If you haven’t heard by now, the SEC happens to have dominated the college football world for the last seven years. In that time, no team from another conference has won the national title, or really even come close. Of course, the 2013 season may wind up differently — but if recent history is any indication, well, it won’t.
Each of the 14 teams within the conference go into spring practices with the understanding that if they manage to dominate in the Georgia Dome in early December, they will be playing for the chance to win the national championship in the beginning of January.
There is a caveat to that, however: As great as the SEC is in terms of talent, coaching and desire, not all of the 14 teams trotting out to practice fields throughout the Southeast (and Missouri) actually have a shot at winning their division, playing for and then winning the conference title.
Get excited, Alabama fans, the road to the crystal ball goes through you.
Favorite: Alabama Crimson Tide — Are you sick of seeing photos like the one at the top of this article? