NCAA Football Conference Preview: SEC

SEC Football – where to start, where to start. Once again, in 2014 this conference appears to be the best in all of the country. Alabama and Auburn had won previous national titles, but last season Florida State took over, and snapped the SEC title streak. It will take a great effort to knock the Seminoles off from the top, but certainly one of the SEC elite’s has an opportunity to in 2014.

The SEC is divided into an East portion and a West portion. The Georgia Bulldogs come in as the favorite in the East, but certainly will not be a cakewalk. The Florida Gators and South Carolina Gamecocks are also programs that could win the division. They are all three in the Top 25 to start the season. Following that, Missouri appears to be next, after a season ago which was special for the Tigers, they look to fall back a bit. Finally, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, followed by Kentucky will round out the division.

The West Division appears to be a better division, but the gap has closed a bit over the seasons. Alabama comes in as the favorite, but the Auburn Tigers are not too far behind. After that, Ole Miss and LSU will fight for every win. To round out the West, Mississippi State, Texas A+M and Arkansas remain. Texas A+M should drop considerably after the loss of quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Razorbacks of Arkansas continue to struggle; especially for such a once proud program.

Alabama gets the nod over Auburn this year because of the game played in Tuscaloosa. Alabama may have a question mark at quarterback, but Nick Saban expects big things out of the defense, and Jared Coker will improve as the season goes on. The rest of the West has quarterback question marks as well. For Texas A+M, they will have to get a turn around from their defense. LSU lost a ton from a season ago, but how quickly Les Miles’ crew can reload is the biggest question mark.

South Carolina has been consistently good for several seasons now. Connor Shaw remains as the quarterback, and guys like Dylan Thompson should be a great help. The Gamecocks will have to replace the top draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, along with receiver Bruce Ellington. Georgia has to travel to South Carolina this season, which is why the Gamecocks got the nod over the Bulldogs. Also, Georgia has to replace Aaron Murray, but have a dynamic running back in Todd Gurley.

Alabama opens the season against West Virginia in a early season test for both teams. Other key games for the Crimson Tide include September 20th against Florida, November 8th at LSU and November 29th against Auburn. The Tigers of Auburn start the season at home against Arkansas. Following that, they play a non conference game at Kansas State on September 18th. Their biggest conference games are October 25th against South Carolina and November 15th at Georgia. South Carolina hosts Texas A+M in their season opener. The Gamecocks also have Georgia at home, but must play road games at Auburn, Florida and Clemson.

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