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SEC College Football Preview
Odds and Analysis
Last year, the SEC continued its annual dominance of college football, winning the national championship for the sixth year in a row. The Alabama Crimson Tide went 11-1 during the regular season, with their only loss coming to their SEC rivals the LSU Tigers in a 9-6 defensive grind in early November. The Tide turned though as they took full advantage of their shot at revenge, shutting out LSU 21-0 in the BCS title game. While Alabama did lose star running back Trent Richardson to the NFL along with seven other players, the team is still returning seven offensive starters, including starting quarterback A.J. McCarron, as well as four defensive starters. Bama is expected to be a major contender for another national championship this year at 11/2 odds and is one of two co-favorites to win the SEC at 11/5 co-favorite.
The other co-favorite is an LSU team that went 13-0 in the regular season behind a stellar defense that only allowed 11.3 points per game. The Tigers blew out the Georgia Bulldogs 42-10 in the SEC Championship Game, locking up a spot in the BCS title game against the Tide. However, the Tigers failed to execute offensively and were completely shut down, failing to score a point on college football's biggest stage. LSU lost five players in the NFL draft, including the nation's top cornerback in All-American Morris Claiborne, but the team does return seven starters on offense and five on defense. One of the biggest concerns for the Tigers is the quarterback position, as Zach Mettenberger is projected to step in and start. Like Alabama, LSU sits at 11/5 to win the SEC and is 5/1 to win the BCS Championship.
Georgia is another team that figures to be in the mix for the SEC title. The Bulldogs started last season poorly, losing their first two games to Boise State and conference rival South Carolina. But they quickly turned things around, reeling off 10 straight wins to win the SEC East before eventually losing to LSU 42-10 in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia then played Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, losing 33-30 in a triple-overtime thriller. The team lost seven players in the NFL draft and recently had to dismiss sophomore running back Isaiah Crowell following his arrest on three weapons charges. The Bulldogs return six offensive starters, including quarterback Aaron Murray, along with nine defensive starters. They are 11/2 to win the SEC and 15/1 to win the national title.
Finally, the Arkansas Razorbacks are the last of the top four contenders in the SEC after going 10-2 during the regular season last year, with their only two losses coming to the best two teams in the nation in Alabama and LSU. The Razorbacks rebounded though by defeating a solid Kansas State team in the Cotton Bowl, 29-16. Arkansas lost four players in the NFL draft but returns seven offensive starters, including quarterback Tyler Wilson, and six defensive starters. The biggest news surrounding the team in the offseason involved former head coach Bobby Petrino, who was fired in April after having an inappropriate relationship with a female employee of the university. The Razorbacks replaced Petrino with John L. Smith and are 7/1 to win the SEC and 22/1 to win the BCS National Championship.
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