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: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: July 4, 2009 9:42 am

Picking the SEC

Your football program "sales" itself? Nice!

Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2009 8:57 am

Picking the SEC

Cowboy Jimmy,

We have that chance every year in the SEC. Not been that way in the Big12. Wow! Play your Red River game, that is all you have. They are 0-5 in the last BCS games and that is the "best "you play. Everyone else beats them, so why not make it yor claim to fame. If that is not overrated no one is! Hard to have a bad year in the last 20 in that conference, if your Oklahoma or Texas. iF YOU CAN THROW TEN YARDS YOU ARE A HEISMAN HOPEFUL WITH THOSE DEFENSES!

Just be glad you scratched out a win against Ohio State(3 pts.). McCoy and Romo have the same problem. All the talent around them but cannot handle a rush. How many championships does McCoy have? How many wins does Romo have in the playoffs?

It really does not matter what team comes out of the Big12 to us. We won three in a row and would love four. We just won another national title against the 5-33 college world series shoe ins. Lsu beat your Longhorns and have as many championships in only 11 tries. 

Now who is overrated? Sounds like more Romo and Jessica calling football again. Who do the Longhorns play that will be ranked? Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. They beat those guys every year. Again, who is overrated? Cake walks through the BIG12 should get old but Longhorns and Sooners are use to it. Find some defenses then talk about rankings!

Since: Sep 6, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2009 8:47 am

Picking the SEC

You're tired. We're all tired.

Of the stupidity of Dennis Dodd

That doesn't mean you shouldn'tread the stories, they are entertaining and at times, VERY FEW, factual.

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2009 8:00 am

Picking the SEC

Even with that said we in Baton Rouge think we have something for the Gators when they come to Baton Rouge.Hm.....any chance you were thinking of "Congrats Gators, now go on to win the National Championship?"   Probably not but I had to try. Wink

Actually I think Florida wins a tough, tough, down to the wire game in Tiger Stadium.  It's that repeat match in Atlanta that worries me more.  Beating a good team twice is difficult.

If Florida does slip at LSU and they both go on to win their division, then the rematch could go either way.  Florida is so pumped this year to go undefeated (it would be a first) that losing may pop the bubble so that even Tebow and Meyer can't repair it.     

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2009 6:46 am

Picking the SEC

There you go again Johnyy-three-tounged Fl LOVER BOY !!!!


Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2009 6:42 am

Picking the SEC


Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2009 6:36 am

Picking the SEC

UT fan my AZZ !!!!  You F'n fl-ga-lsu azzwipe punk !!! 

Since: Jul 12, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2009 5:32 am

Picking the SEC

I agree with you 100%!  Sabama is getting way to much pre-season play and you can't say enough about the Gators.  I think the Gators might be the best pre-season team I have ever looked at.  Of course LSU has to play all the pre season tough guys in the SEC.  Dawgs Gators Bama Rebels! We get to play the Dawgs , Bama, Rebel games on the road also!  Even with that said we in Baton Rouge think we have something for the Gators when they come to Baton Rouge.  I think my Tigers could be speacial this year and if we win out against the foes not even mighty USC with there one game against a top 25 team all year can't stand in our way.

I think the Dawgs are puppies this year!  Bama will not control the line on O this year and will not have the running game to play the boring Saban ball he loves!  Ole Miss and Nut well they will be Ole Miss and Nut!  LSU will have to play the Gators twice this year and it's the 2nd match-up that is going to be for all the marbles!  LSU on D will be a 100% turn around from last year and with 2 QB's ready to go the O will be firing at a 30 pts a game clip!  I think you will be very lucky to hang 14 pts on this D unit.  Yes my blood is mostly Gumbo and I do see lots of purple but come on folks it's almost SEC football time!

Geaux Tigers

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: July 4, 2009 3:40 am

Picking the SEC

Hey ConnGator, We would love to play you guys in the Atl. Got to get by some serious teams first, but it would be great. I have a good friend who I went to Gainesville with last year. He almost left me there, he was so mad. If we go, I wouldn't go with him. Don't want to get stuck in the ATL.

I do have one question though: Are you ready? Hell yes, Damn right!!!!

Since: May 21, 2009
Posted on: July 4, 2009 1:20 am

Picking the SEC

3 of last 6 and 2 of last 3?????  UF, LSU, UF....2006, 07, 08 respectively.  Dodd said the SEC has won 2 of last 3 championships!! I know we arent splitting atoms on this site but the absolute lack of professionalism exhibited by some people on this site is sickening. Is it that hard to check and edit this short of an article or are you too busy searching the next yawner story. I mean time and time again I see mistakes up and down this board by the main writers...Come on fellas, fact check, spell check and idea check if you can...Geez!

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