Friday, August 24, 2007

SEC Standings Predictions - SEC WEST

In recent years, the SEC West has morphed from a group of 6 average football teams to 2 haves, 2 sometimes haves, and 2 have nots. LSU won a title in 2003-04, and Auburn went undefeated and was somehow denied the chance for a national title appearance in 2004-05. This year, the conference's strongest chance for a national champion resides in the West, as do the two worst teams.
1) LSU
Les Miles still has his fair share of detractors despite his 22-4 (2-0 bowl games) record in his 2 seasons at LSU. Even after losing QB Jamarcus Russell as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, LSU has far and away the most talent of any team in the conference. A favorable schedule should make for a comfortable margin between them and...
2) Arkansas
Due to a shortage of space, I'll just say the offseason was a tumultuous one for HC Houston Nut and the Hogs. They do return a legitimate Heisman candidate in RB Darren McFadden and possibly the second best back in conference in Felix Jones. If they can get any consistency from the QB slot, Arkansas will again enjoy a successful year.
3) Auburn
With such an emphasis on special teams this year with the new kickoff system, it will be hard for Tigers to match their recent success. They return only 5 starters on offense, so senior QB Brandon Cox will be working behind a retooled OLine. The defense should be solid though, with 7 returning starters.
4) Alabama
The Crimson Tide are betting the farm that Nick Saban can revive their program in the same fashion he did for LSU just a few years back. The lofty expectations may be a year or two away though, but Saban is expected to win now. With 14 returning starters, the talent is in place to do it, but a 6th straight Iron Bowl loss will drop them to 4th in the West.
5) Ole Miss
Much-maligned HC Ed Orgeron is building this program piece by piece from ground level into one he thinks can compete year in and year out in the SEC. Unfortunately, for Rebel fans, this will not be the year they take the next step. Close losses last year give them some hope in 2007, but they’re still a year away from making some noise.
6) Mississippi State
To date, HC Sylvester Croom’s biggest accomplishment in 3 years at the helm of the Mississippi State’s program is the fact that he was the first black HC in the SEC. (Maybe you read or heard something about that a few years back) He took over a team decimated by probation and an overall lack of talent. While the talent has improved a little each year, it’s hard to see much improvement in the SEC.

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