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College Football Preview 2008College Football Free Pick'Em Contest 2008
SCS.COM COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW 2008: SEC
August 15, 2008

SCS.comSaving the best for last, we now bring you the preview for the top conference in college football, hands down, the Southeastern Conference. After Florida and LSU have taken the past two national championships, all eyes will be on the conference that always seems to have the best one-loss team in the country. An undefeated team from the SEC is a lock for the BCS Championship, and that may be just what happens this year. A legitimate five national title contenders will battle in 2008 for a likely right to prove the SEC is the best yet again in Miami.

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

THREE KEYS

1. Will anybody come out of the conference schedule unscathed? It has not happened the past two seasons, but of course it usually does not matter as long as there are not two undefeated teams in other major conferences. The SEC grind is the toughest in football, so can anyone survive?
2. The Heisman race could likely come down to a horserace between Tim Tebow, Knowshon Moreno, and Matthew Stafford. When all three hit the field in arguably the biggest game of the entire college football season, who will become the frontrunner for the biggest award in football?
3. There are no fewer than five true national championship contenders with Georgia, Florida, LSU, Auburn, and Tennessee all in the mix. This could mean the SEC championship is a play-in game for the BCS Championship, but which coaches will push the right buttons and make the right moves when the games are on the line?

TEAM-BY-TEAM ANALYSIS

Alabama

OFFENSE: The offense should be much stronger in 2008, and it all starts up front where all five starters return. OL Antoine Caldwell and Andre Smith will give QB John Parker Wilson more than enough time to prove he is as good as the hype. Wilson's only problem will be breaking in a new crop of receivers, led by Mike McCoy.
DEFENSE: The defense is breaking in a few new starters this season, so look for some growing pains while the unit finds its leaders. LB Jimmy Johns will need to solidify the middle of the 3-4 defense until new sophomore linebackers can improve. The backfield should be pretty good.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Leigh Tiffin will be looking to improve the kicking results from last year, while P P.J. Fitzgerald is also back on the special teams unit. Both these juniors have pretty good distance, so look for the special teams to help the defense stay out of bad situations.
COACHING: Nick Saban came to the Crimson Tide with much fanfare in 2007, and all good coaches seem to improve their teams dramatically in the second year at the helm. After getting Alabama to a bowl game in his first season, Alabama will be looking to compete with the upper echelon of the conference this season. If Saban keeps out-recruiting his SEC competition, the Tide will be at the top of the West in the next couple years.
SCHEDULE: The only thing stopping Alabama from a big resurgence in 2008 is a pretty rough schedule. The conference road schedule is brutal, including Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU. All of the seven home games are winnable, but look for Kentucky and Auburn to give the Tide a run for their money at Bryant-Denney.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... QB John Parker Wilson was supposed to put up fantastic numbers in 2007, but did not look as good as advertised until the end of the season. Assuming Wilson can find his consistency early in the season, look for him to be a darkhorse contender for all-conference honors (even with a returning Heisman winner in the running).
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... As mentioned above, all the home games are winnable. While it is hard to imagine winning at Georgia, Alabama could surprise everyone with a split on the road. Alabama could go 5-0 against the West and 10-2 overall, possibly making the SEC title game.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... The schedule is a little rough, so Alabama could take a step back if the defense falls apart and puts all the pressure on the offensive unit. If that happens, Alabama could drop to 4-8.
MAKE OR BREAK: While the entire defense is an important cog, the difference between a serviceable offense and a great one will be whether the new receiver core steps up and completes the offense. If Mike McCoy and Darius Hanks have good seasons, the Tide should roll to more success than 2007.

