CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Sun shines on SEC, and light reveals its strengths and weaknesses

In day featuring five games involving seven ranked teams, the takeaway is the conference is not as good or deep as it has been but still dominates the college football conversation.

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Oklahoma and Notre Dame tried their best, but it was remarkable, really, how much Saturday sunlight splashed on the Southeastern Conference.

It followed a week when the SEC unveiled "Book of Manning" with all its drippy-syrup Southern comfort and teary-toddler footage of Peyton fighting with his brother.

These guys know how to story-tell.

The league of seven straight champions had the No. 12 team, South Carolina, in the 9 a.m. PDT spot followed by No. 6 Louisiana State at No. 8 Georgia on CBS.

That's the hallowed, midday "My Goodness" show hosted by Verne and Gary.

That TV feed led to No. 21 Mississippi at No. 1 Alabama at roughly the same time No. 20 Florida was playing Kentucky and No. 10 Texas A&M was teeing off at Arkansas.

Wisconsin and Ohio State tried to cut in on the dance about 5 p.m., but the SEC otherwise had Saturday saturated.

Once again, the Pac-12 had the graveyard shift.

A viewer almost had no choice but to gauge where the SEC is at the end of September.

Instant analysis: It's not as good or deep as it has been but still has a stranglehold on the national narrative.

South Carolina trailed Central Florida at the half, 10-0, before going "smash mouth" to score 28 straight points and holding on to win, 28-25.

Gamecocks tailback Mike Davis pounded his way for 167 yards in 26 carries.

Message: The SEC is tough.

In Athens, Georgia held off LSU, 44-41, in a thriller in which 85 points and 900-plus yards got excused from the "SEC defense wins championships" mantra.

"I enjoy watching this, it's great football," CBS analyst Gary Danielson said.

The switch to Tuscaloosa got the script back on track as Alabama turned three field goals into a 9-0 halftime lead and then put Ole Miss in the meat grinder en route to a 25-0 win.

This was Alabama's No. 56 defense "stifling" an opponent averaging 38 points a game.

Another cable channel had Florida toying with Kentucky and a sister station had Johnny Football running hog wild in a pinball game at Arkansas.

Takeaway: the SEC has taken some early-season hits, with BCS contenders South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and LSU all taking losses before October.

Alabama, though, after some shaky performances, reestablished itself as national No.1 and remains the team to beat.

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