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There was a time there, way back in mid-September, when people who were hoping to take a break from Southern fried football saw a glimmer.

Texas beat Alabama—in Tuscaloosa!—34-24 on Sept. 9. A week later, Georgia had to rally to beat South Carolina 24-14. And on Sept. 30, Auburn seemed on the verge of muzzling the Dawgs before Uga prevailed 27-20.

At that point, people were saying Texas was the most deserving No. 1. And cases were made for Georgia being No. 4 behind Florida State and Michigan, too. Alabama wasn’t even on the Top-10 radar

And then came Saturday.

Georgia, obviously churlish at being disrespected, took Kentucky to the woodshed 51-13

And the Crimson Tide, for all their flaws, notched a taut 26-20 win at Texas A&M.

What this means: For all the yapping about parity, the two programs that have been the best in college football are in pretty good position to have their say in the College Football Playoff.

Georgia has not been as dominant this fall. But is there a better bet to stop the Dawgs in their quest for a third straight national championship?

And it won’t be long before stories start surfacing in Waffle House country that if Alabama runs the table—including a win over Georgia—the SEC could land two teams in the last four-team playoff.

That’s a long shot at this point, of course. Both teams have some tough games in an SEC that has impressive depth this fall.

But developments elsewhere around the country are enhancing the SEC’s chances for glory.

Georgia's No. 1 ranking seems a lot more comfortable this week after the Kentucky thrashing. And No. 11 Alabama is poised to move back into the top 10 next week. And with attrition around the nation, the Tide could have a tidy playoff resume when the selection discusssion gets serious.

@ Texas, which was supposed to be back, instead was set back by a surging Oklahoma 34-30 Kudos to the Sooners and their sneaky-good quarterback, Dillon Gabriel. But they’ll need to show more than one big-time win before it can be said that everything is OK in Oklahoma.

The Sooners might not get that opportunity before a conference-championship game rematch with Texas. That would be one heckuva way to say Adios to the Big 12 before riding off to the SEC.

@ This business about three Big Ten teams in the top six still strikes me as unfinished business. Very unfinished.

No. 2 Michigan still hasn’t played anybody Sure, the Wolverines are stomping people. But what’s their best win? At Nebraska? At Minnesota?

Unless floundering Michigan State gets fired up for Big Brother, Michigan won’t be tested until it travels to No. 6 Penn State on Nov. 11. The Nittany Lions, who have beaten Illinois, Iowa and Northwester in their 3-0 Big Ten start, don’t have any signature wins, either. And no, the Hawkeyes don’t count.

Meanwhile, No. 3 Ohio State had its hands full on Saturday with Maryland, trailing 17-10 in the third quarter before pulling away for a 37-17 win that felt a lot closer than that. Yes, the Terms are much improved. But the Buckeyes will have plenty to prove when Penn State comes to the Horseshoe on Oct. 21.

That might be the largest point: The Big Ten’s Big Three are well-positioned to kneecap each other.

By the way, unsung Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord is looking more and more like the Real Deal. As the season goes on, look for him to emerge as a tough, talented and low-keyed star.

@ Speaking of attrition, the Pac-12 could lose two of its top-10 unbeaten this Saturday. One will definitely depart when No. 8 Oregon travels to No. 6 Washington in what shapes up as Week 7’s best game.

And No. 9 USC needs to be on guard when it travels to Notre Dame. The Irish saw their playoff hopes go down the drain with their second loss, 33-20, at Louisville on Saturday.

ND got caught in the emotional wringer of playing its third straight quality opponent. Ohio State was one thing. But the Irish could not have known that road trips to Duke and Louisville would be so daunting when this schedule was made.

Oh and by the way, Notre Dame’s swoon does not help Ohio State’s resume.

That said, with the pressure off ND ought to be charged up to bounce back against the Trojans, who have been giving up way too many points. Could be a big night for Irish QB Sam Hartman, who will want to shake off the miscues of Louisville.

@ Still looking like a playoff team is Florida State. But there seems to be a fair amount of parity, and maybe even quality, in the ACC. Miami lost on the gaffe of the year, declining to take a game-winning knee. But Louisville and North Carolina remain unbeaten. And two-loss Clemson is capable of playing spoiler.

The point is: For all the chatter about other leagues, the college-football world still seems to revolve around the SEC.