Monday, August 7, 2017

College Football: Season Preview: The SEC

It's Monday, time to start looking at the Power 5 conferences and sort-out who makes it to the CFP and the NY 6 games at the end.

I'll start off with the SEC, not for any reason other than they fall first on the spreadsheet I created.

When talking about the SEC you have to talk about Alabama. They've been the best team in the best conference for quite some time now, even in years they didn't win they sucked up all of the oxygen, and I don't see that changing this year.  What I do see is Florida being much improved in the East and Georgia as well.

Here's how I see it....
Conference Standings:
WEST W L EAST W L
Alabama   11 1 Florida   9 3
LSU 10 2 Georgia 9 3
Auburn 10 2 Tennessee 9 3
Texas A&M 7 5 Missouri 6 6
Arkansas 7 5 Kentucky 6 6
Mississippi State 6 6 South Carolina 4 8
Ole Miss 4 8 Vanderbilt 3 9

Wins Division Wins Division
Conference Championship:
Alabama over Florida
Bowl Teams: 11
CFP: Alabama
Big Six LSU Georgia
CFP 2: None
Others: Auburn
Florida
* On probation Texas A&M
Tennessee
Mississippi State
Kentucky
Missouri
Arkansas
Most Underrated: Missouri
Most Overrated: Auburn
Coaches on Hot Seat: Kevin Sumlin, Butch Jones
Brett Bielema, Mark Stoops

The question for the SEC this year is whether or not anyone will be able to knock off Alabama. My instinct says no.  gone is the distraction that was Lane Kiffin and back is a host of talented offensive players, including QB Jalen Hurts and massive RB Bo Scarborough, and a defense that shouldn't have trouble stopping anyone this year.  

The toughest team to evaluate is LSU, who I think has talent, and a good coach in Ed Orgeron, but who constantly mystifies me because their play doesn't always match up with the quality of athletes they have on the field.  That said, I think they're stronger than an overrated Auburn team who will have a solid record nevertheless because the SEC is (still) somewhat depressed this year once you get past the top six teams.

Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are all going to be good this year. Texas A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Missouri and Kentucky are going to be around average, and Ole Miss, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are going to be sub-par.  That's probably not what you expect to hear about the SEC (and it's not the narrative you're going to hear all year) but it's probably the truth.

OPOY: Darrius Guice (LSU)
DPOY: Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
COY: Ed Orgeron (LSU)

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