There are only two games worth paying attention to in the Southeastern Conference this weekend.

Missouri must win at Tennessee to maintain its advantage over Georgia in the SEC East, and Arkansas hosts No. 8 Ole Miss with a chance to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.

Did you happen to notice we haven't mentioned a peep about a game that could impact the College Football Playoff and the national title picture?

Each year at this time as some of the most intense games of the season and rivalry games are taking place in other conferences, many SEC teams give themselves a week off with nonconference games against Directional U or Patsy State.

They claim they are entitled to dial it back for a week because the conference schedule is so brutal, even though the SEC plays one fewer conference game (eight), than the Pac-12 and Big 12. It's hard for fans of Pac-12 and Big 12 schools to stomach the SEC talk of superiority when Alabama is risking nothing against Western Carolina while others with national title aspirations are at least playing conference games.

It's hard to imagine Alabama not being punished next week when the new playoff rankings come out.

The SEC should follow the Pac-12's lead and mandate that all nonconference games be completed by early October aside from any historic rivalries such as South Carolina-Clemson.

Around the Pac-12


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While it's mostly a dud weekend in the SEC, it's a pivotal one for five of the six teams in the Pac-12 South. There are scenarios for each to win the division and play Oregon for the Pac-12 title.

USC can complete conference play at 7-2 with a victory over UCLA in their annual grudge match in Los Angeles. If the Trojans win, the only team that could knock them out of the title game would be Arizona State, but the Sun Devils would have to beat Washington State and then Arizona next week.

If UCLA wins, it would simply need to finish the season with a victory over Stanford to get a second shot at the Ducks. Arizona State, Arizona and Utah all need a series of wins and losses to go their way to get to the championship game. I'll take the Trojans.

Heisman watch

It's pretty much a two-horse race between Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.

Gordon definitely closed the gap in my view when he set a FBS single-game rushing record with 408 yards against a Nebraska defense ranked among the top 25 at defending the run going into the game.

Heard from the Thundering Herd

As a voter in the Associated Press poll, I've heard my share of complaints from fans of undefeated Marshall. I feel their pain. It seems unfair to have such a good season and receive so little respect for it, but I just can't include them in my rankings when their best win is over 6-4 Rice.

Kyle Ringo: ringok@dailycamera.com, twitter.com/kyleringo