It hasn't exactly been a benchmark September around our favorite conference, but MSU is 4-0 and we have learned some things about several teams. Here is how I see the league top to bottom:
1. Georgia - I picked them to win the national championship, and I'm sticking to it. In fact, they might be better than I thought because the O-line has looked pretty good through the first four games. And coming back this week (probably) is Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree - two big time playmakers for an already stellar D. I still see them finishing 12-0.
2. Alabama - Yes, Bama looks amazing. They are also very deserving of the #1 ranking as they have done nothing to remove themselves as the defending national champions. But I can't help but think of 2010 when everyone was saying the exact same thing about the Tide. They were 4-0 at this point then too, and had just beaten #10 Arkansas on the road, and then they demolished #6 Florida. But Bama ended up losing three times that year. I'm still going 11-1 on Bama.
3. LSU - This is a very talented team. But I'm not sure who this team really is. I still think the loss of the Honey Badger is huge, and they aren't going to get those key plays in big games this year. After what I saw in Auburn, I'm not convinced this team has what it takes to go undefeated, and they might lose two or three. Sticking to 10-2 here.
4. South Carolina - For some reason I wasn't too big on the Gamecocks this year, but I feel like they are really good right now. They may be a team who could knock off LSU, even in Baton Rouge. Their defense is still stout after losing several playmakers and Ellis Johnson. I had 9-3 in the preseason, 10-2 seems more likely.
5. Florida - They have proved the most so far, but I'm not sure how long that can last. I'll go ahead and say I'm sticking to my pick of UF over LSU in two weeks, and I did pick this team to go 9-3 this year. I think that is going to happen, their schedule is just too brutal. They have gotten the QB situation sorted out a little bit, the defense isn't quite as good as I expected, but Muschamp has a good team. I'll stay with 9-3 for the Gators.
6. Mississippi State - I could see MSU being as high as 4th here, but we haven't seen enough consistent play to warrant that. Things could change after the next few games, but for right now they are a good team waiting to put all the pieces together. I had 8-4, I'll bump the Dawgs up to 9-3.
7. Texas A&M - I think the Aggies are going to be a good team, but their defense will have to prove they belong in the SEC. The offense does, and I'd say I'm very impressed by what they've shown so far. I feel like I missed on the Aggies at 5-7, I'll go 7-5 now.
8. Tennessee - I'm not really sure what the Vols have outside Tyler Bray and a couple of receivers. That have all the experience in the world at O-line and what you'd think would be talented backs but they can't run the ball. And the defense just isn't working right now, UF torched them, UGA probably will this week, and even MSU could put up 5 TD on UT. I'll stick to my 7-5 on the Vols.
9. Auburn - There is a line in the sand after Tennessee that says the rest of the teams are mediocre. Auburn is going to have to scratch and claw to get to a bowl game this year. One thing of note: LSU was the first pro-style offense they've seen this year and they did very well - Brian VanGorder comes from the NFL so maybe he just wasn't able to make the adjustments to the spread yet. I'll swap my 7-5 pick for 6-6.
10. Missouri - They are good, like Big 12 good. Not a SEC team yet. For one thing, they have no tight end. How can you win in the SEC with no tight end? I'm sticking to 6-6 for the Tigers.
11. Arkansas - Yes, they are 1-3 and look beyond awful at this point. But just on talent alone I think they will right the ship to a degree and be better than the bottom feeders. Well, no 9-3 on the Hogs this year, I'm gonna say 5-7.
12. Vanderbilt - I really thought Vandy would be better than this, but they have showed almost nothing so far this year. I had the 'Dores at 7-5. It'll probably be 5-7 though.
12. Mississippi - As much as Vandy has disappointed, the Rebs have played well. Hats off to Hugh Freeze, he is a good gameday coach.....they have an opportunity to go to a bowl with games vs. Vandy, UPig and Auburn left. I'll throw the Bears a bone and give them a SEC win this year, 4-8 in lieu of 3-9.
14. Kentucky - UK is, to me, far and away the worst team in the SEC. They suck. I overestimated the Wildcats, 2-10 rather than 3-9.
Top 5 Defensive Players
- Jarvis Jones, UGA
- Jadaveon Clowney, USC
- Johnthan Banks, MSU
- Sam Montgomery, LSU
- Corey Lemonier, AUB
- Aaron Murray, UGA
- Marcus Lattimore, USC
- Tyler Bray, UT
- Barrett Jones, BAMA
- Cobi Hamilton, ARK