2009 SEC Football Preview
1 – Florida
They come off the national championship and have a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback. No seniors are on the offensive line but their receiving corps and defensive front seven make up for that. They will be rated no. 1 overall in a lot of polls at the beginning of the year.
2 – Georgia
The loss of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno bears watching. Joe Cox is the new QB and is a senior but doesn't have a lot of experience. This ranking is based strictly on talent.
3 – South Carolina
Don't think Steve Spurrier won't yank Stephen Garcia if the quarterback is ineffective. However, that means a child (freshman) could lead them. The defense is experienced with a plethora of seniors and juniors. Spurrier is enough of a factor to get the Gamecocks into the top three of the division.
4 – Kentucky
This team is the wild card. They are looking for an unprecedented fourth straight bowl win. Mike Hartline will have to fend off the quarterback challenge from two touted freshmen while wideout Randall Cobb is Mr. Excitement.
5 – Tennessee
Lane Kiffin's mouth will either be this team's undoing or motivate them to a return to top-dog status. Safety Eric Berry is a dark-horse Heisman candidate. The Vols need more of those .
6 – Vanderbilt
The Commodores won't come out of the gate like raging bulls this season. Their offense has never been strong and it will wear this team out trying to win every game 7-3.
1 – Ole Miss
Everybody's on Alabama's bandwagon to win the West. The Rebels have a softer schedule than the Tide and the best quarterback not named Tim Tebow. The big key is if Greg Hardy can be in top form following his off-season car accident.
2 – Alabama
Nick Saban is one of those coaches who can take a team to new heights with his knowledge of the game and recruiting savvy. However, this is a young team that will stumble when people don't expect it. That's why they're not selected to win the division.
3 – LSU
Jordan Jefferson takes over at quarterback. Again, youth is the issue for the Bayou Bengals. However, Charles Scott is a workhorse at running back and that could make the difference resulting in a top-three divisional finish.
4 – Arkansas
Quarterback Ryan Mallett dwarfs some offensive linemen. He will certainly get some opportunities to throw, throw, throw under Bobby Petrino. That might help the Hogs steal a couple of games that they normally wouldn't have won with a conservative offense.
5 – Mississippi State
Their offense has been abysmal for some time and are the West's version of Vandy. The experienced defense will have to carry the Bulldogs to whatever victories they will get.
6 – Auburn
Auburn could have had Turner Gill, who coached Buffalo into a team that is no longer a laughingstock. They settled for Gene Chizik who won a couple games a year at Iowa State. That will be their downfall this season.
Three Biggest SEC Games
Sept. 5 – Alabama @ Va. Tech (Georgia Dome)
The winner could be entrenched in the top five. This game looms large for BCS reasons.
Oct. 10 – Alabama @ Ole Miss
If the Tide have a loss against Virginia Tech a loss on the road to the Rebels would kill their hopes of getting to BCS bowl game.
Oct. 31 – Florida @ Georgia
Mark Richt will want revenge, even if he doesn't say so, for last season's debacle against the Gators.