Monday, August 29, 2016
Preseason SEC Power Rankings
This is probably premature but I plan on updating these every week this season. Might as well do a Pre-season version. Every SEC team ranked from worst to first.
14. South Carolina
There just isn't enough talent on this team to win many games this year. Regardless of whether Muschamp starts Perry Orth or Brandon MacIlwain, this team is going to struggle against most SEC opponents this annum.
Missouri is one of many teams featuring a new Head Coach this year and although Barry Odom is already familiar with his team, the many shortcomings of the roster will keep Mizzou towards the bottom of the pecking order this year. Much will depend on the growth of Drew Lock as a passer. He wasn't very impressive as a freshman, but if he can start to show why he was rated a 4 star QB on most sites Mizzou could move up this list.
Can Kentucky put together the semblence of a passing game this year? If so they could move up this list. They still lack talent and depth at most positions but will feature an above-average rushing attack. Their biggest issue will be their inability to stop the opposing team's rushing attack and that's bad news for a team competing in the SEC.
Vanderbilt's defense should again be solid under Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason. Most of their questions are on offense. Their offensive line is thin and any further injury at that position will make it very tough to remain competitive in the SEC. I really like the ceiling of Sophomore QB Kyle Shurmur. If he can take a step and you throw in RB Ralph Webb they could be bowl-bound this season.
I just don't think Auburn will improve much from the team they were last season. They could be huge movers on this list if Malzahn can find a dependable option at QB. There's talent all over the field, but that was the case last year as well. I'll have to see Auburn win some tough ones before I believe last year was just a fluke.
9. Mississippi State
Life post-Dak Prescott looks to be a step-back from the competitive teams MSU has fielded in recent years. They also field a less-than-stellar offensive line and I could see their running game struggle. The defense should prove capable but there are 3 phases in football and MSU has a lot to prove if they are going to live up to the standards and expectations the last few years have created.
Arkansas is having to replace some key starters from last year and that will be easier said than done. Will the younger Allen brother make an adequate replacement at QB? How about that retooled offensive line. Sam Pittman left his OL Coach position to take the same position at Georgia and that's not a guy who's easy to replace. Arkansas is another candidate to move up this list but the West will not be much easier this year than in years past.
7. Texas A&M
Maybe Trevor Knight shows some consistency his senior year that he never showed at Oklahoma. Maybe Chief gets that defense to play to his standards but I will have to see it to believe it. If the above scenarios both take place, A&M can be dangerous. Right now they're a middle-of-the pack team.
Florida lost a lot of pieces from the team that won the East last year but they should again be good on defense. Their biggest question marks are OL, QB, and RB. The OL should be at least moderately better than last year but the depth is perilously thin. This is a team that can ill-afford to suffer many injuries.
Lots and lots of question marks for the Bulldogs this season but Kirby Smart has passed the Coaching Staff test with the addition of some proven coordinators and solid assistant coaches. It will be an achievement to equal their regular season win total last year of 10 games but if Jacob Eason comes along like many expect they could certainly get close.
4. Ole Miss
The Rebels will be returning the SEC's best passer but are having to reload at many key positions. The passing game should be solid but there are lingering questions at QB. The defense has potential to be solid but they will not be as talented as last year's.
I'm not giving Bama the number 1 spot until they prove they can replace key starters at QB and RB with no drop-off. They may very well prove to be the best team in the league but I'm not anointing them until I see it.
Our Vols return the second-most starters in the league and appear to have no holes. Biggest question is how much the passing game has improved but we can expect at least moderate improvement there. The Vols are the king of the East for now but must prove they can close out games in the fourth quarter.
LSU is my favorite to win the West this season. They return the most starters in the SEC, hired a top-notch defensive coordinator and have sickening depth on defense. Much like the Vols, LSU will have to show improvement in the passing game but have all the tools to do so. Brandon Harris will have to be better and I think he will be.