2010 College Football Predictions: Where Will SEC Teams Finish?
A team from the SEC has won the last four BCS National Championships and six out of 12 in all, and those of us who are fans of SEC teams will let those of you who aren't know about it. Okay, maybe we do go overboard with the chest pumping, but at least one of our teams are winning when we do.
As it is every year, August is trash talking month. Everyone is undefeated, and everyone believes their team, with a few lucky breaks, can make a run at a championship. The SEC has been top heavy the past two seasons with Florida and Alabama each taking home a conference and BCS national championship.
I cannot remember when the last time a team has won back to back SEC championships (and I am not going to look it up because I personally do not care), so everyone's easy pick, defending national champion, Alabama should be viewed as a long shot, right?
Florida, last year's favorite to take home the crown, made it all the way through to the SEC championship game before falling to eventual national champion, Alabama. The Gators are the favorite to represent the Eastern Division in Atlanta. While there is no questioning Florida's talent, can the leaders like Tebow, Spikes, and Haden be replaced?
Last season, I did fairly well, and if anyone would like verification, they can find the article in my archives. I nailed my upset of the conference (Mississippi St over Ole Miss), as well as both division winners (Alabama and Florida). I would definitely be content with a repeat of last season's results where my biggest miss was Georgia at 10-2, but the Dawgs did finish second in the East where I had them.
*Photo courtesy of ballhype.com
SEC East Sixth place
When Bobby Johnson unexpectantly stepped down as the head coach of the Commodores, I said to mayself, "Well, there goes any chance Vandy had."
Then I realized that this is Vandy, and they never had a chance to begin with. As much as I would love to see new coach Robbie Caldwell succeed, it is just not likely to happen.
Players to Watch:
#10 QB Larry Smith - Smith is one of the better dual threat QB's in the SEC if you ignore his passing stats. Just kidding. However, if Vandrebilt is going to make a push at a Bowl game in 2010, Smith is going to have to do better than 42% completions.
#13 MLB Chris Marve - If there ever was a reason to pull for an individual player, it would be Chris Marve. He will more than likely lead the SEC in tackles due to the amount of time Vandy's defense will be on the field (complete some passes, Smith! Keep the clock moving at least.) Marve will more than likely be playing on Sunday next season, so don't feel too bad for him.
If everything falls into place and Vanderbilt is able to pull of some upsets, I could see them finishing 6-6 (2-6 in the SEC).
If the wheels fall off, 1-11 (0-8).
I predict Vanderbilt will finish 1-11 (0-8). When a team has to replace a coach a month before spring practice begins, the wheels have fell off.
9/4 Northwestern (L)
9/11 LSU (L)
9/18 @Ole Miss (L)
10/2 @UConn (L)
10/9 Eastern Michigan (W)
10/16 @ Georgia (L)
10/23 South Carolina (L)
10/30 @Arkansas (L)
11/6 Florida (L)
11/13 @Kentucky (L)
11/20 Tennessee (L)
11/27 Wake Forest (L)
*photo from sportsblink.com
SEC East Fifth Place
Rich Brooks has the Wildcats in four consecutive bowls, but Brooks turned over the keys to coach in waiting Joker Phillips. The cupboard is far from bare, and many people who know a heck of a lot more than I do have Kentucky as the sleeper in the SEC. The out of conference schedule is favorable with the only true challenge coming from in state rival Louisville. The Wildcats also have a fortunate (well, as fortunate as a team can get) interdivisional draw, as they play Ole Miss, Auburn and Mississippi St from the West Division.
Players to Watch:
Randall Cobb may be the most explosive player in the SEC. If QB Mike Hartline (or Sophmore Morgan Newton) can get the ball to Cobb in space, he is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. While Cobb will officially be listed as a WR, he will also line up as RB to spell starter Derrick Locke. When Kentucky runs the Wildcat, it will Cobb who receives the snaps.
On the other side of the ball LB Danny Trevathan will lead the way. Trevathan is the Wildcats leading returning tackler and will play the weak side where he can utilize his speed.
If the experts are correct and everything goes Kentucky's way, I could see the Wildcats finishing 9-3 (5-3 in the SEC).
