Lindy's rates Vols best in East

Lindy's annual Southeastern football magazine projects Tennessee as the best team in the SEC East this fall.

In a section called ''Picking the SEC,'' Lindy's notes under the heading GOOD NEWS that ''Clausen is a top-notch QB. OL will improve. LBs are exceptional.'' Under BAD NEWS, Lindy's writes that the Vols ''Must replace front four again. Need big-play WR. Very tough schedule.''

Still, Lindy's notes that the Auburn Tigers ''are the favorite to win the West and the conference.''

In a section called ''Top 10 NFL Talent,'' Lindy's lists Vol linebacker Kevin Burnett No. 6, even though he is a junior who missed all but one quarter of the 2002 season with a torn ACL.

Perhaps the most interesting section was a position-by-position rating of the SEC teams.

For instance, at quarterback, Georgia was ranked No. 1, largely because the Bulldogs have two proven QBs in David Greene and D.J. Shockley. Ole Miss (Eli Manning) is No. 2, followed by Tennessee (Clausen) and Kentucky (Jared Lorenzen).

Not surprisingly, Tennessee is ranked ninth among the 12 SEC schools at receiver, with only Auburn, South Carolina and Vanderbilt faring worse. UT is ranked second at running back, sixth at offensive line, sixth at defensive line, third at linebacker, third in the secondary and fourth in special teams. Lindy's is on newsstands now at a cost of $6.99.

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