SEC Unit Rankings: Comparing Athlon & Lindy's

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SEC Unit Rankings:  Comparing Athlon & Lindy's

One of my favorite ways to kill time in the final weeks before football season is to dive into the multitude of preseason publications out there and see if I can learn something new or find that extra piece of information to help carry an argument.  While we've all got our own passionate opinions across the SEC landscape, sometimes it's good to hear from an objective source like these magazines to get a better feel for where your team really stands coming into the season.

So while thumbing first through Lindy's, and then Athlon, I came across their respective SEC Unit Rankings, which rank each of the 12 teams from top to bottom at each position (quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers & tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, and Lindy's ranks special teams) There are rankings for all the conferences in Athlon and the BCS conferences in Lindy's.

Here's a comparison of the two unit rankings:

    Athlon Lindy's
QB 1 Florida Florida
  2 Georgia Georgia
  3 Tennessee Alabama
  4 Alabama Ole Miss
  5 Auburn Auburn
  6 Ole Miss Tennessee
  7 South Carolina South Carolina
  8 Arkansas LSU
  9 Mississippi State Kentucky
  10 Kentucky Vanderbilt
  11 Vanderbilt Arkansas
  12 LSU Mississippi State
       
    Athlon Lindy's
RB 1 Georgia Georgia
  2 Tennessee Tennessee
  3 Auburn Auburn
  4 Mississippi State Alabama
  5 Florida LSU
  6 LSU Mississippi State
  7 Kentucky Florida
  8 Alabama Kentucky
  9 Arkansas South Carolina
  10 South Carolina Ole Miss
  11 Ole Miss Arkansas
  12 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
       
    Athlon Lindy's
WR 1 Florida Florida
  2 LSU Tennessee
  3 Tennessee LSU
  4 South Carolina South Carolina
  5 Georgia Georgia
  6 Ole Miss Alabama
  7 Alabama Ole Miss
  8 Auburn Kentucky
  9 Vanderbilt Auburn
  10 Kentucky Arkansas
  11 Mississippi State Mississippi State
  12 Arkansas Vanderbilt
       
    Athlon Lindy's
OL 1 LSU LSU
  2 Tennessee Auburn
  3 Alabama Alabama
  4 Florida Tennessee
  5 Auburn Florida
  6 Arkansas Arkansas
  7 Georgia Mississippi State
  8 Ole Miss Ole Miss
  9 Kentucky Georgia
  10 South Carolina South Carolina
  11 Mississippi State Kentucky
  12 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
       
    Athlon Lindy's
DL 1 LSU LSU
  2 Georgia Georgia
  3 Tennessee Auburn
  4 Arkansas Ole Miss
  5 Florida Tennessee
  6 Auburn Florida
  7 Alabama Alabama
  8 Kentucky Kentucky
  9 Ole Miss South Carolina
  10 Mississippi State Mississippi State
  11 South Carolina Arkansas
  12 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
       
    Athlon Lindy's
LB 1 Florida South Carolina
  2 South Carolina Florida
  3 Georgia Georgia
  4 LSU Auburn
  5 Tennessee Mississippi State
  6 Auburn Tennessee
  7 Alabama LSU
  8 Mississippi State Alabama
  9 Ole Miss Ole Miss
  10 Arkansas Kentucky
  11 Vanderbilt Arkansas
  12 Kentucky Vanderbilt
       
    Athlon Lindy's
DB 1 Mississippi State South Carolina
  2 Tennessee Mississippi State
  3 South Carolina Tennessee
  4 Florida Auburn
  5 Vanderbilt Alabama
  6 Auburn Vanderbilt
  7 Kentucky Georgia
  8 LSU Florida
  9 Georgia LSU
  10 Alabama Kentucky
  11 Ole Miss Ole Miss
  12 Arkansas Arkansas
       
    Athlon Lindy's
ST 1   Alabama
  2   Florida
  3   Tennessee
  4   LSU
  5   South Carolina
  6   Auburn
  7   Mississippi State
  8   Georgia
  9   Ole Miss
  10   Kentucky
  11   Arkansas
  12   Vanderbilt

So, just for fun, I thought I'd add up all the rankings for each team in the respective magazines, just to try and get a sense of how each team would stack up, top to bottom, on the whole.

The results were quite unexpected:

    Athlon Lindy's
1 Tennessee (20) Tennessee (31)
  2 Florida (21) Florida (32)
  3 Georgia (29) Auburn (36)
  4 LSU (34) Alabama (37)
  5 Auburn (39) Georgia (37)
  6 Alabama (46) LSU (38)
  7 South Carolina (47) South Carolina (46)
  8 Mississippi State (54) Mississippi State (60)
  9 Ole Miss (60) Ole Miss (62)
  10 Arkansas (61) Kentucky (74)
  11 Kentucky (63) Arkansas (83)
  12 Vanderbilt (72) Vanderbilt (88)

Tennessee - who didn't rank atop any of the individual unit rankings - had the best combined score when they were all put together in both Athlon and Lindy's. 

Does this mean the Vols are the best team in the SEC?  Not necessarily, as any preseason Top 25 will attest.  However, it would suggest that - at least according to these numbers - even though the Vols have no positions of total dominance, they also lack any glaring weaknesses.

As a Tennessee fan myself - and remember, these are Athlon & Lindy's numbers, not mine - I find hope in these numbers.  And sure, they don't really mean anything...but the idea that the Vols may not have any superstars, but are capable at every position, gives me a greater sense of anticipation for 2008. 

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