The powerhouse teams in the Western Division, LSU, Alabama and Auburn have won national championships in the past four years while Arkansas has improved by leaps and bounds under Bobby Petrino. The West had the four best teams in the league last year and nothing will change this season.
How do you spell
SEC football title? It starts with an A and ends with an A as in Alabama and
Here’s a closer look at the SEC’s
Alabama (10-3 SU, 8-5 ATS)
The Alabama Crimson Tide has seven starters
coming back on defense making them very good and very experienced. Alabama was
the choice to win the SEC at last year’s Media Day but instead finished fourth
in the West. If Nick Saban can find a starting quarterback the Tide could roll
big in 2011.
Arkansas (10-3 SU, 9-4 ATS)
The Arkansas Razorbacks could surprise everyone
and win the league title. They’ve improved each year under Bobby Petrino and
last season they made it to the Sugar Bowl for their first ever BCS title game.
Arkansas is counting on Tyler Wilson to replace Ryan Mallett at quarterback and
if he can do it the Razorbacks should contend.
Auburn (14-0 SU, 10-4 ATS)
Here’s wishing good luck to the Auburn Tigers' head coach
Gene Chizik who lost 16 starters from his national championship team of a year
ago including Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton and defensive
tackle Nick Fairley both of whom graduated to the NFL. Everything fell into
place for the Tigers in 2010 capped off with a rout of Oregon in the BCS
championship game. Something tells me it’ll be a little different this time
LSU (11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS)
The Tigers were hit with their first
major violation in football in 25 years and it came on the eve of the SEC media
day. What’s the over/under on how many football questions get asked as opposed
to queries about the NCAA violation? Still the Tigers are a solid team and if
they avoid any further off the field headlines they’ll be a serious contender
for the conference title.
Florida (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS)
Urban Meyer might be gone but the Florida Gators
are still the team to beat in the SEC East.
Mitch Muschamp has the unenviable job of
following a coaching legend but most Florida supporters feel he’s the right man
for the job. His first order of business was to install a pro-style offense
which should benefit quarterback John Brantley who struggled mightily last season.
The Florida Gators have become “Felony Flats” in the SEC and lead the league in arrests
by ‘student-athletes’. The sooner they can distance themselves from those types
of headlines the better.
South Carolina (9-5 SU, 7-7 ATS)
There’s no gray area when it comes to
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. You either like him or hate him and right
now he’s on pretty good terms with Gamecock fans. SC won the East Division in
2010 and depending on whom you ask it was because of or in spite of quarterback
Spurrier doesn’t like Garcia much but he’s the only QB with any
experience so he’ll play. All Garcia needs to do is hand the ball off to
running back Marcus Lattimore and stay out of trouble. That should be enough to
help the Gamecocks repeat as East champions.
Georgia (6-7 SU, 5-8 ATS)
To borrow from Larry the Cable Guy, this
season is a “Git-Er done or Git out of
town” year for the Georgia Bulldogs coach Mark Richt. His detractors say that Richt has
overstayed his welcome and his “holier than thou” attitude has worn thin. I say
he needs an 11 win season and a high
profile BCS game to keep his job neither of which is likely to happen.
Harvey’s Take: If I were king, I’d take the top four
teams from the West and have a two week tournament for the SEC title game. However, they still do the East vs. West thing in the SEC, so my money is on an Alabama
vs. Florida title game. Who wins? The Crimson Tide prevails in a 6-3 snoozer
that sets College Football back 25 years.