Continuing our look around the nation, Tim takes a quick look at the winner of the last eleventy BCS championships. If you’re a fan of one of these programs, be sure to have someone read this for you (note: does not apply to Vanderbilt).
How does the conference fall in the national rankings? How likely are they to have a team in the title game?
I’ve come to learn in sports, there are no “sure things.” Recently, though, an SEC team playing for (and winning) the National Championship in college football is about as close to a sure thing as there is. Last year, we even saw something nobody ever thought we would—two teams from the same conference playing for it all.
I was one that supported the rematch between LSU and Alabama. They were the two best teams in college football last year, no question. And, with no other team going undefeated and no playoff system, I want to see the two best teams play for the title. Do I think that will happen again this year? Both teams are loaded again, but the answer to that question is no.
The SEC has produced the last six National Champions, and big favorites to make that lucky number seven this season. They currently have five teams in the top ten of the coaches’ poll and seven ranked overall. If I were a betting man, I would put big money on an SEC team playing for the title.
Who’s the best team in the conference? Who will play for the conference title game?
I’ve gone back and forth on this a dozen times. LSU and Alabama are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the coaches’ poll. But, with the recent news of the dismissal of LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, I’m going to pick the Crimson Tide as the best team in the SEC, and thus be the winners of the SEC West.
Another tough choice in the SEC East between Georgia and South Carolina, but I’m going with the Bulldogs. Georgia was routed by LSU in the 2011 SEC Championship game, but quarterback Aaron Murray is back to lead the boys from Athens yet again. I look for a Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship Game with the Crimson Tide bringing home the victory.
Who are the worst teams in the conference?
The SEC has added Missouri and Texas A&M for this season, but I don’t see them as bottom-feeders, even in their first seasons in the conference. Ole Miss finished 2-10 last season and 0-8 in the conference, so I’m picking them to finish last again.
I also see Kentucky finishing towards the bottom of the conference. Not that anybody at Kentucky will care, as they will be preoccupied counting down to basketball season.
Who are the conference offensive/defensive MVP’s? “Kirk Ferentz Coach of the Year” award winner?
If he stays healthy, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore should be the SEC Offensive Player of the Year. He ran for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first seven games of last season before he was sidelined for the year with a knee injury. Even if Lattimore is not fully back to himself, he’s still one of the best running backs in the country
On defense, Mathieu was the easy selection had I been asked a few days ago. Now, though, it is not so simple. I’m going with another Gamecock, however, as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year—sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. During his freshman season, Clowney racked up 37 tackles and eight sacks and proved he will be an absolute load to handle this year.
Georgia’s Mark Richt will bring home the SEC Coach of the Year award. It was too boring to select Alabama’s Nick Saban or LSU’s Les Miles, so I’m going with Richt. I’m all in on the Bulldogs this year, selecting Richt and his squad to win the SEC East.
What’s the stereotype re: fans across the conference? How accurate do you think that is?
SEC fans are arrogant, and almost downright annoying. But, they have a right to be. There’s no denying the success of the conference over the last ten seasons. Six straight National Championships is a pretty remarkable statistic to think about. The additions of Missouri and Texas A&M will also help add depth to already the dominant conference in college football.
While we likely won’t see another LSU-Alabama rematch for the National Championship, when they meet on Nov. 3 in Baton Rouge, the whole country will be watching. The winner of that game (I’m taking ‘Bama) will likely win the 2012 National Championship.