After winning the National title 5 straight years by three different teams, LSU twice, Florida twice, and Alabama, the SEC has been dubbed “superior.” It is unmatched by any other conference and this season three teams of the West division would win or compete for the conference title in any other BCS eligible conference. Mississippi would also compete for a conference crown in any other conference, but may not win it, besides the Big East which a team full of sandlot players would win that conference. Yet is this another season where the SEC would win another national title?? The experts predict yes, and we will post our national picks tomorrow as well. The front runners for the title our Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas. All three will have a shot to prove their point early in the season with a non-conference schedule that features Penn State, Oregon, and Texas A&M. If all three win their non-conference games its going to set up a very interesting race to the SEC title game and a berth to the national title game. The East division is not as strong as the West but still fields a competitive division where the winner will be the sacrificial lamb to the West Champion, or in this case Alabama!
1. Alabama, 12-0 – Loaded is the word of the day! This team has it all, don’t be fooled by the QB battle between AJ McCarron and Phillip Simms, both quarterbacks would win the starting job at 95% of the schools in all of college football. The true starter will not truly be named until about the fourth week of the season, that’s how good both are playing in practice right now. The real story is the return of “the Trent.” The most complete running back the nation has seen since Adrian Peterson was tooting the rock at Oklahoma. The Trent has done it all in his short stay at Alabama, returned kicks, catches passes, and runs the ball like a freight train! Some don’t believe that he is human, this site for one believes that he is a cyborg from another dimension. Two years ago when “the Trent” showed up on campus he was touted as already being better than the starter. By the way the starter was Mark Ingram who won the Heisman that year. The fun does not stop there, Julio Jones may be gone and that is a HUGE loss by far, but Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks both return to catch passes from a real QB, not an efficient one(Greg McElroy was a winner though, the Trent Dilfer of CFB). The buzz though is about the son Chris Carter, Duron Carter a former 4 star recruit who signed with Ohio State out of HS. Carter is 6-5 210lbs and if he has hands like his dad its going to be a problem for opposing corners. The offensive line is full of future NFL prospects. William Vlachos leads the charge at center, and is flanked by two other future pros in Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack. Man-child DJ Fluker will also see NFL dollars one day at tackle, and the new starting LT is Alfred McCullough who is a stud waiting that has just been waiting for his time. Its scary that the offense is littered with future pros, but how about the defense!? The front seven tips the scales at 1900lbs of beef, the last time Alabama had that much weight in the front 7 they won the national title. The defensive line features Damion Square(290) and Quinton Dial(6-6 295) at ends, with big boy Josh Chapman (310) in the middle. All three can run, and all three can stuff any attack not to mention close a all-you-can-eat buffet. With the defensive line tying up blockers, that will allow the four linebackers behind them hit and kill anything with a different color jersey. It doesn’t even matter if they have the ball or not. CJ Mosley, Dont’a Hightower, and Nico Johnson will ALL play in the NFL, but it all begins with the reincarnation of Derrick Brooks, Courtney Upshaw who registered 7 sacks last season to go with 7.5 tackles for loss. Just in the front seven alone their are at least four to five future all-SEC members! The secondary??? Oh it was just a top five secondary last season with all FOUR players coming back. Cover man Dre Kirkpatrick may be the first corner taken in the draft next year. 6-3 200lbs with a 4.4 forty just does not grow on trees. The other corner is Dee Milliner who was a freshman 1st team All-American last year, he stands at 6-1 205 and also boasts a 4.4 forty. Alabama also has the top two safeties in the nation with Robert Lester(2nd team All-American last year) and Mark Barron (1st team All-American last year). If their was a weakness on this team it would have to be…….well have to get back to that cause NONE so far has been found. Nick Saban has done a remarkable job bringing Alabama past “we’re back” status. He is now chasing the Bear as Saban no longer rebuilds, but reloads with 30 caliber type rounds!
Best team Bama plays may just be Bama this season!
