We were having a really good discusion in the "Easiest Road to the Championship" thread on the Pac-10 vs the SEC or better yet USC vs the SEC and it was getting all jumbled up. From what i read, most people here feel that USC would be good team in the SEC but wouldn't dominate. I disagree. Most felt that teams like South Carolina would give SC a good showing and that even Ole Miss would play them tough. I couldn't disagree more. IMO and it is my opinion, the SEC as it stands today, isn't quite as strong as we once thought. We are still very good and probably the best conference from top to bottum but our elite teams have some major problems. Let me break it down so you can understand where im coming from. Lets start with the top 6 teams in the league ( in no particular order):
1. Florida: Right now UF is the best the SEC has to offer. The offense when clicking cannot be stopped and the defense is much improved over last year. The problem is that until they have a running back step up, its Tebow left, Tebow right, Harvin left and Harvin right. Miami was able to contain them becuase they had speed and It wasn't until the 4th quarter and when attrition set it, that UF pulled away. They have to figure out how to fit all that talent on the field and make it work. Until then that offense will struggle against good defenses. Which means teams like USC or Oklahoma would probably match up very well against the Gators.
2. Georgia: UGA is still a mystery in my book. They have all the pieces (minus a LT and DE) to make a run at the title but they seem lost right now. The o-line struggled to get a push and the recievers drop ball like its hot potato. Maybe its because USC plays them tough every year or they just had a down week, but the # 2 team in the country goes into USC and puts a 30 spot up. Until they show me otherwise they are at best the #10 team in the nation
3. LSU: The Tigers haven't been tested yet and probably still won't be this weekend. They have no QB which means they are predictable. Auburns defense is good enough to keep it low scoring but since AU has no offense, LSU will get the win. LIke i said about UGA, until LSU shows me their QB's can make plays and manange the game, they are no better than a top 15 team.
4. The Barn: Auburn probably has the best defense in the SEC. They are strong, fast and have amazing depth. BUT for the talent on the defensive side of the ball, the offense balances them out. The Spread Eagle will take a few more years to implement and like LSU, a good defense will only take you so far. So with the offensive problems id rank Auburn around the #17-23 area. If that.
5. Alabama: Some what of a surprise this year, Bama has had 2 very solid performances and one, well lets try to forget about the Tulane game. If Wilson plays like he's supposed to and the defense holds up they could be the most balanced team in the SEC. Not from a pure talent stand point, but from both sides of the ball playing at a high level. Of course with a young team (playing 12-15 freshman a game) we will have our ups and downs. This is why i feel that our Tide will end up in the top 15 at the end of the year.
6. The Vols: I only put them here because of what their expectations where at the beginning of the seaon. But what have they done so far? They got beat by UCLA (who just got destroyed by BYU 59-0) on a missed FG, had an off week to recover then came out flat against UAB. If you watched the UAB game, UT looked terrible at times and looked very ugly in the blow out win. Right now i see the Vols at a middle of the pack SEC team and perhaps even worse.
So what the common theme among the elite of the SEC? A lack of offensive fire power. I know I know I know...the SEC is built around defense and defense wins championships! But when one of your elite teams scores only 3 points in a game, and another loses to a terrible UCLA team, you have to start to wonder. Could SC play in the SEC and dominate or would they just fall somewhere in the top 4?
I think right now USC is more balanced and more talented than any team in the SEC. There are three teams that match up well in talent: UF, UGA and LSU but those three have gapping issues that need to be resolved before truely being thought of as a top 3 team. Im not drinking the USC kool aid but that team has five star depth everywhere, probably the best QB Carroll has had so far, and a defense that is just as good, if not better, than any team in the SEC. To win a championshp you need balance and right now SC has balance and the schedule to boot. Im not saying they are unbeatable but with that schedule, the only team that can beat them right now is USC.
Again guys this is my opinion. Take it or leave it but if you look at it from the outside in i feel you'd have to agree.