One of the biggest stories in the SEC last year was the sharp increase in offense across the conference. As a whole, scoring was up more than 23 percent, with nine teams increasing their PPG average from 2006 to 2007. Only Vandy, Auburn, and South Carolina took a step backwards.
It’ll be interesting to track the same stat this year. With the exception of Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow, the conference is basically bereft of proven QBs*. Sure, there's talent—Jevan Snead and Jonathan Crompton immediately come to mind—but they've yet to get it done on the field.
With coaching and personnel changes from last season to this one, there are a handful of teams set to make big jumps—for better or for worse.
* Alabama fans, spare me the JPW emails please.
ON THE WAY UP
The Tigers struggled early last season and lost games to Mississippi State and South Florida at home before things started to click. The Tigers were one of the three teams in the league to score less than they did in 2006, but 2008 will be just the opposite. With the implementation of the spread offense and nearly the entire offense back, the Tigers will definitely improve this season
The last three years in Oxford have not been pretty—and that’s being nice. The Rebels were actually one of the most improved scoring teams last year despite ranking last in the SEC, scoring only 20.1 PPG. With the coaching changes and a stable of under-utilized talent, the Rebels could make the biggest jump of any team in conference this season.
ON THE WAY DOWN
Fans in Lexington won’t recognize the ‘Cats offense this season. With Andre' Woodson, Steve Johnson, Keenan Burton, and Rafael Little gone, UK will spend much of the season looking for an identity on offense. The dismissal of QB heir apparent Curtis Pulley certainly didn’t help their cause.
While Bobby Petrino has a reputation for being an offensive genius, he’s just not working with a lot this season in Fayetteville. With no DMac or Felix Jones, the Hogs have no proven offensive weapons. It could be a long year offensively for Arkansas.