Blog Entry

Picking the SEC

Posted on: June 30, 2009 12:05 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2009 12:34 pm

You're tired. We're all tired.

Of the SEC.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't believe the hype. Since it expanded in 1992, the SEC has won seven national championships in 17 years, four of the last six and three in a row. It generally sends the most players to the NFL, approximately 36 a year since 1990. How many leagues can narrow the national championship race to one game? Since 2006, the winner of the LSU-Florida game has been the national champion.

Nowhere else does one agent (Jimmy Sexton) represent half the league's coaches. The SEC produces the most draft picks, the most talent, the best stories. Open a browser. You'll find something about Lane Kiffin somewhere.

This season, Florida opens the season as the consensus No. 1 chasing a third national championship in four years. Only two other schools have accomplished that feat in the wire service era: Notre Dame (1946-47, 49), Nebraska (1994-95, 1997).

Let's not forget those lucrative new TV contracts from CBS and ESPN. In the SEC, money flows downhill -- into league coffers.

Tired of the SEC? Too bad. You'll have to pay attention. Once again, the winner of the league will probably be in contention for the BCS title game.

Picking the SEC ...

West Division

1. Alabama -- They've dismissed the Sugar Bowl as a fluke in Tuscaloosa long ago. They'd rather remember how Bama went undefeated in the regular season and was No. 1 for several weeks. Nine returning starters on defense is a good place to start. New quarterback Greg McElroy better find Julio Jones often. A rebuilt offensive line will try to spring Mark Ingram (12 touchdowns as a freshman). The magic of St. Nick gets the nod in this packed division.

2. LSU -- Don't agonize over Jordan Jefferson at quarterback. LSU has won two national championships with, shall we say, less than dynamic quarterbacks. Crazy Les has the SEC's best running back (Charles Scott) and at least one NFL draft pick (Ciron Black) on the offensive line. After the co-coordinator thing failed on defense, Miles went out and got the best player on the board -- John Chavis, formerly of Tennessee.
3. Ole Miss
-- Until Ole Miss actually does it, they can't be the pick in the West. I know Jevan Snead might be the league's best pro prospect at quarterback. I know Greg Hardy can beat anyone off the edge. I know that Alabama and LSU come to Oxford. I know that Houston Nutt is underrated as a coach.  I just can't get over the fact that after beating Florida, Ole Miss lost at home to South Carolina. There's a clunker out there somewhere that will keep the Rebels from winning the West.
4. Arkansas -- Bobby Petrino has himself a quarterback. That's a good start. Ryan Mallett has the best pure arm in the SEC. The problem is defense and special teams. Petrino has never been known for his defensive prowess. The D surrendered more than 31 per game last season. Until that gets corrected, the Hogs won't compete in the West. Petrino wisely hired old buddy John L. Smith to run the special teams. Mallett punted in the spring. Hopefully, that won't have to be the case in the fall.
5. Auburn -- Let's see, Tony Franklin was fired because players had a hard time picking up his offense. His replacement at offensive coordinator is Gus Malzahn, basically runs the same offense. Let's hope Malzahn is a better communicator because his offenses might play faster than anyone in the country. Gene "5-19" Chizik has a lot to prove after coming over from Iowa State. It won't be this year.

6. Mississippi State -- All the buzz is coming from Oxford. For good reason. Dan Mullen tried to install his version of the spread in the spring with fewer than five receivers on the roster. That will change in a hurry as Mullen says he wants at least a dozen receivers to get playing time. But as his old boss found out, the passing game comes second. Mullen better be able to run the ball first and find some defensive linemen who can come off the edge.

East Division

1. Florida -- How's the view from the top? It is Florida's division, conference and national championship to lose. Every starter is back on defense. A guy named Tebow seems to have won the quarterback job. Now the question is, who replaces Percy Harvin? Meyer says he won't do it by committee. Watch for Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey and incoming recruit Andre Debose to take their shots. After two titles in three years, the further motivation is Florida's first undefeated season.

2. Georgia -- Strange, but the Bulldogs seem like they're going to be OK. Joe Cox doesn't have to light it up in replacing Matt Stafford, just manage the game. Receiver A.J. Green is a year older and bigger. There are two stars on defense -- defensive tackle Geno Atkins and linebacker Rennie Curran. The last time the expectations were this low, 2005, Georgia won the SEC East. It's going to take a win over Florida to do it, so a division title isn't likely. But 10 wins out of this group isn't out of the question.

