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SEC FOOTBALL PREVIEW 2007

 

From top to bottom the SEC is the best conference in college football. Year after year some of the most exciting games take place in the SEC between teams that have been doing it this way for decades. Each of these teams plays a killer schedule. Any SEC team that wins 10+ games deserves careful consideration for a number one ranking because simply put, no other conference plays as tough a schedule as the SEC.

EAST

Florida - So what will 2007-2008 have in store for the defending National Champs? Is there a repeat in the works? Well, let's start out with returning starters. Or lack thereof. Florida has one starter returning on defense, and just 5 returning on offense. But remember, this is Florida. One of the top recruiting schools in the nation year after year. There is never a shortage of talent here. But asking for a repeat is asking a bit too much. The Gators were involved in enough close games last year to expect that they might not be on the winning side of those this year. The schedule looks to me like 2 or three losses. They have to play at LSU and South Carolina, otherwise with the exception of the neutral site Georgia game, the rest are at home. So expect the Gators to once again be in the mix. There's too much talent not to be. But no repeat this year, and no SEC title.

Georgia - We should have a pretty good idea what this Bulldog edition is all about by September 9th. Georgia opens the season with two home games against Oklahoma State and then South Carolina. The Georgia offense figures to be in good shape. They ended the season last year in by hanging 37 points on the board against one of the best defenses in the Nation in their Bowl game, and return 7 of those starters including the QB and running back(s) position. The real question mark will be the defense. This team lost 6 of 7 up front and word out of spring practice is that the defense is shaky. With Oklahoma State coming in to open the year, A team that has no trouble finding the end zone, we'll have a good idea what to expect the rest of the way.

Tennessee - The pressure was on last year for coach Fulmer after a 5 win 2005. The Vols bounced back to win 9 last year, and had a couple of close losses against traditional powerhouses including a one point loss to eventual National Champ Florida. So, a good year, but not good enough. The pressure is always on in Knoxville. This is a program with a winning tradition. Losing isn't an option. The key to this years success may lie in the first three games of the season. They open up at Cal, then play Southern Miss at home before traveling to Florida to play the gators. To have the potential for a "great year", they need to emerge from those three games at 2-1 at worst, which we think they can. After that three game stretch, their toughest games are at home and very winnable. It looks like at least a 10 win season for the Vols this year.

South Carolina - The Gamecocks have made some great strides in Spurriers first two seasons on board. So hopes are sky high heading into 2007. Aside from an 18-0 setback at home to Georgia last season, the Gamecocks other 4 losses were tight games and came against some of the best teams in the Nation. With many of the key players on both sides of the ball returning this year, and a deep defensive line, it's no wonder big things are expected this year. But the SEC schedule can be brutal. It can really take it's toll. If SC is going to make any noise, they'll have to win on the road. Such as, At Georgia, at LSU, at Tennessee and at Arkansas. Home games against Florida and Clemson are no guarantee, and even swing games against the likes of Kentucky and Vandy are no locks. It's very difficult to look at this schedule and not see at least 4 losses. But either way, this team will be good. They will be competitive. They will be able to beat any team on their schedule on any given day, and will provide for some very exciting football this fall. Which in turn should provide us with some very bettable games involving South Carolina this season.

Kentucky - Unfortunately for Kentucky, they're in the SEC. Here's a team in off their best season in years, an 8 win year, and they return 8 starters on defense and 7 on offense on what figures to be another decent team capable of some big wins. But the brutal SEC schedule is bound to keep them around .500. How about, Louisville, Arkansas, South Carolina, LSU, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee! Ouch! That schedule is enough to take a bite out of ANY team in the nation. So Kentucky will be up against it for sure. But hey, basketball season is just around the corner.

Vanderbilt - Another team that unfortunately finds itself in the SEC. Vandy could compete for a division title in plenty of other conferences this year. They're not terrible, and return 8 on offense and 8 on defense. This is a team that played Bama, Florida and Arkansas close last year, and beat Georgia. If Vandy can upset Alabama at home on Sept 8th, they could be looking at a 4-0 start with a chance to at least grab another couple of wins along the way and perhaps a bowl bid. But they'll have their work cut out for them after the first 4 games as all the SEC monsters come knocking capped up with a visit to Wake Forest to close out the year.

WEST

LSU - The LSU defense ranked 3rd overall in the nation last year and figures to be every bit as good this year, as they return 8 from last years unit. The offense took a bit of a hit, returning 5 from last year however let's not forget that we're talking about LSU here, which is a top 10 recruiting school year after year. There's never a shortage of talent here, so not particularly worried about the offense. The schedule looks incredibly favorable for LSU. With the exception of traveling to Alabama, all of their tough games are at home. Among those home games will be a chance to avenge their only two losses from a year ago. On October 6th, Florida comes to town, followed by Auburn on October 20th. Look for a big effort on those dates. True, LSU will have some tests along the way, but can't see them losing more than two games, and with a little luck, who knows.

Arkasas - We'll have to take a wait and see approach with the Hogs. While they had a good year last year, rattling off 10 straight wins after an opening day loss to USC, they also dropped 3 straight to close the year against stiffer competition. So the Hogs were good, but not good enough in 2006. 2007 figures to be more of the same. With the QB, RB tandem of Casey Dick and Darren McFadden back for another go at it, expect the Hogs to win some big games. But also expect them to lose a few games, especially when the likes of Auburn and Tennessee come knocking looking to atone for sizeable losses last year.

