We learned a lot about the SEC in the first month of play. Well, October should help to paint a clearer picture of who will face off in Atlanta for the SEC title game.
Here are the biggest questions looming in October.
Edward Aschoff: Will Tennessee keep its East lead?
The Vols took a major step forward with that historic comeback win over Florida, but now comes the even harder part: keeping this momentum going. There's no question that Tennessee has the talent to win the East, but is the championship mindset there? And even if it is, can the Vols leave October with wins over Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama? Can they at least split the games between A&M (on the road) and Alabama (the No. 1 team in the country)? And will a loss derail the momentum from last Saturday's win, giving us a "Here we go again" feel? We don't know, but that Florida win gave the Vols a boatload of confidence for a stretch like this.
David Ching: What happens at LSU?
This one is especially interesting since LSU is the program I follow closest. It seems that the most likely coaching scenario will be for LSU to find an offense-minded guy who can recruit and develop quarterbacks. But what if interim coach Ed Orgeron and staff manage to right the ship like he did after taking over for Lane Kiffin at USC in 2013? Orgeron is a South Louisianan through and through. He speaks the language of Acadiana … literally. It will be tough to turn things around considering how difficult LSU’s schedule is the rest of the way, but it would make it an even more fascinating December in Baton Rouge if he somehow posts six or seven wins.
Sam Khan Jr.: Is Texas A&M for real this time?
Dating back to 2014, Texas A&M is 12-0 in September, best in the SEC. In October, when the meat of the Aggies' SEC schedule arrived, they're 2-5 in the last two seasons, tied with South Carolina for the worst such mark in the SEC. With A&M heading into the month undefeated again, is this the year they finally reverse their fortune? They have three SEC games in the month, two of them on the road (at South Carolina on Oct. 1, at Alabama on Oct. 22; they host Tennessee at Kyle Field on Oct. 8). If the Aggies can take at least two of those three SEC games, the outlook is promising for them the rest of the way.
Greg Ostendorf: Will Alabama lose a game?
If No. 1 Alabama is going to lose a game during the regular season, it’s going to come in the month of October. Obviously, this weekend’s SEC home opener against Kentucky isn’t much of a concern, but the Crimson Tide follow that with back-to-back road games at Arkansas and Tennessee and then a home game against Texas A&M, its fourth conference game in as many weeks. I don’t care how good you are -- that’s a brutal stretch. Alabama proved last year that it can lose a game and still make the College Football Playoff, but fans would like to see them run the table and not have to rely on help from other teams across the country. If the Tide can get through the next four weeks unscathed, it should be smooth sailing from there.
Alex Scarborough: Is Alabama the real deal?
That's what I want to know in the coming month. I think I know the answer (uh, yes), but the string of games at Arkansas, at Tennessee and at home against Texas A&M are going to provide the real evidence. The running game has a ways to go, as does the offensive line. And with a true freshman quarterback, any time you go on the road it's tricky. With LSU reeling and Auburn still in disarray, there's no reason the Tide shouldn't have an undefeated season if Alabama goes 4-0 in October.