Saturday, August 18, 2007

College Football 2007 Conference Preview: SEC

The SEC is no doubt the best conference in the nation with some of the fiercest defenses and the defending national champion Florida Gators and another favorite for this year's title in LSU.

Predicted Order of Finish:
1. Florida
The Gators lose 9 starters on defense, which could be a problem if they want to defend their national title. But good thing they will have one of the most dynamic and explosive offense's in the country. Chris Leak is gone, but QB Tim Tebow is primed to be the next great Gator QB. The WRs will be very talented with Sr. Andre Caldwell, So. Percy Harvin, Jr. Louis Murphy, So. Jarred Fayson, and WR/TE Cornelius Ingram all back. Tebow will have all sorts of talented receivers to throw to. The RB situation still looks a little cloudy but former backup Kestahn Moore looks very promising, but they still can stick Harvin back there when needed. Now to the defense, this could determine the Gators fate. Only two starters are back (DE Derrick Harvey and SS Tony Joiner) and the rest of the positions are young. Urban Meyer said the young talent on the D looks very promising, but they need to improve quickly before their Sept. 15 meeting with Tennessee.

2. Tennessee
Nobody really knows how Tennessee will end up this season. They are sort of a mystery team. They could win the conference and end up playing in a BCS bowl game or everything could fall apart just like that. The O-Line and D-Line need to improve and find some depth in order for them to compete with Florida for the East Title. QB Erik Ainge is back but he must stay healthy, if he can do that the Vols should be a pretty good team. They still need to find a legitimate back to take over and the WR unit was hit very hard with the losses of Robert Meachem, Jayson Swain, and Bret Smith. The defense has 5 starters back and needs to find players to step up at LB and in the secondary.

3. Georgia
The Bulldogs lose 12 starters but have some great young talent to help make that up. So. QB Matthew Stafford should be improved and has some good WRs in Mohamed Massaquoi and Sean Bailey. RB Kregg Lumpkin is back and should be able to produce some good numbers along the way but watch out for redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno. The D-Line needs to find more depth along with the LB crew. But the secondary will be a very solid unit with CBs Paul Oliver, Bryan Evans, and FS Kelin Johnson back.

4. South Carolina
SC could have a big year, they just need the offense to get things rolling. I mean 10 starters are back on defense, but if QB Blake Mitchell and the young WRs can step up, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia could be in for a waking. The conference schedule is definitely favorable, so they could surprise some people.

5. Kentucky
I think Andre Woodson will be one of the best QBs in the nation and a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman, they just need to fill some holes on defense and hope it can improve along the way until they get to their conference schedule.

6. Vanderbilt
The offense will be experienced and good with the return of QB Chris Nickson and WR Earl Bennett. The running game needs to improve but Jeff Jennings is back after missing '06 with an injury, so that should help. But the defense needs to improve in order for Vanderbilt to move out of the cellar in the SEC East.

1. LSU
The offense could be a problem after losing QB JaMarcus Russell and WRs Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis. But Matt Flynn has plenty of experience on his hands and should fill in well for Russell. The WRs will be young but they still have the leadership and ability of Early Doucet. Sophomore RBs Keiland Williams and Charles Scott should put up some plausible numbers behind three returning linemen. The Defense, with 8 starters returning, should be one the best in the country and the defensive front, from my stand point, will be the best in the country, lead by DT Glenn Dorsey and Marlon Favorite and DE Tyson Jackson. The LBs will be dynamite as well with 3 starters back in Ali Highsmith (one of the best in the nation), Darry Beckwith, and Luke Sanders. The secondary should be talented and athletic even after losing 4 year starters LaRon Landry and Jessie Daniels, with CBs Jonathan Zenon and Chevis Jackson leading the way.

2. Arkansas
Arkansas will have the best RB duo in the country and QB Casey Dick as well as one of the best WRs in the SEC in Marcus Monk are back. Darren McFadden is one of those RBs and is the best back in the nation. He finished 2nd in the Heisman voting and rushed for 1, 647 yards last season. Felix Jones, the other RB, isn't far behind as he rushed for 1,168 yards. In order for Arkansas to win the West again they need QB Casey Dick to be more consistent and the defense to step up after losing 7 starters from last years team.

3. Auburn
The Tigers have a tough road conference schedule at Florida, Arkansas, LSU, and Georgia, which won't be enough to finish above third place in the west. The offensive line and RB positions could poise some problems early and often as Kenny Irons bolted for the NFL. QB Brandon Cox is back, which will help. DE Quentin Groves is back and one of the best pass rushers in the conference. The secondary still has some issues to sort out where they lost DB David Irons.

4. Alabama
The Tide has turned after Alabama signed new head coach Nick Saban. The Bama faithful are hoping for some progress and believe Saban could lead them to the promised land. But sorry Bama fans, this won't be your year. The passing game will be stellar with QB John Parker Wilson and WRs D.J. Hall and Keith Brown all back. The secondary will be decent with CB Simeon Castille back, but the front seven must improve.

5. Mississippi
The offense looked horrid in the spring and QB Brent Schaefer didn't look very good either. But I feel Schaefer has a ton of potential and could get some good wins for the Rebels. 6 defensive starters return but they need to replace LBs Patrick Willis and Rory Johnson.

6. Mississippi St.
Sylvester Croom is on the hot seat and must get some wins for the Bulldogs. The O-Line has good experience back and QB Michael Henig, RB Anthony Dixon, and WR Tony Burks are back. The defense needs to pick up the slack and fill in the voids for the losses of 4 of it's 5 best linemen and LB Quinton Culberson. DE Titus Brown will be one of the best in the country.

SEC Championship:
LSU over Florida

Offensive Player of the Year:
Darren McFadden, RB- Arkansas

Defensive Player of the Year:
Glenn Dorsey, DT- LSU

Freshman of the Year:
Eric Berry, CB- Tennessee

Coach of the Year:
Urban Meyer- Florida

Games to Watch:
Tennessee at Florida- Sept. 15

Florida at LSU- Oct. 6

Florida vs. Georgia- Oct. 27

Arkansas at Tennessee- Nov. 10

LSU at Alabama- Nov. 3

Arkansas at LSU- Nov. 24

Arkansas at Alabama- Sept. 15

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lsu is the favorite in my mind. florida will be good the defense wont need to be that amazing because the offense will put up 35+ a game.