AUG 15, 2016
IT’S FOOTBALL TIME DOWN SOUTH
The latest AP pre-season poll is out, and the SEC West has claimed the number one and number ten spots. Alabama is picked to win all the marbles, and the Rebels are expected to finish second in the SEC West, and high in the final polls. The balance of the top 25 includes LSU at No. 16, Tennessee at No. 22, and the Florida Gators at 25.
There are two problems facing the conference that might prevent the high ranking for other SEC teams, the first being the parity of talent in the conference and the second being the near round robin scheduling. Many members will be beating other members every Saturday. This hurts overall records and helps strength of schedule. In the SEC West the top five teams can beat anyone on a given day, and having anyone run the table is almost an impossibility.
The East might be a different story, with Tennessee and Florida fighting it out for a trip to Atlanta. Their only other losses will probably come at the hands of a team from the West. The quarterback questions haunt the East everywhere but Tennessee, where senior Joshua Dobbs returns after a stellar 2015, and Missouri with Drew Lock
In the West the QB position is either up for grabs or somewhat shaky everywhere but at Ole Miss Chad Kelly gives the Rebel’s a seasoned and highly productive leader. Running backs abound on both sides, but LSU’s Leonard Fournette is the crème de la crème and preseason hype for the Heisman.
I believe that 2016 will be the year of the defense in the SEC. There are two new coaches in the East: Kirby Smart at Georgia and Will Muschamp at South Carolina. Both will help their teams improve on defense. If I’m right about the emergence of defense this season, then offensive players like Kelly and Fournette can make the difference between winning and losing.
When the dust clears I suspect the winner of the Ole Miss v Alabama game will meet the Tennessee v Florida winner in Atlanta. The winner of that game will play for the National Championship. Nick Saban and Lane Kiffen are well aware of the Rebel’s winning streak, and you can bet there’s something on the wall about this in the Tide’s dressing room. Next week I take a look at my much maligned Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Categories: As I Like It!