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: Jul 6, 2008
Posted on: July 5, 2009 10:11 pm

pickin the sec

if you no anything about the sec you no the favorite never wins. as good as florida will be history just isnt on there side

Since: Aug 12, 2006
Posted on: July 5, 2009 9:11 pm

Picking the SEC


Since: Aug 12, 2006
Posted on: July 5, 2009 9:08 pm

Picking the SEC

You sound like me when Ray Goff was head coach at Georgia.  Good luck with that.  There is zero chance UT finishes 2nd in the East.  Zero.  And Kiffin may be recruiting, but he has not made any noise yet in the southeast in terms of NUMBERS of commits.  He is having a hard time penetrating the Florida/Alabama/Georgia machines in the SEC (not to mention what UNC, Ga Tech, Clemson, Miami and others are doing lately).

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: July 5, 2009 9:00 pm

Picking the SEC LOL

I love that man "Tired of the SEC? To bad you'll have to watch " Conference with TV contracts.

Since: Aug 5, 2007
Posted on: July 5, 2009 8:22 pm

Can't have Dodd without ODD...

Anyone else find it funny that Mr. Dodd says "UF will run the table, unless it's Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, or anyone else within 1,000 miles of Florida???

Come on.

Everyone knows there is a big shuffle coming in the national rankings within 3 weeks, and Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss will all fall victim.

The ACC has the talent behind center this year, and outside of Gainesville there is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I'm sorry. Arkansas, SC, LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama? All going to be so-so squads.

NC State, VT, FSU, GT, UNC, Miami, Clemson?

This year's SEC.

The only question mark is - if the ACC is too good for it's own good.

Now if the pollsters would stop sucking on lollipops and face the facts - the ACC went 6-6 against the "best conference" in 2008. It sent 10 teams bowling.

These are cold hard facts - so stop being odd, and take your lips off of the SEC's hind-side Mr. Dodd.

Since: Apr 4, 2009
Posted on: July 5, 2009 7:32 pm

Picking the SEC

What exactly did this article say?  I got nothing out of it.  All the "reviews" are maybe this or possibly that.  Worthless if you ask me.

Since: Jan 24, 2007
Posted on: July 5, 2009 4:36 pm

Picking the SEC

Dodd, we all are tired of reading your poor choices.  You say until 'Ole Miss actually does it',you will pick them third. Ole Miss is my choice to win the West-they simply have the best QB and team. You pick Bama because of Satan-ask Utah about Satan. You pick Kentucky to finish ahead of Tennessee. You are picking Kentucky to beat Tennessee this year in football?  Now we all know you are looney and have NO clue what you are writing!

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: July 5, 2009 2:57 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 4, 2008
Posted on: July 5, 2009 2:48 pm

Picking the SEC

Johnny3fingers...I hate to agree with a Tennessee fan but I think you have hit it pretty close to the mark.  Monte would make the better head coach and Lane will fizzle-out soon, but don't count the Vol's out.  Tennessee usually manages to produce some awesome talent from within their own state.  And they also play the game with the passion most leagues would kill to have.  The same can be said for Georgia, LSU, Ole'Miss, 'Bama, etc...Long Live the SEC!!!

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: July 5, 2009 9:18 am

Picking the SEC


Kiffin will be at the top of the SEC, or darn near the top! He recruited the #8 class in the nation this year in 3 1/2 weeks of a full staff, they've already got verbals from a hand full of top rated players for 2010 and 2011...the only thing Kiffin hasn't got is his top rated QB, which is very important, but do you really think Tenn want get a top QB. any young kid just has to look and see all the pieces are lining up. top OL, DL, DB's, the top TWO RB's in the country, very high rated WR's, all Kiffin needs is a stud QB to run this battleship he's building.Maybe, maybe not but let's look at some history to judge the probability.  Does that seem fair?  I don't recall in many decades of watching college football where a 1st year rookie coach took over a program as big as Tennessee's and had nearly the buzz that he has created.   

Initially that may sound good, but if you'll be a realist for a moment, the buzz has been created over 4 things.  Hiring his father, a guy with a track record, making stupid statement about other SEC coaches, making silly recuiting violations and signing a top recruiting class in less than a month. 

IMHO, he has done well with hiring an experienced staff.  Since there is nothing is his own personal record that indicates he could be a top coach, trying to get done by committee may work.  Usually we like to be led by a single leader, not a group, but things may be different in Tennessee.  

As for the insults he has thrown out to his peers, you could call that kicking metaphorical sand in the bully's face.  Whereas it might be considered a bold and courageous act, it will usually just get your a$$ kicked but, hey, that's just my opinion.  You boys come on down to the Swamp in September and we'll talk about it some more.

In any bigtime college program there is a class of people known as compliance.  These are the guys and gals that actually read and interpret the NCAA Big Book of Rules.  Smart coaches know the basic rules and they rely on these compliance people to guide them to lessen the chance of violations.  If you or your staff are planning a recuit's visit and want to do something different, that's a good thing.  But if you want to do without first checking with compliance, then you're either ignorant or defiant to the NCAA.  Neither of those is the path to sucess.  Trust me on this one, the NCAA wields power and pissing them off will lead to reprecussions.   &nb

Finally, the recuiting class.  Did you ever stop to ask yourself how did they do that so well and so quickly?  To get what you want out life give others what they want out of life.  So...what does an 17 or 18 year old high school football star want?  They want love, respect, to be the star of a major college winning program!  So....if you want to recruit them you have to convined them they will get something from you they can't get anywhere else.  Big time billing, big time training, building a team around them to showcase them, guaranteed pro contract in a few years, woman, booze, fame, fortune, a good education, part time job at $100 an hour, (whoops, sorry, I got carried away) etc.  In other words, you tell them anything they want to hear and you make more commitments to more people than you can keep.  It a fomula that worked really well for Coach Ron Zook at Florida.  It also got him fired 3 years later when it didn't equate to enough wins to feed the Gator blood lust.

I think the they've peaked and is about to see a decline along with the most over.......rated coach in football. I want to punch that tool every time I see his pretentious face. And for the record he's been getting kudos for recruiting in the easiest state to recruit in now for qiute some years now-not impressed
Dude, you a Notre Dame fan would post negative comments about Meyer!!!   There is still a strong possibility that Meyer will move to the dome someday and work his majic there.  Somehow I think you might grow to love the man if that happened.  Wink

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