The worse I could see the Wildcats ending is 3-9 (0-8).
I am not as optimistic about the Wildcats as the experts. I have Kentucky ending with a 5-7 (1-7) record. This would end the four year bowl streak for the Wildcats.
9/4 @ Louisville (W)
9/11 Western Kentucky (W)
9/18 Akron (W)
9/25 @ Florida (L)
10/2 @ Ole Miss (L)
10/9 Auburn (L)
10/16 South Carolina (L)
10/23 Georgia (L)
10/30 @ Mississippi St (L)
11/6 Charleston Southern (W)
11/13 Vanderbilt (W)
11/27 Tennessee (L)
*photo from sportsblink.com
SEC East Fouth Place
It has been awfully quiet in Knoxville this off season. No accusations of other coaches cheating, no recruits told they will be pumping gas if they choose to attend South Carolina. Oh yeah, and Lane Kiffin took his Barnumesque act to Los Angeles to be the lightning rod for the Trojans. Derek Dooley, son of legendary Georgia Bulldogs coach Vince Dooley, takes over for the Vols. The amount of class in Knoxville shot through the roof.
As much as I would like to blame Kiffin for the lack of depth in Knoxville, some of the blame falls on former coach Phil Fulmer and the hundreds of arrests in the final months of the Lane Kiffin era.
Players to Watch:
The Vols are not quite settled on a QB for the upcoming season. It seems the race is down to JuCo transfer Matt Simms and Freshman Tyler Bray. Regardless of the name on the back of the jersey, the bulk of the offense will come from Junior RB Tauren Poole since the highly regarded Bryce Brown has left school and asked to be released from his scholarship.
The defense will be lead by Sophmore S Janzen Jackson, who started several games last season as a Freshman. It will be up the Jackson to fill the enormous void left when super stud Eric Berry took his game to the NFL.
It is hard to wish Dooley to fail. Afterall, the man whom Dooley replaced made it so easy to hate him. As an Alabama fan, I truly wish Dooley much success with the exception of the third Saturday in October (yes, I know the game will be played on the fourth Saturday in October). Even with a little luck, the best I can see the Vols is 9-3 (5-3).
The worst case senario would have the Vols finishing 2-10 (0-8).
Oregon, followed by Florida. Catch a break with UAB, then at LSU and at Georgia. A bye week before Alabama and at South Carolina. That is a brutal stretch. November should bring some relief, as well as some much needed wins for Dooley and his team. I have Tennessee at 6-6 (3-5) and perhaps a Music City Bowl bid. for their efforts.
9/4 Tennessee-Martin (W)
9/11 Oregon (L)
9/18 Florida (L)
9/25 UAB (W)
10/2 @LSU (L)
10/9 @Georgia (L)
10/23 Alabama (L)
10/30 @South Carolina (L)
11/6 @Memphis (W)
11/13 Ole Miss (W)
11/20 Vanderbilt (W)
11/27 Kentucky (W)
*photo from sportscrack.com
SEC East Third Place
I have never bought into Steve Spurrier as the Gamecocks head coach. Ever since he took over, the Gamecocks have been every experts darkhorse to win the conference; however, they have not done so yet, and 2010 will be no different.
On the bright side, I do see a very successful season for Spurrier's Gamecocks. The biggest non-conference challenge once again comes from in-state rival Clemson, a road game. The other road challenges will be at Auburn and at Florida.
Players to Watch:
Naturally, the key to any Spurrier team is the QB and I believe the Gamecocks have a good one in Stephen Garcia. This will be his third season under center for USC East, and if nothing else, Garcia has proven to be as tough as nails in the previous two seasons. When Garcia has time, Sophmore WR Alshon Jeffery will make opponents pay. He pulled in 46 receptions in his freshman season. I'll be watching Freshman RB Marcus Lattimore, who passed on the opportunity to play in Gus Malzahn's run happy spread to play in Spurrier's Fun-N-Gun and the hometown Gamecocks.
Defensively, safety Chris Culliver makes the move to CB for his senior season. Culliver is also the all-time leader in kickoff return yardage in school history.
