2009 SEC Football Outlook: How Good Will The Conference Be This Year?

Corey TaylorCorrespondent IJune 19, 2009

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Brandon Spikes #51 of the Florida Gators holds up the winning trophy after the FedEx BCS National Championship Game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

The 2009 SEC season should be just as exciting as it is every year. The speed and power the SEC puts on display gets fans all around the country jumping out of their seats. Here is a preview of the teams in the SEC and where I predict they will finish at the end of the season.

SEC East

Florida Gators

Who isn't paying close attention to the Gators this season? Quite honestly, they had one of the best seasons a college football team could have had last year and the horrible news for everyone else is that they didn't lose much.

The return of Tim Tebow has Gainesville screaming repeat, though many believe that Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford will have something to say about that. Florida finished 13-1 last  season and I would expect close to the same outcome this year.

Florida will have a rough time playing at LSU early in the season, but other then that I don't see very much stepping in their way. For an SEC schedule Florida got very lucky this year. They do not have to play Alabama or Auburn who are expected to be very competitive this season.

With most of Florida's offense and defense returning we could be watching Tebow and Co. back in the picture for a National Championship again this season. Look out for Florida's speed to reek the benefits in 2009.

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Prediction: The Gator's will end the regular season at 11-1 (7-1). I believe that Florida will have a rough go at LSU. Don't worry Gator fans that will still be good enough for first place in the East and another Conference Championship game appearance.

Tennessee Volunteers

With new head coach Lane Kiffin the Vol's have every reason to be excited for 2009. Kiffin has even got me excited just listening to him taunt Urban Meyer. With his dad calling the shots from the press box the defense should be one of the best in the SEC. 

Still, a few years away from being able to compete with the Gator's the Vol's may be the team to look out for in the SEC. They return senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton who in only 8 games passed for 889 yards. Not amazing numbers for a starting QB but with his first season under his belt he should be much improved and have way more experience. 

Prediction: Kiffin is doing what he should be doing in his first year and that is getting the fans excited. There has not been much to be excited in a few years at Tennessee.  Look for them to struggle a bit at the start of the season but to start playing better at the end of the season. I see the Vol's going 8-4 (4-4) in the regular season. They will most likely struggle at Florida, against Auburn, and at Alabama. I even see Kentucky pulling off the upset at the end of the season.

Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia lost a lot at the end of the 2009 season. They lost two of their top offensive weapons in Moreno and Stafford. Even with those losses you can not forget about Freshman phenom's A.J. Green and Caleb King. Both will definitely be factors this year and could be a air and ground duo that shocks the country.

Georgia will struggle defensively because of their youth and inexperience. They will mostly be beat by teams with strong air attacks because of the weak secondary  they have coming back.

Prediction: I see the Bulldogs going 6-6 (4-4). The Bulldogs will most likely lose to LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, Arizona St., and Georgia Tech. It will be a season to rebuild, but don't worry it won't be long till the Bulldogs are back.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Cats in the Bluegrass are the toughest team to read. They have been fairly consistent over the past couple years under Rich Brooks. The Wildcats recruited two four-star caliber quarterbacks, but the way it is looking right now the spot is still Mike Hartline's.

Look for the Cats to be tough defensively as they return close to every starter. Don't be surprised if they pull off another shocking upset at Commonwealth Stadium.

Prediction: The Wildcats will most likely go 7-5 (3-5). I can see the Wildcats losing to  Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Auburn, and Georgia. With a weak non-conference schedule they should make it to another bowl game.

South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina will have a rough go at it this season with no real stars on the team.  Smelley could be that one shining light giving the Gamecocks hope this season. Without a consistent year from him I believe the Gamecocks are in for a rough season.

Smelley threw for close to 2,000 yards last season and 14 touchdowns. The problem is he threw more interceptions then touchdowns.

Prediction: The Gamecocks will end up 5-7 (2-6) at the end of the regular season. I have them losing to Georgia, Ole Miss, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson.

