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Rivalry Week storylines abound in SEC
Iron Bowl Newton Foot Heal
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton - photo by Associated Press

    Auburn's in the middle of a dream season with a Southeastern Conference title game looming and aspirations of a national championship.
    Exciting times indeed, but right now — it's Iron Bowl time.
    "Your whole body changes. Everything," said Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes. "Your emotions, when you get into this game, because you know for a fact that everybody is watching. From the NFL to high school to Little League to the family, friends. People who don't watch football, they'll watch this game, because this is the most important game."
    It's rivalry week across much of the SEC.
    While there's always plenty of emotion when bitter enemies hit the field, the storylines might be even more interesting than usual this year with intriguing matchups galore.
    Other intriguing matchups include:
    — Georgia (5-6) vs. Georgia Tech (6-5). The Bulldogs need a win in The Governor's Cup to become bowl eligible. Though Mark Richt's job doesn't appear to be in jeopardy, losing to the Yellow Jackets could make his seat quite warm going into next year.
    — Florida (7-4) vs. No. 22 Florida State (8-3). For the first time in recent memory, the Gators appear vulnerable as the get read for the showdown in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida coach Urban Meyer has a 5-0 record against the Seminoles during his tenure, but it's Florida State that's a 2 1/2-point favorite on Saturday.
    — South Carolina (8-3) vs. Clemson (6-5). After five years of small gains, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has taken a huge step this season by leading the Gamecocks to the SEC championship game. But before that happens, No. 18 South Carolina (8-3) must face Clemson (6-5), which would love nothing more than to put a damper on what's been a breakthrough season.
    — No. 12 Arkansas (9-2, 5-2) hosts No. 6 LSU (10-1, 6-1) in Little Rock. If the Tigers win the battle for The Boot, they would be in terrific position to land a spot in a BCS bowl.
    Across the Southeast, bragging rights after rivalry week are nearly as important as national titles — and winning or losing these games can shape careers for both coaches and players.

Bynes, the Auburn linebacker, summed up the week in the SEC when describing the Iron Bowl.

"When we won, it was the best feeling ever," Bynes said. "And then when we lost, it was the worst thing ever."


AP Sports Writers John Zenor in Auburn, Ala., Paul Newberry in Athens, Ga., Beth Rucker in Knoxville, Tenn., and Jeffrey Collins of The Associated Press in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this story.