2.Arkansas, 9-3 – Bobby Petrino is doing it again! He shows up and turns a good football school to a great one! Lets just see if he sticks around long enough as he really doesn’t stay in one place for a long time. Petrino may have lost his stud QB Ryan Mallett to the NFL but honestly, Petrino is one of the top QB guru’s in the nation and his new QB Tyler Wilson will be just fine. Wilson also has Arkansas top three receivers from last year back as well. Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, and Greg”dropsy”Childs. Not to mention Cobi Hamilton who also played well as well last season. All four wideouts racked over 600 yards receiving and at least two of them will eclipse the 1000 yard mark this season. The running game was in full swing until phenom Knile Davis was hurt during fall camp and will now miss the rest of the season. Backup Ronnie Wingo Jr though may turn it up as he is a load to bring down. At 6-3 231 with a high 4.5 its going to be a problem as he does possess tree trunks for legs. What hurts this team is the offensive line. Three starters have to be replaced, but Arkansas is in SEC land so hogmollies grow on trees out there. The defense is real real big as they tip the scales at 1855 in the front 7. The middle is plugged with mountain men DeQuinta Jones(6-5 310) and Bryan Jones (315), if runners try to go around then stud Jake Bequette is right there waiting on them! The linebacking duo of Jerry Franklin and Jerico Nelson should duplicate another season where the two combined for 187 tackles. To make matters worst free safety Tramain Thomas aslo racked up 83 tackles acting like an extra linebacker. The pass defense replaces two starters in the secondary, but should be ok as no true light-the-world-up Quarterback is on the schedule. This team is one Alabama upset away from going to the SEC title game and possibly the national title game. It just wont happen. Games at Bama, at LSU and Texas A&M in Arlington are just way too tough. They can win one out of those three, but all three?? Not happening.
3.LSU, 9-3 – Jarrett Lee is now the starting quarterback again, hold on LSU fans don’t jump off the buildings just yet! There is a small chance that Juco transfer and former 4 star QB Zach Mettenberger could wrestle the job away from Jarrett Lee. Not likely as Jarrett is Les Miles BOY!!! Honestly both Lee and former starter Jordan Jefferson who has been suspended till??? Were both garbage QB’s at best. Honestly garbage is a compiment. The running game though will have to bail this team out, again. Michael Ford and Spencer Ware are both stud backs and the team is going to lean on them heavy to move those chains. At least four starters come back to the offensive line as well, which should give Lee some time to hand the ball off or pass it to Reuben Randle. Speaking of Reuben Randle, he was a former top 5 player coming out of high school that has done…..well nothing really. This could be more so cause he plays with bums who pose as quarterbacks. Reuben should line up at QB and throw the ball to himself, that may work out a lot better for him. The other type WR was Russell Shephard, but he has also been suspended indefinitely from the team due to the bar fight. No need to fret Tiger fans as Les Miles has recruited the position very well over the years. Someone just needs to step up. The defense is really going to have to carry this team. Their is a lot of talent on the defense as their is no shortage of speed and size along the front line. Defensive end Sam Montgomery is poised to have a big year, and linebackers Ryan Baker and Stefoin Francois are ballers. But the defense does lack that WOW factor. No one really stands out, but Les always fields a good defense. We’ll find out how good as Oregon will meet the Tigers in Arlington for the first game of the season.
4.Mississippi State, 8-4 – Dan Mullen has turned this program around quickly with his spread offensive attack. This year he returns his starting QB Chris Relf and top pass catchers Chad Bumphis and Arceto Clark. Last year was Relf’s first year as the starting QB, and after learing the system he is poised to have a great year out in Starkville. Especially with the return of runningbacks Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins. Ballard alone put 19 touchdowns on the board alone! The defense also played great last season and bring back seven starters. The strength lies in the secondary with CB Corey Broomfield locking down his side of the field. Nickoe Whitley is a future star in the making as he garnered freshman All-American status last year. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs is that they play in the West division and have Alabama, Arkansas, and LSU all on the schedule. The team also has to go to Athens as well! That’s a brutal stretch for many teams already.
5. Mississippi, 6-6 – Well whats going on with QB Randall Mackey?? That is the big question! In comes highly recruited Barry Brunetti who was in a dead heat with Mackey till Mackey was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct(football players). With firm grasp of the number one spot he now has to help get the ball to wideouts Melvin Harris and new hot-boy freshman Nickolas Brassell! Brassell brings a lot of hype and if he can match it will do wonders for not only the passing game but the running game as well. Last year stud running back Brandon Bolden saw multiple defenses stack the box, their is a huge need for a wideout to develop to keep the defenses honest. The defense suffered a huge loss during the spring when linebacker and best defensive player, DT Shackelford was lost due to an ACL tear. In comes another freshman phenom CJ Johnson who picked Ole Miss over schools such as Florida and Alabama. It will be extremely difficult for the team to make it to a bowl this year, but never count out a Houston Nutt coached team as he pulls the best out of his players. If this team beats BYU in the opener at home, a bowl may be in the horizon.
