SEC: Expert Predictions
Our experts get you ready for the season in the SEC, breaking down everything from the offensive player of the year to which assistant will be the next head coach.
CBSSports.com's panel of experts break down what to expect in the SEC during the 2013 season:
Offensive Player of the Year: AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama. Nation’s most efficient passer with 30 TD and only 3 INT last season. Has the best set of receivers in Alabama history.
Defensive Player of the year: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. One of the best athletes to ever play the position. DE Lorenzo Ward says Clowney cannot be blocked when he doesn’t want to be blocked.
Top Newcomer: Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss: The nation’s No. 1 recruit last season has a big impact in his first season in college ball.
Coach of the Year: Steve Spurrier, South Carolina. The Head Ball coach finally has a schedule with no LSU or Alabama. He has beaten Georgia three straight years.
Next coordinator to become a head coach: Kirby Smart, DC, Alabama. It’s just matter of finding a job good enough for him to leave the comforts of Tuscaloosa. He could have gone to Auburn last season.
Next head coach to become a coordinator: Gary Pinkel, Missouri. It would not be fair because he needs time to recruit linemen to play at the SEC level. But he’s the closest thing the SEC has to a coach on the hot seat.
Most intriguing conference game: Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept. 14. Winner has the inside track to the SEC West championship and probably a spot in the BCS title game.
Most intriguing non-conference game: Georgia at Clemson, Aug. 31. Both teams in preseason Top 10. Two of the most productive quarterbacks (Aaron Murray, Tajh Boyd) in college football. The two campuses are only 90 miles apart.
Bold conference prediction: Georgia QB Aaron Murray will finish the season as the SEC’s all-time leading passer but be the third team All-SEC quarterback behind AJ McCarron and Johnny Manziel.
Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia. In some sense, Dawgs are going to have to outscore people to win. Soon-to-be all-time SEC passer can handle it.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina. Are you kidding? Asked how he would defend himself, JC said, "You got to grab and hold on."
Top Newcomer: Laquon Treadwell, WR Ole Miss. Nation's top receiver fits perfectly in Hugh Freeze's offense. The next Julio Jones?
Coach of the Year: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M. Two years ago he was at Houston. Two years into the SEC, he has the returning Heisman Trophy winner.
Next coordinator to become a head coach: Kirby Smart, Alabama. Thought he'd be gone by now. Just waiting for the right job.
Next head coach to become a coordinator: Gary Pinkel, Missouri. With four new coaches, not many coaches on the hot seat. If Pinkel doesn't win seven, though ...
Most intriguing conference game: Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept. 14. The loser can still play for the national championship.
Most intriguing non-conference game: Georgia at Clemson, Aug. 31. The winner stays in the national title hunt for weeks to come.
Bold conference prediction: A team from the SEC West will win the national championship, but it won't be Alabama. Texas A&M going all-in for Sept. 14 game with the Tide.
Offensive Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Doubt he wins a second Heisman in a row, but still expect a huge year from him now that's gotten stronger and more seasoning
Defensive Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Most dominant defender we've seen in more than a generation. Even double-teams don't stop him.
Top Newcomer: De<player idref=, WR, Florida: Gators desperately need a play-making WR to step up and the 6-2, 200-pound freshman has coaches fired up.
Coach of the Year: Nick Saban. If anyone can pull off winning three titles in a row, it's Mr. Process.
Next coordinator to become a head coach: Bama OC Doug Nussmeier. His colleague Kirby Smart had chances and passed em up. Not sure Nuss will pass them up this winter.
Next head coach to become a coordinator: Closest thing to a hot seat in SEC is Gary Pinkel. He won a ton of games at a place not used to winning but that was before the SEC. He needs to get the Tigers to a bowl game just to be safe.
Most intriguing conference game: Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept. 14.
Most intriguing non-conference game: Georgia at Clemson, Aug. 31.
Bold conference prediction: In 2013, for the first time ever, a defensive lineman will win the Heisman. Jadeveon Clowney is that special and the era of social media and 24-hour sports news cycle will help keep people buzzing about him.
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. While the trio of star SEC quarterbacks (McCarron, Manziel, Murray) garner the attention, Gurley will quietly outperform them by eclipsing his 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns from his freshman year. The league’s best returning running back (though Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon might disagree) is in a system designed to showcase him and will carry Georgia to at least one top-five win in SEC play.
Defensive Player of the Year: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama. No doubt Jadeveon Clowney is the league’s most dominant defensive player, but Mosley might be the most versatile -- or the most impactful. He has ideal range, lifts the play of teammates and, according to a team source, is the most instinctual linebacker Saban’s had at Alabama. That’s saying something.
Top Newcomer: Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Texas A&M. If defenses double-cover Mike Evans, quarterback Johnny Manziel will look to Seals-Jones, arguably the most athletic wideout on the Aggies roster. The coveted recruit from the 2013 class is explosive for his size (6-5, 230)
Coach of the Year: South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier. Despite back-to-back seasons of 10 or more wins, Spurrier is still waiting to do one thing at South Carolina: Win an SEC title. With a manageable schedule and plenty of talent at several key spots, he might do just that.
Next coordinator to become a head coach: Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Smart can have a job any offseason he wants it, but he’s been selective and appears to be waiting on the perfect SEC job (Saban’s successor, perhaps?). If Smart doesn’t bolt, Georgia’s defensive coordinator Todd Grantham or Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease could be next.
Next head coach to become a coordinator: Missouri’s Gary Pinkel. In a relatively slow offseason for hot seats in the league, Pinkel’s is lukewarm at best. Two straight sub-.500 seasons to start off SEC membership wouldn’t exactly land Pinkel an extension. Perhaps better health can push the Tigers above an injury-riddled 2012.
Most intriguing conference game: Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept. 14. This game is so hyped, it’s hard to look anywhere else. Manziel and McCarron. Saban and Sumlin. Manning camp and the alarm clock. Don’t expect a route in this one. Manziel’s still a potential matchup problem for Bama up front because of his mobility.
Most intriguing non-conference game: Georgia at Clemson, Aug. 31. Clemson is looking to improve the ACC’s 4-11 record against the SEC since 2011. Its explosive offensive attack will stretch a Bulldogs defense that replaces several starters.
Bold conference prediction: Why isn’t Les Miles getting the benefit of the doubt for being able to replace 11 early NFL draft defections when Nick Saban most certainly would? The Tigers will usurp the SEC West when no one’s expecting it, but in the end Steve Spurrier will get his first SEC title in Columbia.
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