* ESPN has a good read about the incredible track record of the 12 SEC football coaches. Undoubtedly, the SEC's prominence starts at the top. Some key points from Pat Forde:
• Five coaches who own national championship rings. They are Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee, Nick Saban of Alabama, Les Miles of LSU and Meyer himself.* Chris Low ranks the SEC 1-12. While there's not many surprises, something tells me the Tide Nation isn't impressed.
• A sixth, Auburn's Tommy Tuberville, whose team went 13-0 in 2004 but did not get a chance to play for the title.
• Two more -- Mark Richt of Georgia and Bobby Petrino of Arkansas -- who have had 12-win seasons capped off by BCS bowl victories.
Then there is Houston Nutt of Mississippi, who won 10 games two years ago at Arkansas. And Rich Brooks of Kentucky, who took Oregon to its first Rose Bowl in 37 years and became the first Wildcats coach to win consecutive bowls in 56 years. And Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom, who is merely the reigning SEC Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to their first bowl game since 2000. And Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson, who led Furman to the Division I-AA championship game.
* They're probably much happier with Stewart Mandel's "Potential Sleeper" picks. His Bama breakdown:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: In Saban, I trust. Yes, the Tide lost to Louisiana-Monroe last year. Yes, seemingly half their roster has been either injured or arrested this offseason. Still, I can't shake the feeling that Nick Saban will do exactly what he did in Year 2 at LSU: Throw a handful of his most touted freshmen on the field, turn up the intensity on defense and churn out nine or 10 wins.* Mandel also toots Bobby Johnson's horn, naming him the "Most underrated coach in the nation". Color me unimpressed. Every year, media and fans alike rave about Johnson and every year the 'Dores do nothing. It's similar to the praise Kirk Ferentz would get at Iowa a few years back. But hey, to each his own.
* After a long wait, Kige Ramsey's SEC picks are finally in and presented in a way even a simpleton can understand - MINI PLASTIC HELMETS! Warning: The suspense before the SEC Championship Game winner is announced may be too much for some viewers.