Arkansas

OFFENSE: The Razorbacks had some nice highlights last season with Darren McFadden and company, including knocking off eventual national champion LSU at the end of the regular season. The offensive line is mostly returning and is led by C Jonathan Luigs. QB Casey Dick will find a completely new role with DMC gone and a pass-happy coach coming in to replace Houston Nutt.
DEFENSE: The defensive line is the best part of the unit, but this will be a major rebuilding year for this side of the ball. All four defensive backs need replaced and the Razorbacks will watch every other team in the conference try to throw on these new starters. DE Malcolm Sheppard is the best of the unit.
SPECIAL TEAMS: P Jeremy Davis returns for his senior season and will likely be called upon a lot in his final year. K Alex Tejeda may struggle in his sophomore year, as a lot will be expected of the kicking game if Arkansas is going to turn any corners this season.
COACHING: Bobby Petrino has left Louisville and the Big East behind and jumps into a rebuilding situation at Arkansas. Given the talent Houston Nutt had recruited for many years, it may be best for Petrino to start fresh with bare cupboards. Look for Arkansas to take a couple years to adjust to the new regime.
SCHEDULE: The schedule is not doing the Razorbacks any favors, as the only easy game at home is cellar-dwellar Ole Miss. A road game at Texas simply adds to one of the toughest schedules in all of college football. The only break is that the Razorbacks miss Florida and Tennessee this season.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... QB Casey Dick will have a much difference role after being stifled by Houston Nutt's run-and-gun offense the past two seasons. Dick likely would have lost his job to Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett, but Mallett has to sit out a year and so Dick will be the man to help Arkansas learn Petrino's new pass-happy offense. Breakout numbers should happen.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... Everybody in Fayatteville knows this season and most likely next seasons are down payments for renewed success down the road under Petrino. This was a rebuilding season anyway, so even at best the Razorbacks would be lucky to reach 6-6 and 3-5 in conference.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... After winning the first two at home, it could be a very long time before Arkansas wins again. As in, sometime in 2009. 2-10 is possible with an 0-8 finish in SEC play if Mississippi pulls the upset in Fayatteville.
MAKE OR BREAK: Arkansas at best is hoping for a .500 season, so the key will be how quickly the new offense adapts to Petrino's system and who steps up to run that offense. The Razorbacks just need to avoid being embarrassed and demoralized, so games against Alabama after Texas and Mississippi after Kentucky will be key.

Auburn

OFFENSE: QB Kodi Burns takes over the reins of a brand new spread-offense brought by new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. RB duo Ben Tate and Brad Lester should find plenty of holes behind five returning starters on the offensive line, three of them sophomores. The offense should respond well after a full off-season with the new system.
DEFENSE: The defensive line is replacing three starters, but sophomore Antonio Coleman got plenty of playing time as a freshman and will certainly fill one of the gaps. DE Sen'Derrick Marks will anchor the line and all three starting linebackers return to continue keeping the Tiger defense strong.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A couple of sophomores will try to improve as they take over full-time starting roles in the kicking game. K Wes Byrum has a lot of potential to improve from 2007 and P Ryan Shoemaker is a relative unknown. This could end up being the Achilles' heel of the team if there is one.
COACHING: Tommy Tuberville has an impressive 80-33 mark at Auburn and has not let the Tigers fall too far in the SEC standings even in rebuilding years. After playing third fiddle to LSU and Arkansas in 2007, look for Auburn to be the division favorite in a year where 6-2 could outright win the West.
SCHEDULE: Auburn gets quite an assist from the SEC schedulemakers, as all the conference road games are winnable. The only non-conference test is a late October road game at West Virginia. Still, getting LSU, Tennessee, and Georgia at home is the best news Auburn can have in a year where the Tigers should compete for the league title.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... DT Sen'Derrick Marks is the only full-time starter returning on the defensive line, but he is probably the best lineman prospect in the conference even as a junior. Look for Marks to rack up the stops and sacks coming through the middle this season.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... The roadtrip to WVU is a Thursday-night affair, but Auburn has plenty of time off before and after the game to not worry about a disruption in SEC play. Auburn likely cannot sweep the three tough home games, but 7-1 and 11-1 is possible and BCS bowl consideration.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... The offense may sputter in September as Burns gets used to SEC-caliber of play. This is bad news as two of the most important games for Auburn come in September against LSU and Tennessee. It is possible that the Tigers stumble, but 7-5 and another bowl game are the worst-case scenario.
MAKE OR BREAK: No doubt about it, the September 20 game hosting LSU will likely shape the entire season. If Auburn wins, the pressure is probably off against Tennessee and Georgia. If the game is lost, then Auburn will likely have to finish 7-1 to get back ahead of LSU. This game will make or break the season.