The talent is in place for a special season in Columbia, and while it is highly unlikely, the Gamecocks have the potential to win each game on their schedule.
The worst case senario would have the Gamecocks at 4-8 (1-7) and Spurrier run out of town.
I am going out on a limb and predicting a 9-3 (5-3) season for the Gamecocks. I have the Gamecocks pulling one of my major upsets of the 2010 season when Alabama visits on 10/9. Bama will be coming from a physical game with the Gators in Tuscaloosa while the Gamecocks will be resting during the bye week.
9/2 Southern Miss (W)
9/11 Georgia (L)
9/18 Furman (W)
9/25 @Auburn (L)
10/9 Alabama (W)
10/16 @Kentucky (W)
10/23 @Vanderbilt (W)
10/30 Tennessee (W)
11/6 Arkansas (W)
11/13 @Florida (L)
11/20 Troy (W)
11/27 @Clemson (W)
*photo from sportsblink.com
SEC East Second Place
With half of last season's players in the NFL, and the other half in jail, just kidding. Although the Gators did lose a lot of talent to the NFL, there is no shortage of talent in Gainsville. Coach Urban Meyer will now have to develop a new bromance with RS Sophmore QB John Brantley, who patiently waited in the wings until Super Tim took his game to the NFL.
Players to Watch:
John Brantley, who takes over for Tim Tebow, made the most of his playing time in his two season behind Tebow, completing 71 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns and only one interception.
The only concern is the lack of proven playmakers in the passing game. The holes left by TE Aaron Hernandez and WR Riley Cooper won't be easily filled, but speedster (couldn't I say this about every Gator receiver?) Deonte Thompson should emerge as the number one target for Brantley.
On the defensive side of the ball the Gators lose Joe Haden and LB Brandon Spikes, and somewhere in Georgia there are a pair of thankful eyes. Zing! However, the secondary still has planty of dominate playmakers lead by Janoris Jenkins and Will Hill.
Florida is the heavy favorite to win the East Division for the third consecutive season. I think Florida is due for a down year. There is not a game on their schedule that they cannot win so I would not be terribly surprised if Florida went 12-0 (8-0).
Even if the wheels fall off the Gator bandwagon, I still see them finishing 7-5 (4-4) at the very worst.
I have the Gators in second place with a record of 10-2 (6-2) in 2010. One knows a team has reached elite status when 10-2 is considered a rebuilding or "down" year.
9/4 Miami, (Ohio) (W)
9/11 South Florida (W)
9/18 @Tennessee (W)
9/25 Kentucky (W)
10/2 @Alabama (L)
10/9 LSU (W)
10/16 Mississippi St (W)
10/30 Georgia# (L)
11/6 @Vanderbilt (W)
11/13 South Carolina (W)
11/20 Appalachian St. (W)
11/27 Florida St. (W)
# neutral site game in Jacksonville, Fl
*photo from free-extras.com
SEC East First Place
I am a huge fan of Mark Richt. There is not a nicer coach in the country. Despite all of his niceness, Richt still has his detractors because of the past two seasons. Most schools would love to post an 18-8 record over two seasons. That is unexceptable between the hedges. I believe a lot of the losses can be attributed to injuries along the offensive line, and an unusally pourous defense. Todd Grantham of Dallas Cowboy fame brings in the 3-4 for the 2010 season and a new attitude to boot.
Players to Watch:
Highly rated QB RS Freshman Aaron Murray will be taking the snaps behind the most experienced offensive line in the SEC. If the line can avoid injuries, Murray should have plenty of time to throw the ball down field to the best receiver in the SEC, AJ Green. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King could both top the 1,000 yard mark, which would take the pressure off of Murray.
Nick Williams, a LB converted to S will have the speed and size to shut down tight ends in the passing game as well as be a forcce in the running game. A foot injury has slowed LB Akeem Dent who will be expected to replace Rennie Curran.
Georgia has as much talent as anyone in the SEC. All of their games are winnable.
