This is fifth in a series of conference profiles as part of BCS Know How’s season preview. Today’s conference is the SEC.
Conference: Southeastern Conference (SEC)
Active Since: 1933
Current Member Schools: Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers, Vanderbilt Commodores, Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Louisiana State (LSU) Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels. (12)
Bowl Affiliations: Sugar Bowl (BCS), Music City Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl. (9)
Conference Champion – Alabama
Conference Runner-up – Florida
BCS Bowl Results: 2010 BCS National Championship Game – Alabama 37 vs. Texas 21; 2010 Sugar Bowl – Florida 51 vs. Cincinnati 24
Overall Bowl Record: 6-4
Heisman Vote Recipients: Alabama RB Mark Ingram (Heisman Recipient); Florida QB Tim Tebow (5th Overall)
2010 Outlook: Like clockwork, the SEC has supplied a contender in the BCS National Championship Game every year since the BCS moved to the five bowl game format at the end of the 2005 season. And even more impressive, the SEC has supplied the national championship each of these past four seasons. Can the most-feared conference in the country make it five in a row?
Any conversation about national title hopes would have to begin with the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are not only the defending BCS champions, but feature three potential Heisman trophy hopefuls, QB Greg McElroy, WR Julio Jones and defending Heisman recipient RB Mark Ingram. Last season this trio, along with a classic SEC-style attack of speed and power tore apart the SEC during the regular season, and then defeated the seemingly untouchable Tim Tebow in the SEC Championship Game on their way to a national title.
This season, although Tebow is gone to the NFL, the SEC continues to feature the great conference depth from top to bottom, making Alabama’s road to repeat as difficult as one might expect.
Traditional contenders Auburn and Georgia are on their way back to the top of college football after some sub par seasons, while SEC strongholds Florida and LSU continue to thrive despite losing skill all around the field every year to the NFL.
Florida will be hard pressed to replace Tebow and may struggle early with a new quarterback at the helm of the Gator offense. This may leave the SEC’s Eastern Division—the domain of Florida during the Tebow years—up for grabs. Georgia seems to be ready to make that move and return to the SEC Championship Game after an extended absence, led by wide receiver AJ Green.
Arkansas and QB Ryan Mallet will challenge for the Western Division crown, which Alabama and LSU have held to tightly the past few seasons—and the race there could go undecided until the final weekend, when LSU takes on Arkansas at the Razorback Stadium.
2010 Heisman Hopefuls: Alabama RB Mark Ingram; Georgia WR AJ Green; Alabama WR Julio Jones.
BCS Know How’s 2010 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Alabama Crimson Tide
Conference Runner-up – Georgia Bulldogs
BCS bids – Two: Alabama Crimson Tide – 2011 BCS National Championship Game; Georgia – Sugar Bowl
Heisman Finalists – Alabama RB Mark Ingram