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.

 

 

  •  
Comments

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 12:09 pm
 

Picking the SEC

No way does Kentucky finish higher than UT.UT has not lost to KENTUCKY since "83,and they don't even have a DE this year. Weak research on this one.

THE STREAK ENDS THIS YEAR.  Have fun on probation, we'll take the kid who sold hot dogs at Neyland Stadium, (Randall Cobb) turn him into Percy Harvin 2.0, and watch as he destroys UT's defense.  Bet you wish you recruited him now.  Just forget about the guy who lived 5 minutes from your stadium.  So what if he was only a 3* recruit, you should at least give him a look.



Since: Jan 24, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2009 11:33 am
 

Picking the SEC

since BCS started in 1998 the SEC has won the last 3, 4 of 6, and 5 of 11. get your facts straight



Since: Feb 10, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 10:07 am
 

Picking the SEC

No way does Kentucky finish higher than UT.UT has not lost to KENTUCKY since "83,and they don't even have a DE this year. Weak research on this one.




Since: Jul 12, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2009 9:57 am
 

Picking the SEC

Where are all you Arkansas fans at?

You claim your good enough to win the West but everyone else has you at 4th or worse.




Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 9:37 am
 

Picking the SEC

Picking the SEC is not an easy task.  It is the best conference not only because they have the last three championships, but because, top to bottom, they have the best collection of talent in both players and coaches.

The West looks about right.  I do think that you could make an argument for any of the top three winning the West depending on the head to head matchups and a little luck.

As for the East, Florida and Georgia are clearly one and two.  After that, The two teams that could make noise are SC and Tennessee.  SC needs a stronger second half of the season, as they have faded the last several years.  The three games that will determine whether they finish third or near the bottom are 9/24 at home vs. Ole Miss, 10/24 at home vs. Vandy and 10/31 at Tennessee.

The biggest wildcard or unknown are the Vols and their contraversial hire of Lane Kiffin.  They could easily be 4-1 on 10/10 when Georgia come to Knoxville and just as easily be 1-4.  No one expects them to win their three most difficult road games against Fla., Alabama and Ole Miss.  If they start strong look for an 8-4 season and a respectable bowl and the Kiffin critics will move to someone else.  If they start the letter, this team could end the season 3-9 and the people in Knoxville will be going to Winchester looking for Phil.

Vanderbilt has a strong defense a will be dangerous to any team struggling.  Kentucky is all a buzz about John Calipari and may forget they even have a football team.  That's why sixth place belongs to them.




Since: Jul 3, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 9:32 am
 

Picking the SEC

rolltide



Since: Jul 3, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 9:29 am
 

Monsters

I agree with lawstudent24...i dont know why anybody Crystal sheeves about Dennis the Menace Dodd.  If he picks the Crill to win the SEC then we are defintely salt.  You people have proven your ewness by posting on this topic instead of a pete one like the NFL message boards.  Dennis is a genious, heck i bet he picked Crill to be 12-0 last year.   Oh and by the way his reason for picking bama? "the magic of st. nick....oh yee budda i forgot he was david copperfield out there and can just abra cadabra an SEC title...in closing im kyle that i even read this article.  Lawstudent24 is the only knowledgable football person on this site and his innaugural and last post hit the nail on the head...good post dude rea




Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 9:06 am
 

Picking the SEC

Had somebody proofread that one, didn't you?



Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 8:25 am
 

Picking the SEC

Law Student, You sir, are an idiot.  Gator John said it nicely, but I just wanted you to know that others agree with him 100%.  I am truly amazed that you actually took the time to register just so you could post such a lame, condescending dribble.  Back to the books for you, young man.  You're have the making to become just what our country needs most, another holier-than-thou, obnoxious lawyer.  Oh, by the way, did it ever occur to you that if 92,000 people went to a spring scrimage at Alabama that they thought it was fun!  Try it, you might like it!

TuckFexas, I understand about Bradford shyness but I will take issue with your comment that Tebow "allows" the press.  Your example of his mission trips being reported is more about raising awareness and charity donations for a good cause, then it is about Tebow.  Hey, love him or hate him, everything I read or see about him so far indicates that he is a great kid in a lot of ways, not just football.  I'm sure his parents are proud. 

HogansZeros, Dude I'd love to play Ole Miss in the SECCG!  For Florida to accomplish the big goal of repeat National Champion we can't allow any losses.  Since we need to take out LSU on their turf during the regular season, that is one team I don't want to face a second time.  We were lucky last year after losing to you in that every other contender lost one later than us.  Don't think we have that luxury this year. 

So................of all the teams in the SEC that Florida might have to face in the SECCG, guess who they will have the least trouble gettting up for?   Ole Miss.  Right!  Ding, ding, ding, give that man a cupie doll.

Guys, I leave you with.....Chomp! Chomp!  Bring it on!   

  



Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2009 3:47 am
 

Picking the SEC

It's ironic that Dodd is writing on the dominance of the SEC and yet fails to accurately denote the supporting evidence: It's THREE IN A ROW National Ch'ips. And four out of the last six. Wow. You'd think he would have looked that one up on google or something.
 



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com