Continuing the Domination of College Football
Not to toot the horns of SEC fans because lord knows their egos are big enough as is, but the rest of the nation has been playing for second for years. The SEC has won the last 7 national championships and Alabama is the favorite to three-peat this year. We’ve heard it time and time again…the SEC has more speed and talent than any other conference. They produce the most NFL draft picks, All-Americans, Manning’s, arrests (just kidding…kind of), etc.
The SEC has been so affectionately referred to as the “meatgrinder” of college football. Despite the jokes I crack, the SEC truly is the crème of the crop. There’s no debate about which conference is the most dominating and I don’t expect that to change in 2013. Yes, the SEC has as many mediocre teams as any other BCS conference (what’s up Kentucky, Vanderbilt, etc.?), but no other conference has nearly as many legitimate top 10 teams as the SEC.
The SEC is so good that the team that returns the reigning Heisman Trophy winner (Texas A&M) isn’t even one of the top 3 favorites to win the conference. Johnny “Football” Manziel is back to lead the Aggies to what should be another banner year…but they’ll have to find some hidden gems on the defensive side of the ball if they’re going to hang with Alabama, Georgia, and others.
As for how I predict the regular season to play out, here goes…
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
SEC Championship Game: Alabama over South Carolina
Bowl Eligible Teams: South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State
East Division Overview: It’s Going to Be a 3-Team Race
I realize that no games have been played yet, but I’m going to write off Tennessee, Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky already. No disrespect to them but they might as well not even bother going into the season with expectations of achieving more than 5-6 wins. I will say this for Tennessee, I loved the hiring of Butch Jones Jr. The Vols will be back soon. That’s too proud of a program with too many resources and too strong of a tradition to stay down for long. Jones will be the guy to get it turned around. It just won’t be this year.
The East Division has 3 teams that will battle it out for their opportunity to get stomped by Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina all have strengths and question marks. I’m picking South Carolina to win because they have the defense and just enough offense to get the job done. I’m not sold on Florida’s offense or Georgia’s defense. The Gators have as good of a defense as there is in the country and Georgia has as good of an offense as there is, but I think both teams will struggle on the other side of the ball. South Carolina is stacked on defense, especially with Jedeveon Clowney wreaking havoc on the defensive line. Their offense won’t be great, but Connor Shaw will improve enough to get the Gamecocks over the hump.
West Division Overview: It’s Alabama and Everyone Else…Probably
Raise your hand if you predicted Johnny Manziel to win the Heisman Trophy and Texas A&M to win 10 games last year? Put your hand down, you’re lying! Alabama won the national title last year and they did without much star power. They had a team that was talented across the board and played exceptionally well together. Nick Saban is one of the best college coaches…of all-time. Alabama returns many of their key players from last season, including quarterback AJ McCarron. He’s not a flashy quarterback like Manziel, but he gets the job done.
You can never count LSU out. No coach in the history of sports has been as lucky as Les Myles has been. On top of that, the Tigers have great talent. This team isn’t as talented as the squad that won the national title in 2007, but they’ll still field a ball-hawking defense. If Texas A&M can manage to find young defensive players that make immediate impacts, they’ll be a factor as well. After all, they were the only team to beat Alabama last year. Ole Miss and Mississippi State will also field quality teams, but to think they have the firepower to contend with Alabama isn’t reasonable.