3. South Carolina -- Steve Spurrier's greatest trait is his honesty. When asked at the SEC spring meetings if quarterback Stephen Garcia was ready to take over he didn't hesitate. Still needs some work, Spur Dog said. If Spurrier can't get the quarterback thing right, what hope is there for the rest of the Gamecocks? They have faded late in each of the last two seasons. Spurrier has averaged seven wins in his four seasons and has produced just one bowl win. At 64, Spurrier is committed. Is his quarterback, who has had legal problems?

4. Kentucky -- UK's run of three consecutive bowl wins might be in danger. Mike Hartline must show he can become a solid SEC quarterback. Randall Cobb remains a wild card, in a good way, as a quarterback, punt returner and receiver. Rich Brooks has his best defensive line since coming to Kentucky. He wants to get the Cats into the top 25 on a regular basis before turning things over to coach-in-waiting Joker Phillips.

5. Tennessee -- Behind the bluster, is this: Tennessee isn't particularly good. The offense is going to be painful to watch -- again. Lane Kiffin has yet to sign the quarterback who will define his success in Knoxville. His best hope at the position might be All-American safety Eric Berry who should get some snaps behind center. If the offensive line holds up, maybe super freshman Bryce Brown can keep the Vols in the hunt. Guru Monte Kiffin gets a head start with athletes on his side of the ball. Defense wasn't the problem last season.

6. Vanderbilt -- After going 26 years between bowls, Vandy just might be getting started. Coach Bobby Johnson gets all five offensive line starters back. The defense that allowed less than 20 points per game is stout as well. It will be typical Commodores in that they will struggle to score but hang in with defense. The Nov. 21 regular-season finale at Tennessee could have a lot on the line.




Since: Aug 15, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2009 12:36 pm

Picking the SEC

Wasn't talking about you in my post

Since: Aug 15, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2009 12:34 pm

Write about another sport if your this stupid

Dodd your just an idiot. Plane and simple. The one with the goofy laugh everyone made fun of, nursed by your Dad instead of Mon, and have no clue about college football so maybe you should think about writting for Womens Pro Basketball. Most feel sorry for you so it's hard to not like you. I only say this because you put UK 4th in the East instead of last. You do know you wrote an SEC Preview of Football right? I doubt it.  Or maybe you don't watch the SEC. That's got to be it. And the so called UT Fan above, Turn in your Orange.  Your not welcome here sporting it. Keep your Go Vols and take Dodd out to Dinner and a Movie. Yall make a nice couple.

Since: Jan 1, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 12:34 pm

Picking the SEC

I dont see UT being lower than 5th, but Ill bet money S.C. stumbles again and they wont finish 3rd.
And speaking of the Vols maybe this offense and this OC is what J Crompton needs to be a halfway decent QB.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 12:27 pm

Picking the SEC

you got to be kidding putting UT down that low!! at the worst they we still be 3rd is the SEC east !!

Since: Dec 22, 2008
Posted on: July 1, 2009 4:22 pm


Dennis Dodd is a joke. For every conference preview he has written, there has been at least 1 mistake.How do you call yourself a college football writer and not remember that the SEC won the last 3 titles? You should be ashamed of how poor your articles and commentary have become.

Since: Mar 25, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2009 3:19 pm

Picking the SEC

Greetings from Rocky Top. First of all Dodd I agree with your ratings of the SEC. I am a huge Tennessee fan but I am also very sad at the state of affairs that our football program is in. I went to the Orange and White game this spring and I will be honest, there are better high school teams out there. Lane Kiffin is by no means even close to the kind of coach we need. Monte is a much better choice than his son. Fullmer needed to go after he threw Alabama under the bus a few years ago. Lane at best will be two games over .500 after two years then he is gone! Tennessee if I am not mistaken has the highest recruiting budget in the country. Why? They say there is a lack of football talent in the state. Tell that to Jason Witten. This old tradition of bypassing almost all local talent to recruit in Florida and Texas has outlived reality. I agree Texas and Florida has more talent overall but there is some great talent here in our home state. Lets get a real coach, one who has something to brag about before he opens his mouth to Urban and start recruiting some home grown talent. Go Vols! 

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 1:09 pm

Picking the SEC

By the way,_______, if you are going to write, check your facts.  The SEC has won the last three National Championships, not two out of the last three.
2006- Florida2007- LSU2008- Florida
Dodd, you just never do get it right, do you?

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 12:41 pm

2 of the last 3?

no, it was 3 in a row....

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