Preseason SEC Power Poll: Part One

This ain't no place for feelingsball. - Stacy Revere

ROW TAHD!

Last week we covered the Non-Blog Poll arbitrary Top 25. Today, we'll delve a little deeper and closer to home. The conference's elite remain just that, as we welcome Florida and Georgia back into the fold. The middle class looks to be a wash – a bit stronger with some teams, a bit weaker with others. And, as per the historic usual, we have familiar faces slap-fighting for last. Today, we start with the better teams.

  1. Alabama: Yes, there are issues at corner, but the safety play will be superb. Great mix of youth and experience with the talented LB corps, bolstered by the best defensive line of the Saban era. The offense is ridiculously loaded, but the major questions are in implementing Kiffin's offense and finding the triggerman. Best RB and TE corps in the nation, and a strong contender for best WRs too. Still the conference standard-bearer. Don't see this team running the table with the offensive transition, but should go a dominating 11-1.

  2. LSU: Don't sleep on the no-name defense. Like all LSU teams, they will be rugged as hell once they get the LBs to play like LSU LBs. New QB won't matter as much as finding dependable guys on the outside to catch passes – but both are likely to be mitigated somewhat by a deep, bruising running game. Will be in the race until the LSU-Alabama game decides the West. Still, freshmen quarterbacks can cost you one. Think it happens again this year. 10-2ish.

  3. South Carolina: I'm a believer. Mike Davis is a load, and Dylan Thompson is a seasoned guy at QB. DL and LBs will be stout. Biggest issues will be the still not-good corners and especially consistency – a yearly complaint with USC. Hard to see the Gamecocks not getting another 10-win season.

  4. Georgia: New QB. Ho-hum, few teams have consistently excelled at coaching them up like the Dawgs. Behind only Alabama for the nation's best backs with Gurley, Green and Marshall. Oh, one of those is probably the best player at his position in the country. The loss of the secondary is a big concern, especially in that division, but the front seven will be very Dawg-like. Schedule is the biggest problem: USC, Florida, Clemson...all early. Still, a 10-win season is more likely than not.

  5. Florida: Defensive line and secondary will again be amazing -and hopefully healthy this year. Driskel finally has an offense custom-made for his talent, and the Gators seem to have a little more talent on the outside than they have the past few years. Running game still lacks consistency though. That said, stay healthy, start hot, and the Gators could squeak by and win the division. Anything from 9 wins to a 6-6 season are possible with this most mercurial team, but getting Alabama and LSU do the Gators no favors.

  6. Auburn: This team was far closer to 7-5 than 12-2 last season, and with the annual schedule rotation swap UGA and Alabama are on the road. Significant losses (if not deep ones) to both lines and at RB. OL will still be nigh-unstoppable though. The LBs and secondary are still among the poorest for the conference's elite teams. Regression to the mean season upcoming, somewhere around 8-4/9-3ish.

  7. Missouri: Veterans returning along the line, at QB and at RB; WRs are deep but lack the one true guy with DBG's departure. Biggest growing pains will be at DL, which lost heavily to the NFL. With a solid, if not stellar, back seven, the D is going to get scored on a goodly bit. Upper-middle of the East, but will still struggle to get 8 wins.

Feel free to tell me why I'm wrong (and, I'm sure Ole Miss will be along shortly to do just that!)

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