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THE SEC

8/14/2008

THE SEC WILL RISE AGAIN

There's no better conference than the SEC. None. Let me count the ways: 1) Georgia has more talent than anyone in the nation. 2) Florida is the ultimate points machine, and Gators MLB Brandon Spikes would be my first pick to build a defense around. 3) LSU's D-line, with DT Ricky Jean-François and DE Tyson Jackson, is flat-out frightening. 4) Three second-tier teams—Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee—would contend in the other BCS conferences. 5) Both Ole Miss and Bama have the talent to pick off a fave on the right week. Like I said, there's no better conference. —KIRK HERBSTREIT

TEAM BREAKDOWN

  1. Georgia
    What's not to like? Best team in best conference with best player in all of college football not named …

  2. Florida
    … Tim Tebow!

  3. LSU
    An NCAA first on Aug. 30—FBS champ faces FCS champ (Appalachian St.). Sorry, Tigers, Mountaineers are more likely to repeat.

  4. Auburn
    With more sophomores (eight) starting than seniors (seven), Tigers might still be a year away. Just avoid 'em in November—that's you, Georgia and Alabama.

  5. Tennessee
    Woo-hoo! Parade All-America QB Jonathan Crompton is the new starter. Uh-oh! He threw only 78 passes in three years sitting behind Erik Ainge.

  6. Alabama
    With senior QB John Parker Wilson and veteran O-line (93 starts), Tide fans want more value from coach Nick Saban than the $500K per win he's cost so far.

  7. South Carolina
    Steve Spurrier Jr. calls shots on offense for first time in his career. Which is why it's good the D returns 10 starters.

  8. Mississippi State
    Dogs were outgained in conference games by SEC-worst 73.4 ypg. The entire offensive backfield returns to prove it was no fluke.

  9. Arkansas
    With Run-DMC in the NFL, installing Bobby Petrino's pass offense is a no-brainer. But a loss of top four receivers is a headache.

  10. Kentucky
    Leading tackler, passer, rusher, receiver and return guys are all gone. Team MVP honors go to … punter Tim Masthay.

  11. Ole Miss
    Returns top 12 tacklers. Good thing. Even with Texas transfer QB Jevan Snead, Rebels will still have to make lots of stops.

  12. Vanderbilt
    Achieved SEC-record 25th-straight losing season in 2007. Let us be the first to say, Congrats on No. 26!