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August 15, 2007

SCS.comThe SEC continues to establish itself as the best league in all of college football, claiming another national title in 2006 with the Florida Gators dismantling of Ohio State in the national championship game. The league sent 9 of its 12 programs into the postseason last year, winning 6, including 2 BCS games. Further demonstrating how good this league is, the SEC has won 7 of its 8 BCS games since the 2001 season, and every week the conference seems to have a national championship knock-out game on the schedule. Heading into 2007, the league again has tons of talent and athleticism to set up another thrilling chase for the league championship and its automatic BCS berth. Pick'Em Contest

This year’s national title challenger appears to be an LSU program that will rely on a brutal defense and a favorable home schedule to make a run at the league’s 2nd straight national championship. The Tigers did lose 2 conference games last season, but they led the league in both scoring offense and defense in addition to total offense and defense, demonstrating how close this team really was last year. The main challengers to the Tigers look to be last year’s champ Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee, with Arkansas, Auburn, and Georgia retaining enough talent to be factors during the season. The league is likely to match last year’s 9 bowl teams, as Vanderbilt and Kentucky look to battle for that final post-season position. If the Commodores of Vandy were to achieve a bowl bid, it would be the school's 1st since a 1982 Hall of Fame bowl appearance.

Three Keys | Team-by-Team Analysis
Projected Standings | All-Conference Teams


1. Key #1 is which of the two new quarterbacks for league favorites Florida and LSU is more prepared to step in immediately and lead their team. Florida has the highly regarded superstar recruit in Tim Tebow, who did more running than passing last year as a true freshman, so his grasp of the offense remains an unknown at this point. LSU has the veteran Matt Flynn who has exactly one start in 3 years, but that one start was an impressive one in the 2005 Peach Bowl as LSU thumped Miami. These two are critical pieces if these talented teams are to reach their potential in 2007.
2. Key #2 is a question. Is Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina program finally ready to make some noise and challenge for the league championship? The road schedule is brutal, but this is the most talent assembled in Columbia in years, and the Gamecock faithful are clamoring for more than 8 wins this season. The defense looks nasty, and with Spurrier putting together the offensive game plan, this team looks to be a major player in the title chase.
3. Key #3: do not expect to sleep walk to a win over Vanderbilt anymore, as this program has greatly improved over the past few seasons. This year’s bunch of Commodores returns 18 starters from last year's group that put major scares into Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida, and earned a win over Georgia. Expect Vanderbilt to turn a few of those close losses into wins this season and to play a major role in deciding who emerges victorious in the tight SEC East race.