loss to Alabama. Granted, A&M is clearly not in the same rung as the Tide (few are), but that doesn't mean it's not a top-10 team. Since losing to Bama, the Aggies have one of the nation's best wins over Florida and have taken care of Mississippi State, Arkansas and now South Carolina. Jimbo Fisher's team should be favored in each of its remaining four games as it's playing its best football at the moment. Quarterback Kellen Mond has been hot -- he has 12 TDs to 1 INT since Bama -- and running back Isaiah Spiller and tight end Jalen Wydermyer are real players in this offense. The Aggies defense allowed just 150 yards to the Gamecocks on Saturday, so the other side of the ball is getting the job done, too. I don't know for sure if they'll be playoff-bound as team No. 4, but they'll at least have an argument if they keep winning.
The Big Ten is completely upside down
The Big 12 took its lumps early in the season for beating up on each other, but the Big Ten has produced the most unexpected results so far. After three weeks of conference play, Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern and Purdue are a combined 10-1 (and the one loss was Maryland to Northwestern) while Penn State, Michigan and Nebraska are 1-7. About the only normalcy is that it appears no one is able to touch No. 3 Ohio State. Make no mistake: these records aren't by accident or some fluke. Still, black is white, up is down and two of the three best teams in the Big Ten are ... Indiana and Northwestern? Strange times.
USC got lucky
The Trojans looked well on their way to an 0-1 start when they got the ball back with 4:28 remaining in the fourth quarter and down 27-14 to Arizona State. Then things changed. USC capped off a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive with a tip-drill touchdown, then recovered an onside kick and scored the go-ahead touchdown and extra point with just under a minute and a half remaining to win 28-27.
USC committed four turnovers to Arizona State's three and at one point in the fourth quarter didn't seem to have the urgency of a team down by two scores. It wasn't the finest game USC could have played, but it also marked the first time it's played a game in nearly a year. And it showed for both sides. That's not to say USC didn't deserve to win, but sometimes you need a couple of balls to bounce your way. USC got those bounces.
Huge Freeze is coaching in the SEC in 2021
This space is for bold statements, but it's rarely for bold predictions. I'll call my shot now. I think Freeze is heading a SEC program next season. Which one? South Carolina looks like a sub-.500 team after its loss to Texas A&M. Would Tennessee fire Jeremy Pruitt? Those odds seem much longer, but the so-called gap Pruitt talked about between the Vols and the Alabama's of the world is a non-starter; the gap is between Tennessee and programs like Arkansas, which outscored the Vols 24-0 in the second half of a 24-13 win. Freeze has Liberty rolling at 7-0, and even though he left Ole Miss unceremoniously amid NCAA and personal controversies three years ago, he's building up the kind of comeback resume that will land him a big job sooner rather than later.