Auburn - Auburn could be dangerous this year. Here's a team team that managed to win all but two games last season and even managed to knock off eventual champ Florida 27-17. Considering they did this with a banged up offense, and this year, the Tigers return 7 starters on defense, look out. The last 3 years Auburn has won 13, 9 and 11 games. This year we see a minimum of 9 wins on their dance card with their season being decided by what they are able to do on the road at Florida, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia.

Alabama -  Bama lost 7 games last year. However, no one blew Bama away. They were competitive against some of the very best teams in the nation a year ago, and figure to be even more so this year with new head coach Nick Saban at the helm along with 9 returning offensive starters. Just about all of Bama's tough games are at home this year as they'll get their cracks against Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU all at home. In the case of Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU, those were all road losses a year ago. Can you say, revenge? If they can win those, this could be a very good year for the Crimson Tide.

Mississippi - This is a team that can shoot for at least a Bowl Birth. They played a couple of very good teams close last year. With 9 offensive starters back, if they can do better than close, and actually pull an upset or two, then there's at least 4 other winnable games on their card. So a Bowl birth not out of the question. But they'll have to knock off a big name or two along the way in order to accomplish that goal.

Mississippi State - Miss St has won no more than 3 games a season the last 5 years. Can't see that changing this year as the schedule is equally as tough as past years. Last year, this team was rarely even close when they stepped up in competition. Don't think they'll be close this year either.

To Sum Up - In the East, it looks to be a little bit more wide open than the West. The door could very well be open for Spurrier and his Gamecocks to make a run at the title game. There biggest test may come from the Vols. Over in the West, LSU once again looks to be the cream of the crop with Auburn looking like they won't go quietly. One things for certain, the SEC is one of the best, if not the best conference in all of college football. It's fun to watch. It's football like it ought to be played. Smashmouth at it's very best. For this handicapper, there's no shortage of plays to be found in the SEC year after a year.

FEATURED SPORTSBOOK

 

2007 SEC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Saturday, September 1
Western Kentucky at Florida
Oklahoma State at Georgia
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
UL Lafayette at South Carolina
Tennessee at California
Richmond at Vanderbilt
Western Carolina at Alabama
Troy at Arkansas
Kansas State at Auburn
LSU at Mississippi State
Ole Miss at Memphis

Saturday, September 8
Troy at Florida
South Carolina at Georgia
Kent State at Kentucky
Southern Miss at Tennessee
Alabama at Vanderbilt
South Florida at Auburn
Virginia Tech at LSU
Missouri at Ole Miss
Mississippi State at Tulane

Saturday, September 15
Tennessee at Florida
Western Carolina at Georgia
Louisville at Kentucky
South Carolina State at South Carolina
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
Arkansas at Alabama
Mississippi State at Auburn
Middle Tennessee at LSU

Saturday, September 22
Florida at Ole Miss
Georgia at Alabama
Kentucky at Arkansas
South Carolina at LSU
Arkansas State at Tennessee
New Mexico State at Auburn
Jacksonville State at Mississippi State

Saturday, September 29
Auburn at Florida
Ole Miss at Georgia
Florida Atlantic at Kentucky
Mississippi State at South Carolina
Eastern Michigan at Vanderbilt
Florida State vs. Alabama (in Jacksonville)
North Texas at Arkansas
LSU at Tulane

Thursday, October 4
Kentucky at South Carolina

Saturday, October 6
Florida at LSU
Georgia at Tennessee
Vanderbilt at Auburn
Houston at Alabama
UT Chattanooga at Arkansas
Louisiana Tech at Ole Miss
UAB at Mississippi State

Saturday, October 13
Georgia at Vanderbilt
LSU at Kentucky
South Carolina at North Carolina
Tennessee at Mississippi State
Alabama at Ole Miss
Auburn at Arkansas

Saturday, October 20
Florida at Kentucky
Vanderbilt at South Carolina
Tennessee at Alabama
Arkansas at Ole Miss
Auburn at LSU
Mississippi State at West Virginia

Saturday, October 27
Florida vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville)
Mississippi State at Kentucky
South Carolina at Tennessee
Miami University at Vanderbilt
FIU at Arkansas
Ole Miss at Auburn

Saturday, November 3
Vanderbilt at Florida
Troy at Georgia
South Carolina at Arkansas
UL Lafayette at Tennessee
LSU at Alabama
Tennessee Tech at Auburn
Northwestern State at Ole Miss

Saturday, November 10
Florida at South Carolina
Auburn at Georgia
Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Arkansas at Tennessee
Alabama at Mississippi State
Louisiana Tech at LSU

Saturday, November 17
Florida Atlantic at Florida
Kentucky at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Tennessee
UL Monroe at Alabama
Mississippi State at Arkansas
LSU at Ole Miss

Saturday, November 24
Florida State at Florida
Georgia at Georgia Tech
Tennessee at Kentucky
Clemson at South Carolina
Wake Forest at Vanderbilt
Alabama at Auburn
Arkansas at LSU
Ole Miss at Mississippi State
 

 

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