Some completely random SEC musings

Chris Brown’s comment about Auburn’s spring game in the post just below got me to thinking – dangerous, I know – about where I see things at in the conference right now.  None of this is backed up mounds of data; it’s simply what pops into my head at the moment when I turn in a particular school’s direction.

So here’s my list of shallow observations for the day.

SEC EAST

  • Florida.  Everything’s coming up roses – defensive depth, Tebow, the schedule.  Two concerns:  can they effectively replace Harvin and how likely is it that the Gators will go +22 in turnover margin again.
  • Georgia. It’s all about the line play.  On both sides of the ball.
  • Kentucky. When this is one of the biggest stories of your offseason, that doesn’t bode well.  Jeremy Jarmon’s unexpected departure doesn’t help, either.
  • South Carolina. This team looks to be a mess offensively.  Defensively, the ‘Cocks should be good enough to insure another mediocre season.  That’s just how they drew it up when Spurrier was hired, right?
  • Tennessee. Bad QB situation, thin offensive line and receiving corps.  The Vols look to be relying on the running game and Eric Berry’s defense to survive.  As untraditional as the offseason has been for UT, the regular season looks like it’s shaping up as the same old stuff.
  • Vanderbilt. Most people think the talent base has improved, and so should Vandy’s chances this season.  Me, I look at a 4-4 conference record built on a net -76.1 yards per game in SEC play last year (a number that’s worsened in each of the last three seasons, mind you) and wonder how the ‘Dores can match the ’08 win total again.

SEC WEST

  • Alabama. On paper, you have to like what you see, for the most part.  It’s just weird that a Nick Saban-coached school has never enjoyed back-to-back seasons with double digit wins.
  • Arkansas. Arky seems to be everybody’s darkhorse candidate for most improved in the conference, but I wonder how far the Hogs can go with that conference schedule and that defense.
  • Auburn. And how far can these guys go without a decent quarterback?  Well, Chizik should double his win total as a head coach, at least.
  • LSU. If you’re a big believer in addition by subtraction, replacing Jarrett Lee with Jordan Jefferson may be the most significant move in the conference this season.
  • Mississippi. Yeah, yeah, the stars are aligned for these guys.  That’s what they said about the Nuttster’s 2007 Arkansas team, too.  Look where that got him.
  • Mississippi State. If you think that Tennessee will be better this year because the Vol offense is bound to improve, how is the logic for this team any different?

Overall, on paper the East looks weaker than it has in a long time.  The West looks like it’s gonna be a lot of fun, though.

Your equally off-the-cuff thoughts?

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Some completely random SEC musings

  1. Joe

    I really do not understand the love for Ole Miss. They lost 1st round picks on each line, probably the first 1st round picks Ole Miss has had since Eli.

    Same with Bama. Caldwell and Andre Smith, and that big #88, the OT dressed like a TE, keyed their running game. I think there MLB is the best player in the SEC, but they have holes in the secondary that never got exposed last year because of how they were able to dictate tempo.

    I think Scu will be better than you give them credit for. Garcia has undeniable talent, and he has kept his nose clean this off-season.

    LSU and UF are far and away the two best teams in the league. One of those teams has a good coach, one does not.

  2. It’s just weird that a Nick Saban-coached school has never enjoyed back-to-back seasons with double digit wins.

    Would have won 10 in ’04 if it weren’t for a Hail Mary in the Capital One. And they were only a few plays away against Georgia. Not.

  3. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    UF – Not only lost Harvin’s 1,304 all purpose yards and 17 TDs, but they also lost their other WR – Louis Murphy. He had 655 yards and 7 TDs. Can Corch Meyers reload that much offense?

    Bama – A brand new QB, RT and LT. Actually I think one of the guards will slide to LT, but how did that plan work in the Sugar Bowl? Glen Coffee -RB- bailing early too. The D will be solid, but the O is the big question. John Parker Wilson was solid enough to not lose you a game, but is this O good enough?

  4. pat

    I agree, the west is more fun. LSU, Bama, and Ole Miss, are all the same in my book. Who knows what these teams are going to do. Auburn is down, but Arkansas looks to be a bit of a surprise too. Thats going to be very interesting to see who emerges as top of the West. In the East, its clear Florida is the favorite, and Georgia is next, then everyone else. At least UGA gets shots at LSU and Arkansas to spice things up.

  5. The Realist

    The West is head and shoulders above the East this season.

    Mississippi State is the weak sister, but they should be drastically improved on offense to go with a consistently solid-to-good defense. A bowl game would not surprise me.