Florida

OFFENSE: The offense was good last season, and most of the key elements are back in 2008 including Heisman winner QB Tim Tebow. Tebow accounted for 55 touchdowns last season, but don't expect that this season with much more talent around him. WR Percy Harvin will light up corners, while a trio of running backs will take the load off Tebow.
DEFENSE: The defense kept Florida from being a conference contender last season, and it may again in 2008. The good news is that not a single senior should start, so Florida will n ot only compete for a national title this year but next year as well. The defensive line needs to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks if Florida is to be taken seriously.
SPECIAL TEAMS: P Chas Henry returns for his sophomore season and will be looking to improve. In the kicking game, PK Caleb Sturgis will start his first year at Florida with one of the highest-pressure jobs in all of college football: an SEC kicker. Look for both kickers to struggle at times.
COACHING: It did not take Urban Meyer long to win a national title at Florida, and he will keep the Gators in relevant contention for years to come by the appearances of things. Meyer keeps things fresh for his young team.
SCHEDULE: The schedule is actually kind of rough, with Georgia at the usual neutral site and Tennessee on the road. The rest of the schedule is not all that bad, by SEC standards.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... RB Chris Rainey will split time with two other running backs, but he is the explosive one. Tim Tebow was the change of pace necessary in 2006 to win a national title, and Rainey will perhaps play a key role if a title run is in the works in 2008.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... Florida is a national title contender and despite the rough schedule, 12-0 and a national title game berth is always possible under Urban Meyer.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... Starting with the opener against Hawaii, there are quite a few games that could be tricky if the youthful Gators are not much better than last year. Florida could "suffer" through a 7-5 year at worst.
MAKE OR BREAK: At least the Gators have two weeks off before the Tennessee game. As for make-or-break, it doesn't go farther than the Cocktail Party. A win there will likely lock up a division title and keep any BCS championship hopes alive.

Georgia

OFFENSE: One of the few questions facing the Bulldogs in 2008 will be replacing a couple solid offensive linemen. Still, any serviceable play out of new starters should be enough as RB Knowshon Moreno and QB Matthew Stafford are the best threats in the conference.
DEFENSE: The defense does not really have many question areas after returning nine starters from a top-caliber unit. CB Asher Allen and Prince Miller should be much better after a year of adjusting to SEC play last season.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The kicker is the biggest question mark on the team. Freshman PK Blair Walsh is the only scholarship kicker, so the pressure will be on him early. Can he be clutch if Georgia needs him in a close game is anyone's guess.
COACHING: Mark Richt is certainly one of the top 10 coaches in the game, and he has only been overshadowed in recent years because of other SEC teams taking home national titles. Still, Georgia was close to playing for a title last season and will look to keep things in their hands this season.
SCHEDULE: The schedule is the bad news. Not only does a tough roadtrip to Arizona State loom in September, the inter-division draw is terrible with Alabama, Auburn, and LSU all on the schedule. Still, Georgia should be able to handle this gauntlet.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... It is time for QB Matthew Stafford to finally step up and live up to his potential. While Knowshon Moreno gets more press, Stafford is the guy that needs to lead this team confidently and consistently if a national title is going to happen.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... A national championship, 12-0 regular season, what more is there to say. This is the goal and anything else will likely be disappointing.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... The schedule is really rough, and Georgia may stumble in SEC play. Still, a team this talented should finish no worse than 9-3, even if the injury and bad luck plagues come.
MAKE OR BREAK: Can Georgia survive the terrible schedule, including four straight away from home on the back end of the SEC play (including the neutral site against Florida)? This will be compelling to watch and the key.

Kentucky

OFFENSE: What made Kentucky such a threat the past two seasons was a great passing game, but now an inexperienced quarterback and receiving crew will take over. The offensive line is stacked though, so whoever takes over should have plenty of time to make good decisions.
DEFENSE: The defense will need to step up and be better this season, and that could be an issue. The defensive line returns four starters with experience, but the back seven needs to improve dramatically to keep the Wildcats in games in 2008. Still, this unit could still jell and be good.
SPECIAL TEAMS: At least the special teams unit will not be breaking in too many new faces, and none on the kicking side. PK Lones Seiber and P Tim Masthay should be solid this season.
COACHING: Rich Brooks started with three tough seasons, but he has turned things around in Lexington and has the Wildcats respectable in the tough SEC. The real question is can Brooks take this program to the next level.
SCHEDULE: A road opener at rival Louisville is the only speedbump before SEC play. The road schedule is tough with Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama all on the road. That means the home schedule outside of Georgia is pretty easy though.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... RB Alfonso Smith averaged seven yards per carry last season and should take over the primary rushing duties on a team that will rely heavily on the run. This could lead to a surprising breakout year.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... Kentucky could end up as a darkhorse contender for the division if an huge upset happens again this season, but the schedule still only allows about a 10-2 finish.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... The Wildcat defense may still not be good enough to carry the team, which could cause a reloading year. 4-8 is within the realm of possibility if all goes against the Wildcats.
MAKE OR BREAK: The key to this season will be finding new leaders at all the offensive skill positions and getting them experienced enough to survive a tough SEC slate. If that happens, good results should come to Lexington.

