SEC Unit Rankings: Comparing Athlon & Lindy's

Will SheltonSenior Analyst ISeptember 27, 2016

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:

  AthlonLindy's
QB1FloridaFlorida
 2GeorgiaGeorgia
 3TennesseeAlabama
 4AlabamaOle Miss
 5AuburnAuburn
 6Ole MissTennessee
 7South CarolinaSouth Carolina
 8ArkansasLSU
 9Mississippi StateKentucky
 10KentuckyVanderbilt
 11VanderbiltArkansas
 12LSUMississippi State
    
  AthlonLindy's
RB1GeorgiaGeorgia
 2TennesseeTennessee
 3AuburnAuburn
 4Mississippi StateAlabama
 5FloridaLSU
 6LSUMississippi State
 7KentuckyFlorida
 8AlabamaKentucky
 9ArkansasSouth Carolina
 10South CarolinaOle Miss
 11Ole MissArkansas
 12VanderbiltVanderbilt
    
  AthlonLindy's
WR1FloridaFlorida
 2LSUTennessee
 3TennesseeLSU
 4South CarolinaSouth Carolina
 5GeorgiaGeorgia
 6Ole MissAlabama
 7AlabamaOle Miss
 8AuburnKentucky
 9VanderbiltAuburn
 10KentuckyArkansas
 11Mississippi StateMississippi State
 12ArkansasVanderbilt
    
  AthlonLindy's
OL1LSULSU
 2TennesseeAuburn
 3AlabamaAlabama
 4FloridaTennessee
 5AuburnFlorida
 6ArkansasArkansas
 7GeorgiaMississippi State
 8Ole MissOle Miss
 9KentuckyGeorgia
 10South CarolinaSouth Carolina
 11Mississippi StateKentucky
 12VanderbiltVanderbilt
    
  AthlonLindy's
DL1LSULSU
 2GeorgiaGeorgia
 3TennesseeAuburn
 4ArkansasOle Miss
 5FloridaTennessee
 6AuburnFlorida
 7AlabamaAlabama
 8KentuckyKentucky
 9Ole MissSouth Carolina
 10Mississippi StateMississippi State
 11South CarolinaArkansas
 12VanderbiltVanderbilt
    
  AthlonLindy's
LB1FloridaSouth Carolina
 2South CarolinaFlorida
 3GeorgiaGeorgia
 4LSUAuburn
 5TennesseeMississippi State
 6AuburnTennessee
 7AlabamaLSU
 8Mississippi StateAlabama
 9Ole MissOle Miss
 10ArkansasKentucky
 11VanderbiltArkansas
 12KentuckyVanderbilt
    
  AthlonLindy's
DB1Mississippi StateSouth Carolina
 2TennesseeMississippi State
 3South CarolinaTennessee
 4FloridaAuburn
 5VanderbiltAlabama
 6AuburnVanderbilt
 7KentuckyGeorgia
 8LSUFlorida
 9GeorgiaLSU
 10AlabamaKentucky
 11Ole MissOle Miss
 12ArkansasArkansas
    
  AthlonLindy's
ST1 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:

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