Do you smell that? It smells like football is in the air.
SEC media days is in the books, and pads will start popping in just over a week when fall camps open around the country. So to hold you over until we have real, tangible practice reports to discuss, let's resume the Friday tradition of SEC Q&A after a week off recovering from Hoover.
Who will take the snaps in College Station? What should you make of Tennessee's quarterback situation? What are the must-win games for LSU? Take a look at this week's SEC Q&A.
@BarrettSallee Do you think Coach Sumlin will play both QBs Allen and Hill, or select one starter and stick with him until proven otherwise?— aggiedave (@aggiedave) July 25, 2014
No. Ideally, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin will choose either sophomore Kenny Hill or true freshman Kyle Allen for the No. 1 job and let the winner run with it unless he fails miserably or gets hurt.
Who that quarterback should be has changed frequently for me this offseason. First, I was aboard the Allen bandwagon, then I started thinking that Hill gives the offense a little more stability because he's similar in stature and skill set to former dual-threat stud Johnny Manziel.
Now, I'm back in the Allen camp.
After talking to Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com and some other folks in Hoover at SEC media days, it seems like all the momentum is with the true freshman from Scottsdale, Arizona. That, coupled with Sumlin's refusal to discuss the quarterback position, makes me lean his way.
"I didn't come here today to tell you who the quarterback was going to be, so we can eliminate those questions," he said. "That will play itself out. I think we're looking at a couple weeks before we play South Carolina that we'll name a starter."
That will give Allen plenty of time to win the job.
The only caveat is, if Allen wins the job, Hill may have an impact in certain packages that are designed for him to take advantage of his dual-threat capabilities. That's the only way I see them both playing unless the winner tanks or gets hurt.
@BarrettSallee How about Tennessee's QB situation? Should Butch Jones be concerned?!— Phil Webber (@61Webhead) July 22, 2014
He shouldn't be concerned quite yet.
Jones had four quarterbacks in the spring, and he had essentially narrowed it down to two—Justin Worley and Riley Ferguson—prior to the spring game. Sophomore Joshua Dobbs had a fantastic spring game, and Ferguson reportedly left the program, so the battle is still essentially between two guys, which is a departure from last season when a four-man battle went deep into fall camp.
While contenders played musical chairs, Worley stayed in the mix. I expect him to win the job. Tennessee has a completely new offensive line, so it's not unreasonable to expect some breakdowns. When that happens, having Worley—a senior who has been around the block a time or two—will be invaluable.
He doesn't have the same upside as some of the others, but he knows when to throw it away and when to check down, which will be very important for this Vols team.
Now, if August 15 rolls around and there's still no clarity, then maybe it'll be time worry. The last thing Jones needs is for another quarterback battle to drag on late into fall camp because then, No. 1 reps are getting taken away from the eventual winner.
CesLSU (@ceslsu) July 25, 2014
I'm assuming you mean for LSU, and it's definitely the Mississippi State game in Death Valley on September 20.
I know, I know. Wisconsin is the opener, and LSU absolutely has to win that one.
Well, for national title purposes, maybe. But winning the SEC, as I wrote earlier this month, is the more important part of that equation because I feel the committee will put far too much emphasis on conference championships.
Because of that, LSU—particularly the LSU offense—needs to get off to a good start against a Mississippi State team that returns 19 of 22 on its defensive two-deep and should be able to give the new-look Tiger offense a major test in late September.
That's a tricky game for LSU, and if it goes south, the rest of the season could follow in a hurry.
Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC Lead Writer Barrett Sallee on Twitter at @BarrettSallee. If your question wasn't answered this week, it has been saved and could be used in the future.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings are courtesy of 247Sports, and all stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com.