LSU

OFFENSE: The offense would likely be nearly as good as last season if QB Ryan Perrilloux were not kicked off the team, but this unit is still solid. The offensive line is led by veterans Herman Johnson and Ciron Black, which will help the new quarterback and running back get acclimated to SEC play. Still, there will likely be growing pains here.
DEFENSE: The real difference between last year's dominant crew and this year is the defense. The biggest loss was DT Glenn Dorsey, but the defensive line has plenty of great talent returning, led by DE Tyson Jackson. However, replacing nearly all the linebackers and defensive backs will be another story. Look for a lot of teams to spread LSU out and really challenge the new starters.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The one unit that will be pretty much the same as last year is the special teams. PK Colt David is one of the most dependable kickers in the country, while P Brady Dalfrey is also returning for his senior year. The return game will suffer a bit without Early Doucet, but not too much to be concerned.
COACHING: Les Miles was in the middle of the Michigan coaching controversy, but he did not turn his back on the SEC and his team rewarded him with a national championship and a win over Ohio State, Miles' hated rival from his Michigan days. Miles is the most unconventional of the coaches in football with a national title, but the man knows how to recruit and will keep the Bayou Bengals near the top of the conference.
SCHEDULE: The schedule is unkind to the defending national champions. Road games at Auburn and Florida will be tough early, followed by Georgia as well in October. The Tigers will also find the road bumpy against other SEC teams as always.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... WR Demetrius Byrd is a high-speed scoring threat every time the ball is launched in his general direction. The new quarterback will need a go-to outlet, and look for Byrd to be that guy.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... It is just really hard to believe LSU in a "rebuilding" year can run this tough schedule. Even at their best, LSU will drop one game to one of the east division leaders. 11-1 is the best LSU can hope for.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... The Bayou Bengals play absolutely nobody in non-conference play, so 4-0 will happen regardless of how bad the Tigers are. As for SEc play, 3-5 should happen even if everything goes poorly. 7-5 is the bottom range.
MAKE OR BREAK: How quickly the defensive back seven assert themselves against SEC offenses and force a balanced attack will be key. If the back seven fall apart, it could be a long season by LSU standards.

Mississippi

OFFENSE: Transfer QB Jevan Snead will have a lot of pressure to live up to high expectations under the new coaching regime. Look for WR trio Shay Hodge, Mike Wallace, and Dexter McCluster to really shine in the wide-open tricky offense. Expect Mississippi to do a lot better with all the offensive talent the previous coaches brought in.
DEFENSE: De Greg Hardy is the leader of this unit, despite not even starting last season. The line is really good, but the backfield will be the challenging aspect of 2008. Many teams will force Mississippi to stop wide open passing games, and this is the question of the year.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The kicking corps is back for another season, both juniors. PK Joshua Shene needs to improve his numbers from last season, but P Rob Park should help keep the Rebels in games.
COACHING: Houston Nutt did not travel far to get from Arkansas to Mississippi. Still, he will immediately leave a rebuilding process and enter a program with lots of talent left over. Expect Mississippi to finally become relevant again for the first time in five years, but maybe not this year.
SCHEDULE: The schedule does offer three pretty easy nonconference games. The schedule is not that bad, drawing weak South Carolina and Vanderbilt at home from the east division. The schedule could be the Rebels' best friend.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... WR Dexter McCluster will be a key cog in special teams as well as the offense. He may not be one of the top two receivers on the depth chart, but his skill set fits where Darren McFadden did in Houston Nutt's offense. That offers the opportunity to explode on the scene.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... Mississippi could pull a couple of upsets in SEC play and take care of their business. If that happens, the schedule could allow a surprising 8-4 season.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... On the other hand, maybe all the talent will not work with Nutt in his first year and the rebuilding will continue. If Mississippi drops a couple of unexpected games, they could fall to 2-10.
MAKE OR BREAK: The key will be how quickly the offense adapts to the crazy Houston Nutt system. Nutt can really confound opposing SEC coaches if he has enough talent, and that will be where to watch the Rebels in 2008.