If the injury bug bites the Dawgs and the players do not respond to Grantham's 3-4 scheme, Georgia could end up at 6-6 (3-5) and Richt would definitely be on the hot seat.
I have Georgia winding up at 11-1 (7-1) in 2010 with the lone loss coming to long time rival Auburn. I am also predicting a Bulldog conference championship as well. I am not going to make that final jump and predict a Bulldog national championship, but if Georgia is sitting at 12-1 following the SEC championship, it would be hard for the voters to leave them out of the BCS national title game.
9/4 UL-Lafayette (W)
9/11 @South Carolina (W)
9/18 Arkansas (W)
9/25 @Mississippi St. (W)
10/2 @Colorado (W)
10/9 Tennessee (W)
10/16 Vanderbilt (W)
10/23 @Kentucky (W)
10/30 Florida# (W)
11/6 Idaho St. (W)
11/13 @Auburn (L)
11/27 Georgia Tech (W)
# neutral site game played in Jacksonville, FL
* photo from georgiafansite.com
SEC West Sixth Place
In his second season, Coach Dan Mullen is looking to improve on a 5-7 season and get the Bulldogs to a Bowl game. I do not see it happening this season. In fact, I have the Bulldogs taking a step back in 2010. However, the future is a bright as a polished cowbell in Starkville. A large portion of the two-deep is made up of Sophmores.
Players to Watch:
Junior QB, #14 Chris Relf will be one of the top dual threat QB's in the SEC. Last season while relieving Tyson Lee, Relf rushed for 500 yards. Relf will need to work on his accuracy as he was barely over 50 percent completions in 2009. He tossed 5 touchdowns and ran for 2 more.
When Relf is throwing the ball, more than likely Sophmore Chad Bumphis will be on the other end. Bumphis lead the Bulldogs with 32 receptions in 2009, and he will need to be a big play threat for the Mississippi St in 2010. Junior RB Robert Elliot appears to be the heir apparent to Anthony Dixon, who rushed for nearly 1400 yards in 2009.
Sophmore defensive tackles Josh Boyd (6'-3" 295 lbs) and Fletcher Cox (6'-4" 300) will anchor a solid defensive unit. Both Boyd and Cox were rated 4 star recruits by Rivals.com, and both are expected to make an impact in 2010.
Dan Mullen has the Bulldogs headed in the right direction, but the SEC West is one of the most competitive divisions in all of college football. A great season would have the Bulldogs finishing 7-5 (3-5).
The Bulldogs played the most difficult schedule in the nation last season, and this season is no picnic either. The SEC West teams, Florida and Georgia from the East., Memphis and Houston out-of-conference? If the Bulldogs let up, they could easily end up 1-11 (0-8).
I see the Bulldogs ending up at 4-8 (1-7). I believe the talent is there, but they are a year away from a Bowl game. Keep the faith, and ring those cowbells loudly, Starkvillians, better days are ahead.
9/4 Memphis (W)
9/9 Auburn (L)
9/18 @LSU (L)
9/25 Georgia (L)
10/2 Alcorn St. (W)
10/9 @Houston (L)
10/16 @Florida (L)
10/23 UAB (W)
10/30 Kentucky (W)
11/13 @Alabama (L)
11/20 Arkansas (L)
11/27 @Ole Miss (L)
*photo from sportsblink.com
SEC West Fifth Place
Houston Nutt has posted an impressive (get ready Richt haters and supporters) 18-8 record in his 2 seasons in Oxford. With the original Wild Rebel, Dexter McCluster and the horribly inconsistent Jevan Snead gone (can someone tell me why Snead passed on his Senior year? Talk about bad advice!), Nutt's offense needed a jolt. Enter Oregon computer thief, err, I mean QB Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli would have been on everyone's Heisman watch list if he was able to stay in Eugene. With no spring practice and just a month of camp, here is the question: Can Masoli learn the offense well enough to be effective in the SEC?
Players to Watch:
Duh! All eyes will be on Senior transfer Jeremiah Masoli. He was less than impressive in the Ducks Rose Bowl loss to the Buckeyes. It is hard to imagine, but the majority of the Rebels offense came from power sets and not from the spread. McCluster took the snaps in the Wild Rebel, while Snead handled the pro sets. Can Masoli do both for the Rebels? Will the Nutty One use two QBs? Regargless of who takes the snaps, the Rebels need a big season from RB Brandon Braden, who racked up 600+ yards last season.
Defensively, the Rebels lose Marcus Tillman and Patrick Trahan as well as 3 out of the 4 starters in the secondary. The good news is S Johnny Brown is back for his Senior season along with fellow Seniors DE Kentrell Lockett, DTs Jerrell Powe and Lawon Scott, and LBs Jonathan Cornell and Allen Walker. The Ole Miss front seven is as good as anyone's front seven in the SEC, which will help the young secondary.
If Masoli and Nutt can get everyone on not only the same page but also the right page, I could see Ole Miss finishing 9-3 (5-3).
Thanks to a very weak OOC schedule, the Rebels should finish no worse than 4-8 (1-7).
I have Ole Miss taking a minor step back in 2010 with a 7-5 (3-5) finish. Still good enough for a Bowl bid though. I am thinking Independence Bowl for the Rebels.
9/4 Jacksonville St. (W)
9/11 @Tulane (W)
9/18 Vanderbilt (W)
9/25 Fresno St. (W)
10/2 Kentucky (W)
10/16 @Alabama (L)
10/23 @Arkansas (L)
10/30 Auburn (L)
11/6 UL-Lafayette (W)
11/13 Tennessee (L)
11/20 LSU (L)
11/27 Mississippi St. (W)
*Photo from oxfordmississippi.com
SEC West Fourth Place
Bobby Petrino's Razorbacks are everyone's trendy pick to win the SEC, and I was among them hyping the Razorbacks until I started researching for this article. Sorry to piss in your cereal Razorback fans, but I am not buying the Ryan Mallett hype just yet. I'll explain that in the next section. The defense was also horrible last season, and that will not cut it in the SEC.
Players to Watch:
All World QB Ryan Mallett wowed the SEC last season to the tune of 3500+ yards and 30 tds, but a closer look at his stats is very telling. In true road games, Mallett stat line reads like a horror novel. No 300 yard games, only four touchdown passes, less than 40 percent completions, and the scariest stat? How about ZERO wins? In Mallett's defense, those road games were against Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, and LSU, and he did have a good game against Texas A&M (neutral site game @Jerryworld) throwing four touchdowns. The bad news for Arkansas fans are three of those four teams will bring great defenses to Fayetteville in 2010. Mallett is going to need to be sharp at home and on the road.
In 2009, Arkansas's defense couldn't stop a car with no wheels. Petrino forced teams to throw the ball by stacking eight men in the box. He did this because he believed no team could win a shootout against his team. That strategy may have worked at Louisville against Big East opponents, but it will not fly in the SEC. There are 19 upperclassmen in the two-deep, so there is plenty of experience. The Hawgs need some playmakers to develop to take the pressure off of Mallett and the offense.
The Razorbacks schedule seems to be favorable, and if Mallett can step his game up, the Hawgs could finish with an 11-1 (7-1) record.
The worst I see Arkansas ending is 6-6 (3-5) due to their favorable SEC schedule (Miss St, Vandy) and weak OOC schedule (Tenn Tech, La-Monroe, UTEP), which gets them into a bowl game at least.
I am not sold on Mallett or Petrino yet. I have Arkansas finishing 7-5 (3-5). At least it will be good enough for a bowl game.
9/4 Tennessee Tech (W)
9/11 Louisiana-Monroe# (W)
9/18 @Georgia (L)
9/25 Alabama (L)
10/9 Texas A&M## (W)
10/16 @Auburn (L)
10/23 Ole Miss (W)
10/30 Vanderbilt (W)
11/6 @South Carolina (L)
11/13 UTEP (W)
11/20 @Mississippi St. (L)
11/27 LSU (L)
# neutral site game at War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock, AR
## neutral site game at Cowboys Stadium (Jerryworld) in Dallas, TX
*photo from findallsports.com
SEC West Third Place
When Auburn hired Gene Chizik, I laughed my butt off. Who's laughing now? All Chizik did was everything Lane Kiffin said he was going to do, well, besides sing Rocky Top all night after beating Florida. Chizik never once made a jackass out of himself to get noticed. He just quietly put together a great staff and worked his butt off. Despite the loss of Ben Tate, offensive guru Gus Malzahn's offense seems primed to "trickeration" Auburn's opponents to death in 2010. There is much more depth on the defense compared to 2009, so expect the Tigers to return to the top of the SEC's defenses as well.
