SEC Media Days is coming up in mid-July and gives us all the equal opportunity to become prognosticators on the upcoming season. We will vote for each division and who will win the overall SEC championship in 2013. Now looking this far out there is so much that could happen from now until August 29th. We have fall camp where injuries could play a factor and also a place where incoming freshman show they are ready to contribute. Teams like Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi State could be better than what most experts think. If any of them are then my top-ten list of games that will decide the SEC race is worth the paper it was written on-nothing. However it's still fun to try and peek into the Crystal Ball so here we go.
Top Ten SEC Games this season that will decide the road to Atlanta
10. Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, Aug 29th - Laugh all you want, but the winner has so much momentum and becomes a dark horse should the big boys falter.
9. Ole Miss at Alabama, Sept.28th - Should the Rebels upset the Commodores in Nashville they will head back to Tuscaloosa for the 2nd year in a row with a ton of momentum looking to upset the Tide.
8. Florida at LSU, Oct 12th - This rivalry is 5-5 in the last 10 and the Gators should be unbeaten when they arrive to Death Valley. This will be the 2nd East game of the season for LSU.
7. LSU at Georgia, Sept.28th - Tigers head to Athens where former Dog quarterback Zach Mettenberger looks for a marquee road win and to derail the Bulldogs chances early in the season.
6. Georgia vs. Florida, Nov.2nd - The Bulldogs will either be in great shape or need some help with two early tough games against top-ten teams. The pressure is on Will Muschamp, who is already 0-2 in the series.
5. South Carolina at Georgia, Sept.7th - The Gamecocks have won three in a row in the series and the winner has the edge in the East race. Both teams also have tough openers.
4. Texas A&M at LSU, Nov.23rd - Johnny Football goes to Bourbon Street by way of Baton Rouge looking to get to the SEC Championship game. The Tigers should be much better in November than September, but will they be in the race?
3. LSU at Alabama, Nov.9th – Only three games in November for LSU and they are all huge. If the Tigers can do what they did two years ago and win in Tuscaloosa, they might just win the West.
2. Florida at South Carolina, Nov.16th - This is not only the last conference game for each team but I believe could be a “de facto” East championship game. Both will have played Georgia and it should be a winner takes all atmosphere in mid November.
1. Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept.14th - Alabama has won the last two national titles and the last SEC title with a conference loss each season. The Crimson Tide are not only looking for payback but a perfect slate could await them having LSU at home. This will also give us an early look at whether Texas A&M was a one-year wonder or they are a legitimate SEC program.
This and That...
The discussion of safety and the no huddle offense has resurfaced once again with the suggestions made by Bret Bielema of Arkansas. The new Razorback head coach had some interesting comments that mirrored the ones made by Alabama's Nick Saban. I think these guys are claiming safety issues when in reality they don't like the trying to defend the up tempo. The Tide have the best players in the country, that's enough advantage in its own right. The up tempo puts a premium on two things. 1. Conditioning and not just position specific conditioning but long range cardiovascular training. 2. Stops. If you get a three and out versus and up tempo offense you can pretty much control the flow of the game. The bottom line is football has become an offensive game at both the college and NFL levels and in large part to the placement of better athletes at quarterback. This may be a short term trend, but time will tell if this can continue for the next decade. By the way taking your time and huddling up is about as interesting as going to a Monday morning staff meeting.