Vanderbilt Commodores

Sorry Vandy I just don't see much going your way this year. Vandy has been consistently getting worse since the days of Jay Cutler. They are in desperate need of someone at each position.

Without the same talent that the other teams in the SEC have for football Vandy will continue to struggle. This will most likely be another long football season for the Commodores.

Prediction: Vandy will end the regular season at 4-8 (1-8). I know that is kind of unreasonable but I do not see Vandy being very competitive this season. I honestly believe they are not good enough to hang with most teams in the SEC. The one team I  do believe they will beat is Mississippi State.

SEC East Champs: Florida Gators

SEC West

Alabama Crimson Tide

Be prepared to be impressed by the Crimson Tide again this season. Nick Saban has picked up where he left with LSU in college football. He established this by locking up the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

With stud receiver Julio Jones returning it really does not matter who the quarterback is in Tuscaloosa. Jones will make whoever it is look like a star. Opposing defenses should be scared of the Crimson Tide offense returning this season.

Prediction: I can see Alabama going 11-1 (8-1) at the end of the season. I see the only potential road block to Alabama's perfect season being themselves. I see the Tide beating themselves in the final game of the season at Auburn.

LSU Tigers

One thing is for certain Les Miles has speed on his team.  The Tigers will be looking to out run the competition this season en route to battling for the top spot in the SEC.

Many people are excited for what this young but experienced LSU team has in store for them. The teams that do not have to play LSU this season should be very happy. LSU will be using their speed to wear out the competition.

Prediction: I predict LSU will go 11-1 (7-1). LSU will most likely lose to Alabama but I do see them upsetting Tebow and Co. this season. 

Ole Miss Rebels

My sleeper team that will give some teams in the SEC some problems this season. Sneed is the real deal people. The fans of Ole Miss will be looking to ride his arm and legs out to what could be a big season.

The Ole Miss offense will be very good but the defense will struggle with the speed of the SEC. They match up well with the teams in the SEC that look to pound the ball right at them.

Prediction: The Rebels will finish at 9-3 (5-3). They will lose to the teams that most SEC schools are losing to which would be Bama, LSU, Tennessee.

Auburn Tigers

I strongly believe the Tigers are going to have a big season this year. They return weapons such as Kodi Burns and Ben Tate. Tate rushed for 664 yards last season and I believe he surpass this mark in his senior season. Look for a good year from Tate.

The defense should also be strong for the Tigers will most of their secondary and linebackers returning. Good luck to any teams going into Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Prediction: The Tigers unfortunately received a tough draw for the SEC scheduling this season. I see them ended at 9-3 (5-3). The Tigers will have a tough time against Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Alabama.

Arkansas Razorbacks

The Razorbacks are still suffering from being spoiled during the D-Mac years. They do not have much talent which usually ends up in losses. Arkansas will eventually rebound from the long hangover they are suffering from just not this year.

Look for them to be competitive but not to the same extent that Ole Miss and Auburn will be. Arkansas despratley needs a young star to step up and perform.

Prediction: The Razorbacks struggles will lead them to a record of 6-6 (2-6). I can see the Razorbacks beating a weak Mississippi St. team and they also have the ability to beat South Carolina.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs round out the bottom of the SEC West. With the same problems Vandy is suffering from the Bulldogs are lacking those stars it takes to take them to the top. Mississippi State may end up being the worst team in the SEC when everything is said and done.

They have a mediocre offense and defense coming back that should be easy for the elite teams to pummel through if they do not take them lightly.

Prediction: The Bulldog are going to have a rough go at it. Most likely they will finish the season at 3-9 (0-8). The Bulldogs should be able to beat Jackson State, Middle Tenn. St., and Houston. I think they are out of luck when they get into the SEC though.

SEC West Champions: Alabama Crimson Tide

This makes for an epic rematch of last season in which the Florida Gators handed it to the Tide. I see the same thing happening this year as well. The Gators are much to talented and have the speed that Alabama lacks.

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