Mississippi State

OFFENSE: The offense was so bad last year, the defense was the main reason anything ever got done on this side of the ball. QB Wesley Carroll will be better as a sophomore, but he is a far cry from the rest of the league. Anthony Dixon will keep things moving in the running game again.
DEFENSE: The defense will be rock-solid again this year, keeping the Bulldogs in bowl game contention. FS Derek Pegues is one of the best in the conference, and he is surrounded by plenty of talent in the backfield. The only real question mark will be replacing a couple of defensive linemen, but there should be few problems on this side of the ball.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The special teams will also be solid again this year, as both PK Adam Carlson and P Blake McAdams are seniors. Each was decent last season and will be called on to help the offense get out of sticky situations again.
COACHING: After struggling to nine wins in three seasons, Slyvester Croom finally turned things around at 8-5 in 2007. Look for another good season and established success with the solid defense.
SCHEDULE: The schedule is the best in the west, as the Bulldogs miss both Florida and Georgia. LSU, Tennessee, and Alabama will be tough road tests, but the road to a bowl game is pretty straightforward.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... FS Derek Pegues has a chance to vault himself into a Top-10 pick in the pro draft with a solid season this year. He picked off five passes last year and may live up to those numbers again in 2008.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... The absolute best case scenario would include an upset win or two on the road in SEC play. With the easy-as-pie schedule and the strong defense, Croom could out-do his best and end up 10-2.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... On the other hand, the defense may collapse this year if the offense continues to put them in a bad spot. If this happens, Croom will return to the cellar with a 4-8 finish.
MAKE OR BREAK: The defense and special teams are there, and this team should make a bowl game. Still, the question is whether the offense can produce enough to truly challenge Auburn and LSU in important division battles. If so, the sky is the limit for the Bulldogs.

South Carolina

OFFENSE: The offense has many holes to fill, including quarterback and running back. The good news is that there's plenty of competition for both spots. As for the line and supporting players, this should be a slow developing process for a young unit.
DEFENSE: The defense should finally live up to expectations and slow opposing running attacks in 2008, but it still may not be enough to carry the team. LB Eric Norwood and DE Cliff Matthews switched spots from last year and it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Coach Spurrier likes to have good kickers, and SC has one of the best in PK and P Ryan Succop. Succop has had some bumps as a starter, but should be clutch this year.
COACHING: Steve Spurrier is still one of the best, even though he's working with far less talent than he had when he won a national title with Florida. Still, Spurrier has a long leash and can keep South Carolina in bowl contention.
SCHEDULE: The home schedule is tough with Georgia, LSU, and Tennessee, but the real killers are the closing games at Florida and Clemson. Everything else is not that bad.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... CB Captain Munnerlyn is one of the best in the SEC and could shine in a conference with many solid number one receiving threats. Although the key will not be the backs on the defensive side, this could be a big year statistically.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... The schedule is pretty rough, so it is hard to imagine this team breaking an 8-4 mark even if everything works.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... The Gamecocks seem to play so inconsistently even under Spurrier. With that trend, a losing season is definitely a possibility. If everything falls apart, 4-8 could happen.
MAKE OR BREAK: The key word is consistency. Spurrier is not asking for greatness yet, but he would like to be able to predict what his team will do and that would help him coach his young players. If the consistency comes, SC could be good.

Tennessee

OFFENSE: Other than breaking in new QB Jonathan Crompton, the Volunteers only have a new scheme and a new coordinator to worry about. Tennessee will look a lot different with a spread offense and look for the division champions of 2007 to not just give up against the likes of Florida and Georgia.
DEFENSE: The defensive line was not great in 2007, and both ends need replaced now. This unit may be an addition by subtraction though, as the new guys may bring fresh talent missing the past couple years to this side of the ball.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Young kickers can be inconsistent, and the Volunteers hope PK Daniel Lincoln and P Chad Cunningham both improve in their sophomore seasons. This may be the most important unit on the team.
COACHING: Another SEC coach, another national title winner. It may be ten years since Philip Fulmer won a title at Tennessee, but the Volunteers have stayed competitive under his guidance. Fulmer is looking to defend the division title and should be competitive despite the tough east division in 2008.
SCHEDULE: The schedule is very frontloaded, with Florida, Georgia, and Auburn all in the first six. At least Florida is a home game at Neyland.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... LB Ellix Wilson stands out where the Volunteers need the most help, that being the middle of the defense. Look for Wilson to be a strong anchor who may eclipse 100 tackles easily this season.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... A win at Georgia probably will not happen, but Tennessee still has enough talent to go 11-1 and likely end up in the BCS again.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... If Tennessee has trouble getting things together in the front six, there may be some poor play in the final six games and Tennessee could drop all the way to 5-7 if disaster strikes.
MAKE OR BREAK: How quickly the Volunteers pick up on the new offense will likely dictate how far they go this season. While Tennessee will be showing other SEC a fresh look, the coaches hope this does not confound the Volunteer players as well.

