Another vote for Florida

There's nothing easier – and perhaps safer – than picking a defending champion to repeat. So, it isn't terribly surprising that a lot of college football experts are projecting Florida to win the SEC East championship this fall.

After all, the Gators won it in 2006 en route to conference and national titles. So, never mind that 10 of 11 defensive starters are gone. Never mind that four-year starting quarterback Chris Leak is gone, along with the team's best runner (DeShawn Wynn) and its best receiver (Dallas Baker).

Mitch Light of Athlon, publisher of several sports magazines, suggested on a recent episode of the "Sports Nite" TV show on CSS that the Gators' improvement on offense will offset their slippage on defense.

"I think they're going to be better offensively ... even without Chris Leak," he said. "I'm a big Tim Tebow believer."

Light went on to say that Florida has "maybe the best offensive line in the country." After praising wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin, Light concluded that the Gators are "going to be great on offense and just good enough on defense to win the East."

Light's SEC East projections are as follows:

1.Florida

2.Georgia

3.Tennessee

4.South Carolina

5.Kentucky

6.Vanderbilt

Light called 2007 "a bounce-back year from 4-4" for Georgia and noted that Tennessee has "a lot of talent but a lot of questions." He went on to say that the Vols "have good running backs but they finished like 85th in the country in running the football, so they need to get back to running the football to take pressure off those young receivers because (Erik) Ainge is a very good quarterback."

Summing up, Light said this will be a good Tennessee team "but it's not a vintage, top-10 Tennessee team."

Light noted that South Carolina "keeps getting better every year but can they elbow their way into that upper echelon yet?" He called Kentucky and Vanderbilt "two good teams" but noted that they are "playing in a brutally tough SEC East."

Light labeled LSU "clearly the best team in the West," adding: "I think LSU and USC are the two most talented teams in the country."

Here are Light's picks for the SEC West:

1.LSU

2.Auburn

3.Alabama

4.Arkansas

5.Mississippi State

6.Ole Miss


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