SEC Unit Rankings: Comparing Athlon & Lindy's

Will SheltonSenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2008

One of my favorite ways to kill time in the final weeks before football season is to dive into the multitude of preseason publications out there and see if I can learn something new or find that extra piece of information to help carry an argument.  While we've all got our own passionate opinions across the SEC landscape, sometimes it's good to hear from an objective source like these magazines to get a better feel for where your team really stands coming into the season.

So while thumbing first through Lindy's, and then Athlon, I came across their respective SEC Unit Rankings, which rank each of the 12 teams from top to bottom at each position (quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers & tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, and Lindy's ranks special teams) There are rankings for all the conferences in Athlon and the BCS conferences in Lindy's.

Here's a comparison of the two unit rankings:

 4AlabamaOle Miss
 6Ole MissTennessee
 7South CarolinaSouth Carolina
 9Mississippi StateKentucky
 12LSUMississippi State
 4Mississippi StateAlabama
 6LSUMississippi State
 9ArkansasSouth Carolina
 10South CarolinaOle Miss
 11Ole MissArkansas
 4South CarolinaSouth Carolina
 6Ole MissAlabama
 7AlabamaOle Miss
 11Mississippi StateMississippi State
 7GeorgiaMississippi State
 8Ole MissOle Miss
 10South CarolinaSouth Carolina
 11Mississippi StateKentucky
 4ArkansasOle Miss
 9Ole MissSouth Carolina
 10Mississippi StateMississippi State
 11South CarolinaArkansas
LB1FloridaSouth Carolina
 2South CarolinaFlorida
 5TennesseeMississippi State
 8Mississippi StateAlabama
 9Ole MissOle Miss
DB1Mississippi StateSouth Carolina
 2TennesseeMississippi State
 3South CarolinaTennessee
 11Ole MissOle Miss
ST1 Alabama
 2 Florida
 3 Tennessee
 4 LSU
 5 South Carolina
 6 Auburn
 7 Mississippi State
 8 Georgia
 9 Ole Miss
 10 Kentucky
 11 Arkansas
 12 Vanderbilt

So, just for fun, I thought I'd add up all the rankings for each team in the respective magazines, just to try and get a sense of how each team would stack up, top to bottom, on the whole.

The results were quite unexpected:

1Tennessee (20)Tennessee (31)
 2Florida (21)Florida (32)
 3Georgia (29)Auburn (36)
 4LSU (34)Alabama (37)
 5Auburn (39)Georgia (37)
 6Alabama (46)LSU (38)
 7South Carolina (47)South Carolina (46)
 8Mississippi State (54)Mississippi State (60)
 9Ole Miss (60)Ole Miss (62)
 10Arkansas (61)Kentucky (74)
 11Kentucky (63)Arkansas (83)
 12Vanderbilt (72)Vanderbilt (88)

Tennessee - who didn't rank atop any of the individual unit rankings - had the best combined score when they were all put together in both Athlon and Lindy's. 

Does this mean the Vols are the best team in the SEC?  Not necessarily, as any preseason Top 25 will attest.  However, it would suggest that - at least according to these numbers - even though the Vols have no positions of total dominance, they also lack any glaring weaknesses.

As a Tennessee fan myself - and remember, these are Athlon & Lindy's numbers, not mine - I find hope in these numbers.  And sure, they don't really mean anything...but the idea that the Vols may not have any superstars, but are capable at every position, gives me a greater sense of anticipation for 2008. 


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