    Arkansas is nearly there, but will take at least 5 losses just due to the schedule: at Alabama, at Florida, at Ole Miss, at LSU, Georgia, Auburn, & South Carolina at home.

    Ole Miss is Georgia circa 2008. They’ll be a good team, and they’ll win some games, but top 5-10 expectations are unrealistic. Top 15 with a couple of losses is about right.

    I think this is the year for Ole Nickers. 10 wins are doable, but if Tyrod Taylor lives up to his billing, the Tide might have a tough time in the opener. If they lose the opener, they won’t win 10.

    LSU gets Florida in Death Valley at night for the first real home game of the season (Vandy & ULL don’t count). I can’t imagine what that crowd will be like if LSU is 5-0 and ranked in the top 5 against 4-0 #1-ranked Florida. (I can imagine, and it makes me jealous.)

    South Carolina’s first two games are on the road. They visit Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas. That’s not an easy slate… especially when you have Ole Miss, Florida, and Clemson at home. Even if Garcia can summon the mullet powers of Steve Taneyhill, South Carolina will have to fight to get to 7 wins.

    Tennessee will be improved on offense, but, much like Mississippi State, a band of blind, one-legged midgets could improve upon the disgrace that occurred last season. The good news is that they have eight home games(!!!!). The bad news is that the road trips include Alabama, Florida, and Ole Miss. 8 wins is likely if the team has improved as much as Tennessee fans say they have. If not…

    Georgia 2009 = ??????? Lots of freakin’ question marks. I’m hoping some of those turn into !!!, as in “yay!!!” 10 wins & a NYD bowl? Sounds about richt, er, right.

    I hate Florida with a fire that burns hotter than 1,000 suns. Aside from that, they have holes here and there, but even if they took a full manly step backwards on offense due to no Percy or Murphy, they would still have the best offense in the SEC. They stumble somewhere along the way, methinks, but they destroy most everything in their path.

    If you put Vandy and Kentucky on a game show, they would get the nice parting gifts that consist of a coupon to Cici’s Pizza and $5 in arcade tokens.

    I nearly forgot Auburn… which tells you what I expect from them this season.

  6. – Bama’s defense will come back to Earth. They’re good, but good quarterbacks will throw the ball on that secondary.
    — Georgia will miss Knowshon Moreno a sh_t-ton more than Matthew Stafford.
    — Within the division, it’s a 4-team race (Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss) for the best team, but Bama and Ole Miss have to be favored solely because of schedule. LSU is looking at a season kind of like Georgia in 07 or LSU in 06 where they could be really good by the end of the year but miss out on the division title due to a schedule that gets rocky early.

  7. Mike In Valdosta

    Wow,

    Generally agree with the top half of the East, but I expect Vandy to push both columbis and knoxville for the 4 spot.

    The West I think is a crap shoot. baton rouge could surprise, as could oxford. West opelika is getting way too much respect from you. IMHO

  8. Florida Homer

    “Florida. Everything’s coming up roses – defensive depth, Tebow, the schedule. Two concerns: can they effectively replace Harvin and how likely is it that the Gators will go +22 in turnover margin again. ”

    Harvin, simply look at the 2 toughest teams on the schedule, in the top 2 games in CFB IMO… UF was Harvin-less and came out fine. Plenty of talent to plug in to that scenario, Demps, James, Rainey, Chris Scott (best RB UF player have never heard of), Debose, etc. WR is fine too, lots of speed, quality corp.

    The TO margin, if you imagine empathetically how sweet the secondary tasted last year after watching the debacle the year before… you would be happy with even a smidge of that repeat success, heck… just 500 would be fine with all other aspects of the program. But fact is everyone is returning, backups too (yea, I am sure you have heard it a millions times already)… and some of the D Sec shirts were top recruits a couple years ago, Finley (actually he was academic), etc… Ints skill is there for sure, QBs should be just as weak as last year… also, 2 top LB recruits, Spikes (had a few athletic picks, couple TDs even), Line is crazy… 22 was stellar, lot of luck mixed in with talent w/ that kind of number, but the talent part could make it happen again.

    I know everyone will want UF to fall on their face, but as most normal people (that hate UF) admit that they will have to beat themselves in some crazy way. This year UF will be better than sex… that’s fine, bring on the Tebow comments.

    P.s. Living in Bama, it is the best thing since sister schuberts when I get to here a bamer ramble on about their recruiting ranking since Saban showed up… and it isnt even after (knowing I am a UF Homer) me making a Chip comment or anything. It’s great.