Vol QB gets no respect

There's not much doubt who the best player is in the SEC. Darren McFadden of Arkansas was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. He rushed for 1,647 yards. He threw four touchdown passes. Only Herschel Walker of Georgia rushed for more yards in his first two SEC seasons.

McFadden is arguably the most dangerous offensive weapon in the country.

McFadden is an easy choice for the SEC's top player. But who's No. 2? No. 3? No. 10?

The Sporting News took on the task of ranking the top 40 players in the SEC. The results are intriguing.

I can't argue with the top five: 2. Glenn Dorsey, LSU, 3. Percy Harvin, Florida, 4. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt, 5. Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina.

But how can you have Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge No. 27? How can he be behind three other quarterbacks: Andre Woodson of Kentucky (No. 7), Matthew Stafford of Georgia (No. 16) and Tim Tebow of Florida (No. 20).

I think Ainge is the best quarterback in the SEC. You could make a case for Woodson, who led the league with 3,515 yards passing. But how can you put Stafford ahead of Ainge? Stafford completed 52.7 percent of his passes for 1,749 yards and had 13 interceptions to seven touchdown passes. Ainge completed a school-record 67 percent of his passes for 2,989 yards and had 19 touchdowns to nine interceptions despite missing two games with a sprained ankle.

And Tebow, for all of his mystique, has never started a game in college. He can run for a first down on third-and-2, but can he complete a pass on third-and-8? Can he stay healthy if he runs 10-15 times a game? Can he rally a team from a 10-point deficit?

There are too many unknowns about Tebow to rank him ahead of Ainge.

Other observations:

LSU guard Will Arnold is No. 10, but he's not the best offensive lineman in the SEC. Andre Smith of Alabama is. Smith was No. 25.

LSU receiver Early Doucet was No. 17. That's too low. Doucet could be among the top five SEC players taken in the 2008 NFL draft.

Tennessee guard Anthony Parker is No. 30. He shouldn't be in the top 40. He has yet to prove himself.

And how about these players rated behind Parker: Ole Miss 1,000-yard rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis (34), Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher (37) and Arkansas running back Felix Jones (39). I'd have Green-Ellis, Oher and Jones in my top 20.

TSN has four Vols ranked: safety Jonathan Hefney at No. 8, linebacker Jerod Mayo at No. 24, Ainge at 27 and Parker at 30.

I would have six Vols among the SEC's top 40 and here's how I would rate them: 1. Hefney, 2. Ainge, 3. Mayo, 4. running back Arian Foster, 5. defensive end Xavier Mitchell, 6. punter Britton Colquitt.

Running back LaMarcus Coker could break into this lineup, but he hasn't been dependable enough to suit me. Tight end Chris Brown could crack the SEC's top 40 because he might catch 40 passes. But he might share the spotlight with the more talented Brad Cottam.

A darkhorse Vol: defensive tackle J.T. Mapu. If he returns to the form he displayed in 2003 before going on a two-year Mormon Mission, he could be an All-SEC candidate.


South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is catching up with his colleagues.

Spurrier will have a pay website called SpurrierHBC.com. In case you didn't know, HBC stands for Head Ball Coach.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions for other coaches in the SEC:

For Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson: JohnsonIBSC.com. I Believe in Santa Claus (hometown of quarterback Jay Cutler).

For Georgia coach Mark Richt: RichtNKQB.com – No Kegs for Quarterbacks.

For Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville: TubervilleTCFY.com – This Coup's For You.

For LSU coach Les Miles: MilesNOT.com – Nick of Time.

For Alabama coach Nick Saban: SabanMLJ.com – My Last Job.

For Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron: OregonBS.com – Brent Schaeffer.

For Arkansas coach Houston Nutt: NuttDTM.com – Don't Text Me.

For Florida coach Urban Meyer: MeyerDR.com – Damn right.

And for Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer: FulmerDF98.com – Don't Forget 1998.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories