We are nearing the fall season. The time of year which SEC fans including myself look forward to year round. Classic rivalries, incredible student-athletes, and legendary stadiums makes for amazing football seasons year in and year out. But here are my pre-season predictions for 2008:
1. Georgia 10-2 (6-2)
I love Georgia's team this year. They are absolutely loaded with talent and experience on both sides of the ball. But they have lost a few players this year including starting Left Tackle Trinton Sturdivant due to injury, plus considering the difficulty of their schedule if they can finish the year with 1 or 2 losses only...that will be impressive.
2. Florida 10-2 (6-2)
Florida as well as Georgia could make a run at the BCS championship. As long as they have Tebow they will be winning a bunch of games.
3. Tennessee 9-3 (5-3)
This years Volunteers are definitely strong enough to take down one of the big dogs. I think Crompton will surprise people at QB and be a solid player. Their backfield is still strong and they return Lucas Taylor at receiver who I think will be a first teamer in the SEC this year.
4. South Carolina 7-5 (4-4)
Losing Blake Mitchell and Cory Boyd will be tough for this offense but with Spurrier at the helm they should pull through. Also they are basically returning their entire starting defense so they will still compete...Watch them early in the year against Georgia...Upset Pick!!!
5. Kentucky 7-5 (3-5)
Kentucky has to recover from losing several key offensive weapons. Hartline will be the new quarterback but he is very young and very inexperienced. They will have to rely on the running game with Derrick Locke and Tony Dixon in order to put points on the board. The defense is bringing back several starters but lost the leading tackler from the last two seasons in Wesley Woodyard.
6. Vanderbilt 4-8 (1-7)
Bobby Johnson is doing a great job in Nashville and I expect to see the Dores in a bowl in the next few years. But this year they are replacing the entire offensive line. So if they can steal a couple games in the SEC it will be a great success.
1. Auburn 9-3 (6-2)
Its hard to choose an absolute favorite in the West this year but I like Auburn. They have a fantastic running back in Brad Lester who will carry them offensively. The defense is always solid down there but grabbing Tony Franklin as Offensive Coordinator will make this team better.
2. Alabama 8-4 (5-3)
Julio Jones will make a huge impact this year. Mark it down. Nick Saban is recruiting well as expected and will have this team in the BCS in no time. The reason I don't like them winning the West is their road schedule: Clemson, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU. Winning two of those will be very tough.
3. LSU 7-5 (4-4)
I am anticipating a National Championship hangover for LSU. The question at quarterback really concerns me. I just don't see them having enough weapons to make up for it...and on defense Dorsey and Highsmith will be sorely missed.
4 Mississippi State 7-5 (4-4)
How about the job Sylvester Croom has done. They have become a solid contender in the SEC. Anthony Dixon will definitely impress this year. Their schedule is slightly favorable because they get to play Kentucky and Vanderbilt instead of Florida or Georgia.
5. Arkansas 5-7 (2-6)
Bobby Petrino will be able to use Casey Dick. He has never really had the opportunity to prove himself and this year he will have to. But with the loss of several key players, I don't see a bowl for them this year.
6. Mississippi 4-8 (1-7)
Their on the right track already just by getting rid of Ed "Ogre" Orgeron. Houston Nutt will need 2 or 3 years to get this team to a bowl much less compete in the SEC.
SEC Player of the Year: Tim Tebow
Freshman of the Year: Julio Jones
Coach of the Year: Nick Saban