Players to Watch:
Florida transfer, QB Cam Newton takes over Malzahn's offense and adds a dimension that Chris Todd could not provide. Newton is as stout as a tree trunk and as fast as a large cat of prey. He has drawn comparisons to Jamarcus Russell which can be good if it is the LSU Jamarcus or bad if it is the Oakland Raiders version. Darvin Adams will be the Auburn's big play guy and he is among the elite receivers in the SEC. RBs Onterio McCaleb and Mario Fannin will probably get the majority of the carries along with the highly recruited Freshman Michael Dyer.
Auburn was handcuffed last season due to a lack of depth on defense. Chizik couldn't even use his 3-4 defense because Auburn only had three healthy LBs. The stars should be on the defensive line where Senior DEs Antoine Carter and Michael Groggins plan to meet each other at the opposing team's quarterback.
I could see Auburn winning all of their games if things fell into place, but I could also see Auburn finishing 5-7 (2-6) if the wheels fall off of the wagon.
I have the Tigers season culminating with a 10-2 (6-2) record and perhaps consideration for a BCS Bowl.
9/4 Arkansas St. (W)
9/9 @Mississippi St. (W)
9/18 Clemson (W)
9/25 South Carolina (W)
10/2 Louisiana-Monroe (W)
10/9 @Kentucky (W)
10/16 Arkansas (W)
10/23 LSU (L)
10/30 @Ole Miss (W)
11/6 Chatanooga (W)
11/13 Georgia (W)
11/26 @Alabama (L)
*Photo from auburn.edu
SEC West Second Place
Alabama picked up #13 last season following the BCS Championship Game against Texas, and the talent is in place to grab #14 in 2010. Alabama has won 16 straight regular season SEC games. While talent and great coaching goes a long way, injuries and luck will eventually factor into a season. Coach Nick Saban got everyone to buy into the process and Alabama overcame injuries with great depth en route to the national championship. Oh, did I mention that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram, the first in Alabama's storied history, will be back with potentially two shots at joining Archie Griffin of Ohio State as the only two time winner.
Players to Watch:
The offense is filled with returning All-American and All-SEC quality players. QB Greg McElroy has won every start since he was two years old. Coach Nick Saban says he will open up the offense in 2010, which means Julio Jones should get more touches this season. Have I mentioned that the reigning Heisman winner, Mark Ingram is back? Joining the Heisman winner will be Sophmore Trent Richardson. Alabama could easily have two 1,000 yard rushers in 2010. The amount of playmakers on this squad is sick.
People out of the loop have been making a big deal out of the losses suffered by Alabama's defense to the NFL and graduation. Those in the know realize that there is more raw talent and athleticism on this defense. Retuning to the lineup after suffering a season ending knee injury, LB Dont'a Hightower will fill the role of leader played by Butkus winner Rolondo McClain last season. Junior S Mark Barron will need to be a leader in the secondary as the only returning starter. Keep your eyes on Sophmore CB Dre Kirkpatrick. He has Patrick Patterson type talent. If Marcell Dareus is cleared to play, he will be the best defensive lineman in the SEC. It will be a big loss if he can't play.
This is the most talented team in the country, bar none. If Saban gets everyone to buy into the process again, Alabama will be hard to beat.
If the injury bug strikes, and the defense doesn't gel, Alabama could slip all the way to 6-6 (3-5)
I have the season desisting at 10-2 (6-2) for 2010 with the losses coming @South Carolina in my upset of the season and in Baton Rouge where LSU will be laying in wait for the visiting Crimson Tide. Alabama will also be coming off of a bye week, but I think Death Valley will be the difference.
