Not much hype for LSU this season
The LSU Tigers won the Southeastern Conference Championship in 2011. They were picked to win it in 2012. Here in 2013, the Tigers received just one championship vote at SEC Media Days and were picked to finish third in the West.
The Tigers are ranked No. 12 in preseason polls. You could say LSU is flying under the radar this season. Why?
Well you could say it’s because LSU lost 7seven defensive players to the NFL including two first-round draft picks, but Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida all had similar losses on that side of the ball and are ranked higher.
Honestly I think it's because of the lack of sizzle on offense. Not one Tiger was named first- or second-team All-SEC at the end of last season or in this preseason. Underestimating LSU could be a serious mistake, only once in the last 13 seasons have the Tigers finished lower than second in the West and that's where I predict they'll end up this year.
I prognosticate a 10-2 season for LSU with losses at Alabama and Georgia.
SEC West predicted order of finish
SEC East predicted order of finish
Georgia | UGA wins head-to-head tie-breaker
SEC Championship Game rematch
So obviously after seeing my predicted order of finish, I’m prognosticating a rematch of last December’s SEC Championship Game when Alabama defeated Georgia 32-28 in a true classic. Only once since Alabama played Florida in the first three SEC title games (1992-94) has there been a rematch.
That also involved Alabama and Florida in 2008-09. The Gators won in 2008 and the Crimson Tide won in 2009 and in both cases, Florida and Alabama also went on to win the national championship. Does that mean Georgia will win in 2013? No, but they can.
The Bulldogs nearly beat Bama last year when the Crimson Tide went on to win the national championship. Critics might say... well Georgia lost so much talent on the defense side of the ball. But you could counter with Alabama lost three offensive line stars that pushed the Bulldogs around in the Georgia Dome.
Of course nobody's unbeatable and it isn't even necessary. The Crimson Tide have won the national championship the last two years as a one-loss team and Georgia has won five East titles in Mark Richt's 12 seasons and has never gone undefeated in the conference. It should be interesting.
Don’t think Johnny Football wins Heisman again?
As I said months ago, the odds were against Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy again this season. If for no other reason, only one player has ever won the award twice and that was Archie Griffin over 35 years ago. But given the circumstances involving this autograph situation, and whether the NCAA proves it or not, many believe there's a strong likelihood that he might have violated NCAA rules.
I have a Heisman vote and I think there would be a hesitancy to vote for a guy that might later be ruled ineligible... ie. Reggie Bush. And again as I've said here before... if he took money he'll have to report that to the IRS. So whether we find out now, if he took money, we'll find out eventually.
Mike Davis named #1 RB at South Carolina
Mike Davis was not one of the eight conference running backs to earn preseason All-SEC honors, but I think there's a good chance he'll be on that All-SEC team by the end of the season.
As a freshman, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry and now with Marcus Lattimore gone, being named the No. 1 running back he's going to get a chance to establish himself as "the guy." If he does that, he'll get a lot of carries this season.
He's a lot like his brother, former Clemson star running back James Davis, and we know how good he turned out. Think Mike has the same potential.
Auburn defense already taking a beating
Injuries have hit the Tigers hard in preseason practice along the line and in the secondary.
Word is Dee Ford, perhaps Auburn’s best veteran defensive lineman, won’t play in the opener against Washington State. The good news for the Tigers is that help has arrived. Five-star true freshmen Carl Lawson and Elijah Daniel are going to play right away and play a lot, although they probably won't start the first game.
In fact new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson says Lawson and Daniel are already two of the Tigers best pass rushers. Ladarius Owens has also moved back from linebacker to defensive end to help add depth. Expect these freshmen to be starters before the season is over.
The Tigers are also taking their lumps in the secondary. Backup cornerback Jonathan Jones broke a bone in his ankle the other day and is going to be out a while. Four-star running back signee Jonathan Ford has moved over from offense to help out. This comes on the heels of safety Demetruce McNeal's dismissal over the weekend. He’s transferring to West Alabama.
In the spring, Auburn moved Josh Holsey from corner to safety and he'll now likely become the starter. Former quarterback Kiehl Frazier's chances of playing in the secondary continue to increase.
To name—or not to name—a starting QB
It seems, more than ever before, teams are deciding to keep the naming of their starting quarterback under wraps. The Kentucky Wildcats are one of those teams that have yet to reveal who its starting quarterback will be.
I'm with new offensive coordinator Neal Brown on this. Why give their season-opening opponent Western Kentucky any info, especially if you're dealing with two quarterbacks like Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow that are so different?
Now this isn't a huge deal, but if you don't have to announce a starter; I wouldn't same thing with injuries. This isn't the NFL. I wouldn't divulge any injury information that I didn't have too.