6.Auburn, 3-9 – Cam is gone, Nick Farley is gone, and this team won seven games by 8 points or less. That spells disaster as the new starting QB is……oh yeah Barrett Trotter. Gene Chizik has a 27-24 record as a head coach, and that wasn’t by accident. A nice booster may have, clearly speculation, gave Cameron Newton’s dad a check for over $250k, allegedly. Allegedly because nothing has been proven, just that a booster from Miss St offered Cam’s dad(Cameron knew nothing about it, allegedly) a check around the same amount. Allegedly though Cam’s dad said no and wanted his son to play for FREE at Auburn, allegedly. The best thing about this team is going to be the off the field drama that will ensue shortly. Oh and Michael Dyer running the ball. As six starters return back to campus this fall, “All in the Family, allegedly”
1.Georgia, 10-2 – Well Mark Richt your job is safe for another year. With this schedule you should win no less than 10 games. Anything below that would be a failure. Aaron Murray comes back at QB and is ready to show the world what he is made of, and Orson Charles is one of premier playmaking tight ends in the country. The running game though rests on a freshman, but a really good one in Isaih Crowell. The defense is loaded and seven starters come back! Including big man DeAngelo Tyson. The schedule does open up with Boise but the game will be in Athens. Also South Carolina comes to Athens as well as Mississippi State. Road games? Oh Mississippi, Tenn, and Georgia Tech are very manageable. Don’t lose to Florida though, as usual, cause the Dawg fans are not going to want to hear any excuse on that one. Really if you don’t win the East, you might as well drive over to Tuscaloosa and hand over your office keys to Georgia boy and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart cause the party is over.
2.South Carolina, 10-2 – Can Spurrier finally win the SEC again? He has three playmakers on offense that can do it. With the combination of Stephen Garcia-Marcus Lattimore-Alshon Jeffrey he has two sure fire NFL first rounders(Garcia your not an NFL QB). The defense can be dominate or can be dominated just depends which one shows up. Man-child and the number one freshman in the nation Jadeveon Clowney will be suiting up for SC, but its a little disturbing when a cornerback, Stephen Gilmore, leads the team in tackles. Yet in still if this team wins on the road against Georgia the East division is theirs.
3.Florida, 8-4 – And the Will Muschamp era begins! Urban is gone, called it, but John Brantley is back(vomit). This is not the same Florida team as before as the offense looks well, pretty bad. The new offensive coordinator is Charlie Weis but he also brings in a complex system that takes two years to learn. Also the team is not short on speed with Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey taking carries, they just are short period. Deonte Thompson has never met a pass he could catch(nicknamed Crooked Thumbs by Gator fans) and Frankie Hammond Jr has yet to live up to the hype he gathers at practice. The defense has its own questions as well. Ronald Powell has been tabbed as the next great Gator end but has yet to live up to that hype during both spring and fall camp. Sharrif Floyd has though, as he has been moved from the inside to the outside as a new defensive end. The problem with the dline is the lack of depth that could hurt them if anyone goes down. Linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Jonathon Bostic are something to cheer about as both are sure-fire studs who will kill a quarterback sometime this season. But the corners Jeremy Brown and Cody Riggs are nothing to write home about. Its bad out in Gainesville this season, but all in due time as the recruiting is still great and their is a lot of talent on hand to develop.
4.Tennessee, 6-6 – All anyone needs to know is that this team is done. Its not going to get better for this team in a very long time, if not ever. Tyler Bray??? No, he sucks. He may light up Montana but anyone with a pulse can do that. In fact besides Tauren Poole and Da’Rick Rogers, no one on this offense could start for the upper echelon teams in this conference. It seems as if the team fell off Rocky Top and just can’t climb back up. Remember when Phillip Fulmer used to call that “pitch toss left” against Spurrier on those crucial fourth downs?? That guy is a hero in Tennessee, awful. Someone bring Coach Kines in here to whip these boys into shape!
5. Kentucky, 6-6 – Joker Phillips does the best he can with this team. It sucks though. But with 10 starters back on defense fans in Lexington are making a lot of noise. Should be for basketball season as this team will make its annual appearance in the Music City Bowl. Hey it could be worst, the team could be Tennessee.
6.Vanderbilt, 4-8 – With the hire of James Franklin, and the way coach Franklin is recruiting, this team could overtake Tennessee by….next year as the king of the state. This team has a long way to go to compete for a division title though. But they can always pride themselves by stating that their SAT scores are higher than the other teams.
SEC Title Game
Bama destroying Georgia 45-0, Georgia will be lucky to even move the ball against this team, while “the Trent” goes ape-nuts!