GLOVER COLUMN: Let’s talk SEC football rankings
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Following on the heels of the Southeastern Conference’s media days every year, rankings and preseason polls are released by various &8220;experts&8221; or a compilation of &8220;experts&8221; who decide they need to inform the public of their opinions (much as I am doing now).
For example, the Birmingham News released its Spring SEC Preview recently, which was composed of several such opinion driven pieces. Among which, and most interesting to me, was the publication’s ranking of what they perceived to be the strength of the SEC by team.
I am only concerned with the top seven teams (Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State were the bottom three, if you care). The teams ranked from best to worst were: LSU, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas and a tie between Alabama and South Carolina.
My first question is what were these folks smoking placing LSU of all teams at the top of the list? I might, stressing might, place them as high as third. And that is only if Arkansas’ Darren McFadden gets injured.
In my, I dare not say expert, opinion, LSU will be a mediocre team in the SEC. They face Alabama at Alabama, they face Auburn and to tell you the truth I don’t think it matters where anyone plays Auburn this season, they play a highly touted Virginia Tech early, Florida midway through the season and finish off with Arkansas, who I feel could be as good as a one lose team at the time.
And speaking of Auburn being able to play anywhere this season, where is the love for the program that has amassed 33 wins in three seasons and is third in the county in number wins during the same time period? Have people forgotten about the premier program in the SEC right now? I think this team has a chance to win the SEC outright, and I think people will recall that in the past five years the times that Auburn has shined is when they are getting no love from the media during the preseason (or heading into bowls when they are passed over for an obvious national championship bid). Tuberville, you got all the ingredients.
I can see Auburn even taking out Florida, a bunch that has lost its undisputed leader on offense. I hope Tebow can throw, because teams will get wise to the quarterback keeper, which it seems is all I have seen him run. I am not saying the group won’t fare well, I have them over LSU, but I don’t think a national championship is in the cards (of course I didn’t at the end of last season either).
Georgia Well Georgia is in my top three. They, much like Auburn, are underrated and seem to thrive when they are. They also have a great coach and are always ranked in recruiting. I think they will give Auburn a run for their money, but lose. I think they will give Florida a run for their money and win.
Arkansas is one team I don’t know about. I think Houston Nutt is a great coach, despite what a lot of people will say, but his team hasn’t seen the best of seasons. Darren McFadden has the ability to carry this team (see last year). I see them falling to Auburn for sure, maybe even Alabama. They will, however, finish higher than sixth in the SEC.
Tennessee, as always, is overrated. What difference has that program seen during the off season that makes the media run back to Fulmer’s sideline? I see an early win over California followed by a close victory, possibly involving overtime, over Southern Mississippi. They lose to Georgia, Florida, possibly South Carolina and possibly Alabama.
Speaking of South Carolina and Alabama, I think Alabama is about where they will end up in the SEC, possibly higher if Saban can beat the Bengals out of Baton Rouge at home, which I feel is about an even match up. South Carolina is in its third year under Spurrier, enough said. The ole ball coach is due a breakout season, but he is coaching at South Carolina. We’ll see how it works out.
Brandon Glover is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times. He can be reached by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.