Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2007 Preview: SEC

Best conference in college football. Any day of the week and twice on Saturday. It is tough to say when my Alma Mater plays just north of it and the Big Ten and Pac-10 both have some arguments (we will leave the Big 12 and the Big Least out of this discussion), but there is no more depth from top to bottom in any conference. Defending champs, possibly two other contenders, an all-star coach at a school with history, even a sleeper Heisman QB at KENTUCKY.

The conference divisions in the SEC make things incredibly interesting because there is a chance that two teams will come out of the conference with only one loss-to each other. The SEC championship game, in the past five years, has seen:

2002 #4 Georgia 30-3 #22 Arkansas

2003 #5 Georgia 13-34 #3 LSU

2004 #15 Tennessee 28-38 #3 Auburn

2005 #13 Georgia 34-14 #3 LSU

2006 #4 Florida 38-28 #8 Arkansas

Everyone but Georgia won their subsequent BCS game. Those winners make up 1 and two half national champs.

LSU is getting votes for the number one spot even though they lost the number one pick in last year's draft. Florida still has Tebow. Arkansas isn't even close to a shoe in with the Heisman runner up (and pre-season favorite) Darren McFadden. You want to talk about Any Given Saturday?

It's times like these that its disappointing to be from Mississippi. I'm a de facto Ole Miss fan after reading Michael Lewis's Blind Side, but how as the Egg Bowl turned into the Over Easy Bowl?

Kentucky has been pegged as the sleeper because of a signal caller being shelled out pre-season honors, including ESPN's 1st Team All American. Last year, Andre' Woodson's stats were extremely competitive in a league known for defense (3,515 yds, 31 TDs, 7 INTs). This year, he is older, wiser and has more targets. They play in the East and get to host Florida and LSU, missing games with Auburn and Alabama cross-divisionally. I don't expect them to sneak their way into the championship game, but a high ranking and a decent bowl are possible.

In the end, it comes down to the defending champs, a returning champ with his tail between his legs, stubborn LSU and an oft overlooked Auburn. LSU over Florida in the championship with both teams getting BCS dates.

Big 12 coming Friday...
Finally, I don't usually like to encourage this banter, but Doug's post the other day reminded me of an often circulated picture that explains Notre Dame fandom. I wish I knew its origin, because its fantastic, but I can't take credit for it:

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