I know this is now being posted, but I had been working on this long before. School just gets in our way sometimes. Regardless, I present to you my 2011 preview of the SEC, or basically how I think things will shape up. I am not an expert, because those do not exist in the college football world, and I am little bias. But these are my honest feeling on how I feel things will end up. Please let me know what you think, and how wrong I am.
1. South Carolina
4. Mississippi State
6. Ole Miss
Needless to say the power in the SEC has shifted from the East to the West in recent years. Don’t let it fool you though, this is still a tough a division and have the potential to have some good teams. It is hard to pick against the 2010 champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks. Lead by their drunk quarterback in Stephen Garcia, I feel they have the ingredients to have a decent season. With Alshon Jeffery and Lattimore this offense has a lot of weapons. Then on the defense with the addition of super star Jadeveon Clowney, they should be able to keep the team in games.
I think Florida will be another team to watch in the East. Under new head coach Will Muschamp and a lot of talent, how will the 2011 Gators do? I can see them rallying off 10 wins with a bowl game, but also only winning 8 at the same time. They have to play Alabama, LSU, and the gamecocks. Not to mention a FSU team that is on the rise, this years schedule is no cake walk.
For the rest of the East, you’ll see a lot of the same. The usual mediocrity from Kentucky and Vandy, and just disappointment from Georgia under Richt. I do think though you will see improvement from a team I hate. That is right the Vols under Dooley I think are for a better year. He seems to be the kind of change that school needed, and will have them where they need to be in a few years.
Potentially the most difficult division in college football is the SEC West. Four top 25 teams, including two top four teams. This division is nothing short of legit. I picked the Alabama Crimson Tide to be the winners for a few reasons. The defense is absolutely nasty, the front seven is tops in the country. Ask Michigan State how good they are and hard they hit. Nick Saban is without a doubt I believe the best coach in the country right now, he has led the Tide the past 3 years to a 36-5 record while claiming 2 division titles, a SEC championship, and a National Championship. Alabama returns play makers like Trent Richardson, Marquis Maze, and Darius Hanks. Not to mention some of the most talented freshmen and sophomores you will see all season. It is hard to pick against the Tide I think, if they stay healthy they may very well be your national title winners.
After that there are two teams I think can still the division from Alabama if they play like the can. LSU and Arkansas are those two teams. LSU is about as talented as ‘Bama on defense, and Arkansas has the offense to put points on the board. Each of theses schools though have somethings holding them back. For LSU, Les Miles. The loss of Jordan Jefferson to me also may be a bigger blessing than most realize. Really, I mean that is a major setback and I don’t feel like I need to go into it any further. Arkansas has been notorious for having a poor defense. When they plan an Alabama who is very good on both sides of the ball, it is difficult for them. Especially when Alabama is a team that pounds the ball and eats clock, and they don’t have a defense for it. I could see one of these teams going 11-1 and the other 10-2. They could very well beat Bama, and have a chance at a title themselves. Nobody should take these teams lightly.
Now some of you are saying, wait you’re not on the Mississippi State bandwagon? I can simply say I am not. I think they are an up and coming program, but I am not ready to give them the West yet. Everyone likes to talk about that impressive 8 win season last year. What people tend to leave out is they went 3-5 in the conference, I am sorry to me that is not an elite team in the SEC.
For the other two teams in the West, well it may not be a great year. Auburn under Chizik has yet to show us a defense worth talking about. Plus losing the nations best player in the country does not help. Many would argue without out Cam last year Auburn is a 9-3, 8-4 team. Well we will never know, but we will see how they fair without him this year. I see them as a 7-5 type of team this year who could end up with 8 wins, but could only wind up with 6. Auburn could surprise us all again, but this is very young team and lost a lot of people and leadership.
Ole Miss is so bad I refuse to discuss them.
Coaches on the Hot Seat
1. Mark Richt (Georgia)
2. Houston Nutt (Ole Miss)
Those are the only two coaches I really think may lose their job after this year. If Les totally imploded he very well could, other than that you are looking at some very good and successful coaches.