Vanderbilt

OFFENSE: While the line is full of juniors, all five starters are gone. This will make things tougher yet again on whoever wins the quarterback job, most likely two-year starter Chris Nickson. Still, this unit will have trouble moving the ball on anyone in the SEC.
DEFENSE: The defense was pretty good last season, but the front seven are absolutely decimated by graduation. Watch for the new starters to have trouble keeping up with all the changing offensive schemes in the conference. At least the secondary is set.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Senior PK Bryant Hahnfeldt will try to improve on his mediocre numbers in 2007, while junior P Brett Upson will be the full-time punter this season. Both need to drastically improve to help the Commodores.
COACHING: Bobby Johnson is the odd man out in SEC coaches, and he may be nearing the end of the road in Vandy. His system works well with the academic school, but Vanderbilt can compete with the right coach and personnel.
SCHEDULE: It's always tough looking up from the bottom, and the schedule is not that easy for the Commodores. The only real winnable games come against Duke and Rice.
IMPACT/BREAKOUT PLAYER.... CB D.J. Moore had a great sophomore season and should help anchor a back line that is the best part of the Commodore team. He should have chances for quite a few interceptions and stops this season.
IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL.... This is going to be a long year in Tennessee. Vanderbilt at its very best should only muster 4-8.
IF THINGS DON'T GO SO WELL.... All twelve games are losable because no matter how big a train wreck Rice and Duke are, Vanderbilt can match them. 0-12 is definitely possible.
MAKE OR BREAK: The key will be making small steps toward improving the overall level of the program. Little positives like staying close in games and maybe pulling an upset or two would make this a pretty successful season.

PROJECTED STANDINGS

TEAM CONFERENCE OVERALL
EAST
Georgia 8-0 12-0
Tennessee 6-2 10-2
Florida 6-2 10-2
Kentucky 3-5 7-5
South Carolina 3-5 6-6
Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10
WEST
Auburn 6-2 9-3
LSU 5-3 9-3
Alabama 5-3 8-4
Mississippi State 4-4 8-4
Mississippi 2-6 5-7
Arkansas 0-8 2-10

PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE

OFFENSE
QB Tim Tebow Florida
RB Knowshon Moreno Georgia
RB Anthony Dixon Mississippi State
WR Percy Harvin Florida
WR Demetrius Bryd LSU
TE Cornelius Ingram Florida
OL Andre Smith Alabama
OL Herman Johnson LSU
OL Jonathan Luigs Arkansas
OL Tyronne Green Auburn
OL Michael Oher Mississippi
Honorable Mention Offense: QB Matthew Stafford (Georgia), WR Kenny McKinley (South Carolina)
DEFENSE
DL Greg Hardy Mississippi
DL Sen'Derrick Marks Auburn
DL Tyson Jackson LSU
DL Antonio Coleman Auburn
LB Brandon Spikes Florida
LB Dannell Ellerbe Georgia
LB Rico McCoy Tennessee
DB Derek Pegues Mississippi State
DB Erik Berry Tennessee
DB D.J. Moore Vanderbilt
DB Captain Munnerlyn South Carolina
Honorable Mention Defense: DL Ricky Jean Francois (LSU), DB Rashad Johnson (Alabama)
SPECIAL TEAMS
K Colt David LSU
P Ryan Shoemaker Auburn
KR Brandon James Florida
PR Javier Arenas Alabama
Honorable Mention Special Teams: PK Wes Byrum (Auburn)
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year:
RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year:
LB Brandon Spikes, Florida
Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year:
PK Colt David, LSU
Preseason Newcomer of the Year:
RB Chris Rainey, Florida

FINAL THOUGHTS

This should be another great season for the SEC, and expect the champion of the league to be in Miami for the BCS Championship. Although much of the country is sick of the SEC playing Ohio State in these games, nobody in the SEC is complaining about national titles. Will the SEC go three in a row? Only time will tell, but the odds are certainly in favor of this.


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