Top 10 Preseason … ALL HAIL THE SEC! Part 1

The season opens tonight with #24 USC at Hawaii, but let’s delve into the top 10 as a preview for the college football fans. As expected, the SEC is the dominant force in the opening polls with half the top ten consisting of their powerhouses. Let’s breakdown each team and why they are ranked accordingly starting with the two time defending champions.

1) Alabama:

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To honestly say that the Rolltide would not be number 1 in the rankings I would have to smack you and say you know nothing about College Football. This is a dynasty in the making which is extremely rare to discover in the college world. Saban did lose a couple of studs last year like Dee Milliner on defense (possibly next Darrelle Revis) and offensive role players like Eddie Lacy, and D.J. FLuker. However, Saban made sure that plenty of players had experience last year and there are going to be a good amount of players for defense. 11 players have good enough experience for Saban and his defense wrecking which only gave up a stingy 10.9 points (1st in the country). A.J. Mccaron will be fine too. He has the explosive and powerful Amare cooper still along with T.J. Yeldon who has not yet tapped into his true potential. The only thing stopping Alabama from winning again is themselves. They have 18 freshmen, 28 sophomores, 30 juniors, and 18 seniors. Of the seniors, 12 are linemen and receivers which means almost nothing except that Saban will look for more of those two positions in the upcoming prospects. This team is young and experienced enough to win again. The only problem may be players on offense stepping up. Both Amare and T.J. had their parties last year and so the conference is ready for these studs. It is up to the senior unit to keep defenses guessing. They do this, they repeat. Expect ‘Bama to win again this year, or to have a 12-2 season, with that second loss coming in the last game of the college football season.

2) Ohio St.

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My friend told me about Braxton Miller, but I did not really look into him until the end of the season and oh boy I missed a lot. This guy put the team on his back and I am saying that he is indeed a Heisman candidate. Overall, Ohio State has a strong team and they also dictate whether they make the dance. Their secondary looks impenetrable as all the starters are returning, but they mostly reload in the front seven. If the team can put play-makers there, then they will have no hiccup and go meet ‘Bama in the national championship. They have 9 returning starters for offense which is going to take a load off Braxton. Urban Meyer returns in his second dream job season and quite frankly this should be a good year for Buckeyes fans. Good Buckeyes.

3) Oregon

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This is an excellent surprise to see another conference stepping up to battle the SEC cause quite frankly they are tired of shutouts (Or at least I know ‘Bama is). The Ducks come back with 9 offensive returners and 7 defensive returners as well. Marcus Mariota comes back with basically the same guys at his disposal which means their scoring capability will remain the same. The big question, however, is not how much the Ducks are able to score, but how much they can put up with the presence of their fearless leader going to the Eagles. This is going to be interesting to see how the Ducks are going to fair without their most successful head coach in school history. Now, the Ducks also have injuries in the secondary which may or may not hurt them in the long run. At the moment, Oregon is poised to be the PAC-12 champions unless Stanford or another team (USC and UCLA) picks up their game. The team has a very tough schedule and you could see them playing a very talented Washington team and of course Stanford to boot. If they survive, Oregon could be heading to the BCS National Championship if Ohio State and/or Bama have a misstep.

4) Stanford

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Now we come to the next team on the list and I am shocked at how they are fourth. It makes sense to have ‘Bama at first but I find it difficult to place third only because they had a good season. This team has battled through losing Andrew Luck last year and many more starters. They ended 12-2 under coach David Shaw who also won them a bowl game. In addition, they have the toughest schedule with a strong and upcoming Pac-12 conference that could potentially rival the SEC in a couple of years. The key for Stanford is for Hogan (their new QB) to step and have an excellent year. They also need a lot of production out of Taylor in order for their team to go far and make a run for the title. The have 7 returning offenses and 10 returning defensive players. David Shaw has caught wind of what the SEC is doing and is manipulating it. He has recruited good linemen both defensively and offensively in the past couple of years. He is also recruiting good defensive players and this is why they could make a run soon.

5) Georgia

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This is a school I have grown to admire and really take notice of in the past couple of years. Georga comes off a bowl win and one play from beating Alabama in the SEC championship so I think I can say they will take things more personally this year if they play ‘Bama. Aaron Murray can go to work again since all but one of his wide receivers and linemen have graduated or gone to the draft. 10 returning starters on offense not only gives Georgia a strong unit, but also better chemistry and more maturity. Their schedule includes Clemson, South Carolina, and Florida . They have one of the toughest schedules out there thanks to the three teams above.  So, the question is how the teams will take Georgia down? Well, Georgia lost about 7 starters last year on defense which means reload time (including Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree)!!! They have to play with the pieces and see what will work for them. The nice thing is Georgia’s depth and if they beat Alabama in SEC championship (because I have both those teams returning to the ‘real’ Big Dance), then watch out for the BCS national championship no matter who is there. They are favorites for the SEC East, but I think this will be a tough year for them given their schedule..

To be continued shortly….

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