Southern Ball, The SEC

This conference owns CBS on Saturdays and is arguably the most dominant conference in college football history. No, I’m not talking about the Mountain West, I’m talking about the SEC. Good, ole southern boys playing southern style football. Every program has a long line of excellence, and has been dominant at different points over the last century. Last year we saw Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide once again take home College Footballs ultimate crown. But do the Tide have enough in the tank to repeat? Let’s find out!

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First things first, Nick Saban is the best coach in all of college football. If you think differently, then you are probably a moron. The man led a team with Jake Coker as the QB to a title last year. Coker isn’t a Heisman trophy style QB, but he got the job done. When you think ‘Bama, you think hard-nosed run game and hard hitting defense. They boast both of those, even with no Derrick Henry in the backfield this season. Circle the matchup with LSU right now. I’m telling you that this could be the conference game of the year. Calvin Ridley is a big name receiver to watch, but with David Cornwell at QB, things could be different. That defense with Jeremy Pruitt at the helm also could be something to watch. That offense should be the same with Lane Kiffin still at the reigns. ‘Bama is the team to watch as the number one ranked team in the country. Look for their opener against USC live from the Colosseum.

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Speaking of circling games, let’s talk about the LSU Tigers. The Fighting Tigers are their real name which is astounding that people don’t know that. Sorry, weird fact for the day. Now LSU arguably has the best running back in all of college football, Leonard Fournette. Fournette was at once unstoppable last year. He was running for 100 yards in 26 seconds in some games last year. Then ‘Bama came along and broke Fournette’s spirit and was never the same. This kid will probably be a top 7 pick in next year’s draft, but he needs to prove himself big time in the big game. That proving ground is November 5th in Death Valley, when the Crimson Tide come to town. That will be the make or break game for LSU. This game will be another chess match of Saban vs. Les Miles, per usual, a battle of the ages. Who comes out on top?

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Mark Richt is no longer the head coach over in Athens, Georgia for the Georgia Bulldogs. Kirby Smart is the new man in charge for the dogs. Smart was the Defensive Coordinator for Alabama dating back to 2008. The man knows a thing or two about coaching a great defense. He certainly can turn this Georgia team around after last year’s disappointing finish. 10-3 record last season? Yes, but the Georgia faithful may consider that disappointing after what looked to be a promising season for the Bulldogs. Do I think Smart comes in and tears the roof off the house? I really don’t know. He’s got some big name recruits coming in, including the number one tight end and number one QB. But names only matter on paper, it’s how you play that wins you games. I’m not completely sold on Georgia just yet. The opening matchup with Larry Fedora’s North Carolina Tar Heels is where you can lay down the lumber for a successful season. Win that game at the Georgia Dome and you might be in business. Let’s see how Georgia is after that game and then we can discuss if the Bulldogs are a credible threat in the SEC.

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Before I hit you with my picks, I want to say a little bit about the Tennessee Volunteers. Butch Jones has been known to cost his team with boneheaded coaching moves. But with the signing of defensive coordinator Bob Schoop, the Vol’s might be singing a lot more of Rocky Top this season. The Vol’s have a stellar recruiting class, and arguably a Defensive Coordinator that could scheme a top 5 defense in the country. But again, names are just letters put together that make sense. I need action, and some sort of productivity on the field. If they can put it all together and make something happen, be ready for the return of the Vol’s. If not, Butch Jones could find himself on the hot seat. I think this team could be the one to show people that they aren’t a fluke and mean business. I really believe that this is the resurgence of the Vol’s program, but I already said that I need them to prove it to me, and I think they will.

SEC East

  1. Tennessee Volunteers 10-2 (6-2)
  2. Georgia Bulldogs 8-4 (5-3)
  3. Florida Gators 7-5 (4-4)
  4. Vanderbilt Commodores 6-6 (3-6)
  5. Missouri Tigers 5-7 (2-6)
  6. Kentucky Wildcats 5-7 (2-6)
  7. South Carolina 4-8 (1-7)

SEC West

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide 11-1 (7-1)
  2. LSU Fighting Tigers 10-2 (7-1)
  3. Texas A&M Aggies 9-3 (5-3)
  4. Ole Miss Rebels 8-4 (5-3)
  5. Arkansas Razorbacks 7-5 (4-4)
  6. Auburn Tigers 6-6 (3-5)
  7. Mississippi State Bulldogs 6-6 (2-6)

Championship

‘Bama over Tennessee in a close one, this could honestly be the game of the year.

Follow FI on Twitter @FIsports and on Facebook

-Jack Corsi (@corsi_light)

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