Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




College Football Preview: SEC Is Looking For 4 In a Row

Posted on September 01, 2009 by Dean Hybl

 

All conversations about the SEC have to start with the Florida Gators and senior quarterback Tim Tebow.

All conversations about the SEC have to start with the Florida Gators and senior quarterback Tim Tebow.

Overview: The SEC has claimed the last three BCS Championships and there is a good chance the Florida Gators could make it four in a row. As usual, the SEC is loaded with talent, which makes going through the entire season undefeated a tough task (and something none of those three champions has been able to accomplish). In addition to top ranked Florida, Alabama (#5) and Mississippi (#8) are ranked in the AP Top 10. With LSU (#11) and Georgia (#13) also ranked high, the SEC has more teams in the top 15 than any other conference.

Who’s Hot?: Ole Miss made huge strides in their first season under head coach Houston Nutt a year ago and they have become the darlings of the national press. Some consider junior quarterback Jevan Snead to be as good or better than All-American Tim Tebow. Florida, under head coach Urban Meyer, is on a roll with two national titles in the last three years and have the talent to win another one this season. While Snead may be a talented quarterback, he is not the proven winner that Tebow is and the senior would certainly welcome a chance to avenge UF’s lone loss from a year ago if the two teams both earn spots in the SEC Championship game.

Some believe that Jevan Snead may be the best quarterback in the SEC.

Some believe that Jevan Snead may be the best quarterback in the SEC.

Who Will Struggle?: After reaching the number one ranking last season, Alabama is being picked in the top five in most national polls. However, after losing most of their starting offense it could be a tougher for Nick Saban in 2009. A lot could be learned about how things will go for the Crimson Tide very early in the season as they face #7 Virginia Tech in their season opener. It also could be a long season for the University of Tennessee and first year head coach Lane Kiffin. Though he has yet to coach a college game, Kiffin has created a lot of controversy with some of his remarks and actions. With games at Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, it could be a tough year for Kiffin as he gets his feet wet as a college coach.

Team To Watch: After posting a 5-7 record last season under the direction of first year head coach Bobby Petrino, Arkansas could make the kind of giant leap that have occurred in recent years at Alabama and Mississippi. The Razorbacks return 17 starters, including running back Michael Smith. They also have former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett ready to take the reigns under center.

Offensive Players To Watch: Obviously most eyes will be on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow as he looks to win a second Heisman Trophy and return the Gators to the BCS Championship Game for the third time in four years. However, there are many other talented players ready to make their mark in 2009. Receiver A.J. Green from Georgia was a huge spark as a freshman and it will be crucial with a new starting quarterback that he build on his performance from a year ago. Senior running back Charles Scott from LSU will also be looking to take the pressure off the quarterbacks this season.

Defensive Players To Watch: Free Safety Eric Berry from Tennessee is generally considered the best defensive player in the conference, with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin he could be a force in 2009. Brandon Spikes returned to Florida for his senior season and will certainly be looking to make an impact this season. Alabama may have the best defense in the conference and Terrence Cody, Rolando McClain and Dont’a Hightower all are potential all-league choices.

Teaming with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin could make Eric Berry the best defensive player in the SEC in 2009.

Teaming with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin could make Eric Berry the best defensive player in the SEC in 2009.

Key Games: You don’t have to wait long for a big game in the SEC as the Alabama-Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State-Georgia games on September 5 will be immediate tests for SEC title hopefuls. Alabama also has a tough challenge on October 10 when they go to Ole Miss. The most entertaining game of the season could be the Florida-Tennessee matchup at The Swamp on September 19. After all the talking Lane Kiffin did during the preseason, Meyer, Tebow and the Gators could make it a very long evening for Kiffin and the Volunteers. A more important test for the Gators will be on October 10 when they travel to LSU.

Predictions: It isn’t really going out on a limb to predict that Florida will win the SEC East and earn a spot in the conference championship game. Georgia would seem to be their toughest competition, but with a new quarterback it could be a tall order for them not only to beat UF, but also to post a great record against a very tough schedule. The SEC West seems to be a three-team race between Ole Miss, Alabama and LSU. It would be a refreshing change to see Ole Miss playing for the league title, but look for LSU to sneak through and return to the title game.

Leave a Reply


  • Current Poll

    Which 2017 Hall of Fame Inductee is Less Deserving of Enshrinement?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top