The Southeastern Conference is regarded by many as one of the best conferences in college football. With annual national championship contenders Georgia, Florida, LSU, Auburn, and Tennessee strapping it up each year, it's hard to argue with that opinion.
The SEC had a great 2007, picking up a BCS National Championship (LSU), a Heisman Trophy (Tim Tebow), and posting a 7-2 record in bowl games.
The SEC offseason brought an onslaught of change with Atlanta Falcons Coach Bobby Petrino heading to Arkansas, former Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt on his way to Ole Miss, and top coordinators Bo Pelini of LSU and David Cutcliffe of Tennessee taking head coaching positions at Nebraska and Duke, respectively.
After all of the changes and the excitement about the upcoming 2008 season, I've compiled predictions and lists into my 2008 SEC Football Preview.
SEC Championship: Florida over Auburn
Top 5 SEC Matchups
5.) Florida vs. Tennessee - Urban Meyer isn't likely to be greeted warmly on his second trip to Knoxville as Florida's head coach. The Gators are coming off a 59-20 drubbing of the Volunteers in the Swamp last season and Tennessee is looking to get revenge on the Gators this year. As always, this game will bear heavily on the SEC East Championship Race.
Prediction: Florida 38 - Tennessee - 24
4.) Alabama vs. Auburn- The Iron Bowl. One of college football's most intense rivalries may determine who will represent the SEC West at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta come December. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide look to end a six-year losing streak to their archrivals.
Prediction: Auburn 24 - 'Bama 21
3.) Georgia vs. Tennessee - Georgia's last loss was Tennessee's 35-14 blowout victory in Knoxville a year ago. Phillip Fulmer and the Vols hope to duplicate that performance "between the hedges" in Athens this October. Georgia, a consensus national title pick, will be looking for a big win to move closer to their first national title since 1980.
Prediction: Georgia 38 - Tennessee - 20
2.) Georgia vs. Auburn - The south's oldest rivalry should add another spectacular chapter in this season's installment. A possible SEC Championship Game matchup, these two schools will leave everything on the field in what should be a great game. Although Auburn will be adjusting to two new coordinators, it shouldn't slow them down. Expect a very close game.
Prediction: Georgia 34 - Auburn 31
1.) Florida vs. Georgia - The World's Largest Outdoor...my bad! This year's rivalry game between the Gators and 'Dawgs could possibly be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Georgia fields arguably the best football team in the country, while the Gators return Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and a stacked offensive line and receiving corps. The Gators were embarrassed by Georgia's taunting celebrations last season and Coach Urban Meyer wants to make sure that Georgia has nothing to celebrate this time around. Look for fireworks and bad blood to boil over in Jacksonville.
Prediction: Florida 41 - Georgia - 37
Non-Conference Games to Watch
1. Georgia vs. Arizona State - Top 25 teams clash in Tempe, AZ. Georgia's first major test of the season.
Prediction: Georgia 34 - Arizona State - 24
2. LSU vs. Appalachian State - Can the Mountaineers pull off another phenomenal upset? Can the Bayou Bengals defend their national title?
Prediction: LSU 35 - Appalachian State - 17
3. Auburn vs. West Virginia- Two of the fastest teams in the nation face off in Morgantown. How will the Mountaineers fare after losing Coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan?
Prediction: Auburn 28 - West Virginia - 24
4. Alabama vs. Clemson - All eyes will be on Atlanta on the opening weekend of the 2008 season when these two Top 25 teams knock heads at the Georgia Dome.
Prediction: Alabama 34 - Clemson - 21
5. Florida vs. Hawaii- With the departure of Colt Brennan and June Jones, this matchup lost some luster, but should still be fun to watch.
Prediction: Florida 38 - Hawaii - 17