With SEC Media Days on the Horizon it means a time to vote on who we think will win the league. Every year more than 1,000 members of the media converge on Hoover, Alabama but less than half take the time to fill out their ballots. For years when I was doing daily radio, I would go around and ask guys to fill their ballots out to give us a true picture of what the league would look like. The one thing about voting in mid-july is that a lot can happen between now and September 1. With the new schedule this season a lot can happen between now and October. So without further delay here is how I will fill my ballot out next week for SEC Media Days.
1. Georgia - I know South Carolina gets the Dogs at home and could win that game, but Georgia only needs to beat Florida to win the division. The Gamecocks will lose at LSU which will put them up against it. The Dogs do have the best defense in the East.
2. South Carolina - I feel like Spurrier will beat Georgia but need some help from the Mighty Gators to win the East. Lattimoreis the key, if he is 100 then they could finally beat Arkansas and that would give them a shot to go to Atlanta.
3. Florida -The Gators could lose three and finish third, however both teams in front of them won double digit games last year and barely be UF. If Floridas defense can cause turnovers this season the Gators can win the East.
4. Tennessee - I see a log jam here in the four spot. I like Missouri but if Tyler Bray can stay healthy the Vols can muddle up the East race. Tennessee has the best receiving corps in the league, but they have to shut out the noise in the system. The Dooley coaching future could prove to be too much pressure on the Volunteers.
5. Missouri - I like the Tigers quarterback James Franklin just a bit more than the head coach at Vanderbilt. The Tigers could sneak into third if the Gators and Vols continue to perform the way they have the last two seasons.
6. Vanderbilt - They will either win 6 and scare abunch of people or win 8 and begin the statue for James Franklin. I dont love their defense as much this year and that will be different than in 2011.
7.Kentucky - I don t think the Wildcats can get to a bowl game. Too much uncertainty at quarterback and the offense is void of playmakers. I say that knowing they are closer to third than most seventh place picks. If they only had Andre Woodson and Randall Cobb.
1. Alabama - Yeah thats right I am picking the Tide and here is why. They will be a hungry team with a lot to prove. I also think there two biggest challengers are mentally fragile. All the pressure is on LSU and Arkansas not Alabama and that will serve them well.
2. LSU -Talent alone gives them a chance at the National Title. They could be a better team this season, but I will be watching the chemistry on this squad very closely. They get Alabama at home and will only have to beat them once this season. Their schedule is easier than it was last season.
3. Auburn - I think Brian Van Gorder is worth one win and the schedule is much easier than it was last year. They get LSU and Georgia at home and if they get a split, who knows they may have a shot to win the West in Tuscaloosa.
4. Mississippi State - I think this is the year Dan Mullen gets a win versus the elite teams in the West. Tyler Russell will put up big numbers this year breaking every passing record in Bulldog history. This is a bit of an upset pick, but why not Mullen is due for a great season.
5. Arkansas - I just think the entire season rest onthe Alabama game. They have the talent to win the division finally, but I just dont feel it. They will lose a heartbreaker to Alabama and then give two away in October. John L Smith will at least make a good salary and the Razorbacks will wish they still had Bobby Petrino.
6. Texas A&M - Kevin Sumlin will have a fun offense that will get the Aggies to a Bowl game. If they can knock off Florida in week two then this ranking could be higher. The defense will be the key and that could take some time in College Station.
7. Ole Miss -Hugh Freeze has me excited about his first season, but not enough to pick them ahead of anyone in this division. Can they win six and go to a bowl game? That seems unlikely with a visit from Texas in week three and trips to Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge and Athens. Look forward to my fifteenth SEC Media Days next week in Alabama!