A couple teams in the SEC East and SEC West face some major challenges on their potential roads to Atlanta.

Meanwhile, two teams (Ole Miss and Texas A&M) begin a long journey without their two star quarterbacks by facing each other this Saturday night.

Let’s take a look at 10 interesting tidbits about Week 11 of the SEC schedule:

  1. There are seven games involving SEC teams this week, as every team in the conference will be in action, and four of them involve a team ranked in the Top 25 of the College Football Playoff rankings.
  2. Is the SEC reverting to its old ways as the conference known for its defensive prowess? Four SEC teams (Alabama, Florida, LSU and Auburn) all rank inside the nation’s top 10 in scoring defense, and only one (Alabama) operates as a top 25 scoring offense.
  3. Mississippi State shocked many with its big-time upset over Texas A&M last week, but don’t expect a similar result when it takes on No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Aside from the fact that the Crimson Tide has arguably the best defense college football has seen in over a decade, it’s won eight in a row in this series and have held the Bulldogs’ offense to 8.4 points during that streak.
  4. Can South Carolina pull off one of the more remarkable second-half comebacks in recent SEC East memory? Since a 2-4 start that featured the FBS’ least effective offense in terms of scoring production (14 points per game), USC is 3-0 (29.7) with a win over Tennessee and has the chance the become bowl-eligible with a win in The Swamp this weekend. True freshman quarterback Jake Bentley has performed far above expectations, throwing for over 600 yards and 6 touchdowns with no interceptions so far in his young career.
  5. Despite an extremely challenging month of October, Tennessee can still work its way back into the SEC title game conversation by winning out the rest of the way (vs. Kentucky, vs. Missouri, at Vanderbilt) and hoping Florida slips one more time (vs. South Carolina, at LSU). Beating the Wildcats this Saturday isn’t a given. However, the Vols haven’t lost to UK at home since 1984 … that’s 15 straight.

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  1. Auburn received a small scare last week as it slipped by Vanderbilt at home, 23-16, but its next opponent could present an even bigger challenge as it awaits the Iron Bowl — and a shot at the SEC Championship Game — in just a few weeks. Georgia leads the all-time series at 56-55-8, winning the last four of five overall and four in a row over the Tigers at Sanford Stadium with an average score of 38.8-14.5.
  2. With a 4-5 (1-4) record and just three more games left on the schedule, Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason probably needs to tack on two more wins to be retained for the 2017 season. Though ESPN’s FPI projects the Commodores to extend their bowl drought — they haven’t participated since James Franklin’s final year in 2013 — beating a Missouri team that has lost 11 SEC games in a row is doable (and necessary).
  3. All eyes will be on LSU and interim coach Ed Orgeron this weekend after suffering a brutal shutout loss at home to Alabama. Will the players continue to rally around him and win its next few games to keep him in contention for the full-time gig or will they become uninterested after being eliminated from SEC West contention? For what it’s worth, LSU is No. 1 in the conference with an 11-3 record after losses since 2012 … but the Tigers have lost their last two against Arkansas, scoring a total of 14 points in the process.
  4. With quarterback Trevor Knight out for the rest of the regular season, Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2) puts its trust in redshirt junior Jake Hubenak to lead the team to a healthy finish for a possible spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Even with the upset versus Mississippi State, the Aggies are certainly capable of accomplishing just that, starting with a hurting Ole Miss team that also lost its star QB in Chad Kelly. Texas A&M is 22-5 as a home favorite under coach Kevin Sumlin.
  5. Vegas lists Alabama (-29) as the only overwhelming favorite to win this week with Tennessee (-13.5), Florida (-11.5), Auburn (-10) and Texas A&M (-10) rounding out the biggest spreads in the SEC. LSU (-7) and Missouri (-3.5) are getting a little less love, but the actual outcome is expected to be the same.