9/4 San Jose St. (W)
9/11 Penn St. (W)
9/18 @Duke (W)
9/25 @Arkansas (W)
10/2 Florida (W)
10/9 @South Carolina (L)
10/16 Ole Miss (W)
10/23 @Tennessee (W)
11/6 @LSU (L)
11/13 Mississippi St. (W)
11/20 Georgia St. (W)
11/26 Auburn (W)
*photo from amazon.com
SEC West First Place
Coach Les Miles is either known as the Mad Hatter or Less Smiles, depending on which Tigah fan one speaks with. As an Alabama fan, I really do not have a vote, but in my opinion, Les Miles was a victim of circumstance the past two seasons. The Ryan Perriloux Effect (thank you Henry Ball) was still being felt last season even though QB Jordan Jefferson made improvemnets. Bo Pelini's departure was also felt, but John Chavis has solidified the defense and there are no excuses for 2010. There are losses that are directly on Les Miles, and that is why I believe he will have the Tigahs on top form this season.
Players to Watch:
QB Jordan Jefferson is now a Junior and needs to be a leader on offense. There are loads of weapons available to Jefferson including Terrance Tolliver, another elite receiver in the SEC. Keep an eye on Russell Sheppard next season. He has been officially moved to receiver but still could take snaps in the Wildcat or even line up at RB when LSU spreads the field. Les Miles, a former offensive lineman at Michigan has a good one this season, and Junior RB Stevan Ridley could be the primary beneficiary if Miles returns to his three yards and a cloud of dust roots.
With Tennessee S Eric Berry moving on to the NFL, Junior CB Patrick Patterson becomes the best defensive player in the SEC. Patterson is a dynamic cover corner who is not afraid to get his nose dirty. A pair of Sophmore DEs, Lavar Edwards and Chancey Aghayere will look to provide the pass rush and Senior LB Kelvin Sheppard will anchor the front seven and lead the defense in 2010.
The LSU Tigers have as much talent as any team in the nation not named Alabama. The Bayou Bengals have some tough road games, but they are another team with the talent to go undefeated in 2010.
If the Less Smiles faction is right and there are more Ole Miss faux pas in 2010, LSU could slip down to 6-6 (4-4).
I have LSU representing the SEC West in Atlanta after achieving an 11-1 (7-1) mark in 2010 with the lone loss coming in the Swamp to the Florida Gators. I have the Tigahs losing the conference championship game to the Georgia Bulldogs. At 11-2, and coming out of the SEC, should land the Bayou Bengals a BCS Bowl game, and if Georgia is selected to play for the BCS championship, one would have to believe the Sugar Bowl committee would love to have the hometown Tigahs.
9/4 North Carolina# (W)
9/11 @Vanderbilt (W)
9/18 Mississippi St. (W)
9/25 West Virginia (W)
10/2 Tennessee (W)
10/9 @Florida (L)
10/16 McNeese St. (W)
10/23 @Auburn (W)
11/6 Alabama (W)
11/13 Louisiana-Monroe (W)
11/20 Ole Miss (W)
11/27 @Arkansas (W)
# neutral site game in Atlanta, GA
*Photo from sportscrack.com
Many Thank Yous
I did not just throw this article together, no really, I am that horrible of a writer. Anyways, I did my due dilligence in research. It is the least I can do.
I would like to thank all of the Bleacher Report feature columnists from the SEC teams. I am sure I have read at least one from each of you during my research.
There are a few who I would like to single out because I looked a little harder at these articles:
by Kimberly Nash, Georgia FC
The Czar of College Football, Henry Ball, LSU
by Jay Hendry, Florida FC
by Larry Burton, Alabama FC Roll Tide, LB!
by DJ Bachler, South Carolina FC
by Kevin McGrady, Auburn FC
Joel Barker, Tennessee FC
by Logan Daulton, Tennessee FC
by Jeb Williamson, Ole Miss FC
I also sourced espn.com and rivals.com for this article.
*Photo from nonprofituniversityblog.com
What Do You Think?
Agree? Disagree? I am curious.
* photo from inspiredservices.org.uk