Scott Moore Makes Spring SEC Picks
Here is my look at the spring and my initial look at the SEC and how it stacks up as we head toward the fall. The East will have the usual suspects but is clearly the weaker division of the two, but all of college football would fall into that category. The SEC West has three legitimate BCS title contenders and is the class of college football. It will come as no surprise to most that Alabama appears to be the cream of the SEC football crop.
1. South Carolina.
The Gamecocks return the league's best runner in Marcus Lattimore and the best pure receiver in all of college football in Alshon Jeffrey and a QB that is up and down but never the less a fifth year senior. The Carolina defense has tons of experience back and will be joined in the fall by the nation's top overall recruit in Jadaveon Clowney.
The Dawgs return one of the most talented QBs in the conference in soph Aaron Murray and have three premier recruits headed to Athens in the fall that should fill in nicely on the offensive side of the ball. UGA is deep and talented but extremely young and will need to grow up quick for Mark Richt to get another year at Georgia.
The Gators remain one of the most talented teams in America and QB John Brantley will be the biggest beneficiary of the regime change at The Swamp. Florida is loaded with team speed,. but the Gators have the toughest schedule of anyone in the East and that usually does not translate to a championship year for a first year coach learning on the job.
The Vols found them a quarterback last season with frosh sensation Tyler Bray. The problem for the Big Orange is the rest of the roster is seriously running on empty.
The Cats have found their way to five consecutive bowl appearances but have not found a way to be better than the other four in front of them in the East and might not ever.
The Commodores almost snagged Gus Malzahn away from AU back in January. That would have been monumental for Vandy, but the result would likely be the door mat in the SEC regardless.
The Crimson Tide will have a legendary defense and is back to circa 2009 in regards to the offense. Plenty of talent and the most experienced offensive line in the SEC. The Tide will play Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU at home. This team will be as good as the 2009 team overall with six Bama players already on pre-season All-America watch lists. Bama's 34 wins over the past three years is the greatest run in SEC history over that period and 13 wins in 2011 will make it the greatest run over four years in SEC History.
The Bayou Bengals get tested out of the gate with huge contest vs. Oregon at the Jerry Dome in early September. LSU lost a trio of great runners and receivers and two first rounders on defense and must play at Alabama in November. Ten wins again for the Hat and with some luck another run at the SEC title.
The Niles Davis show will continue in Fayetteville as will the high flying circus of Petrino Ball. Arkansas has a great deal of talent returning on the offensive side of the ball but must play at Alabama and LSU. Nine to 10 wins at Arkansas can be expected with Petrino walking the sidelines.
4. Miss State
The Boys from Starkvegas had a spectacular season a year ago winning nine games and a New Years day bowl bid, but the biggest victory of the off season was Dan Mullen spurning the Gators for more time in Mississippi. Another nine-win season is highly probable.
Auburn loses 26 seniors along with Cam Newton, Darvin Adams, and Nick Fairley. That's 29 players gone from the defending BSC Champions. The Tigers' schedule is daunting with trips to Clemson, South Carolina, Arkansas, and LSU. A young Auburn team could improve as the season progresses.
The Rebels are still in search of a quarterback but The Reverend Houston Nutt had the Rebs best recruiting class in years. WIll it be enough to stay on as the head man in Oxford and get into the upper echelon of the SEC's best of the best ?
Ranking the Teams
1. Alabama Preseason Top 3
2. LSU Preseason Top 3
3. Arkansas Preseason Top 10
4. South Carolina Preseason Top 15
5. Georgia Preseason Top 20
6. Miss State Preseason Top 20
7. Florida Preseason Top 25
10. Ole Miss
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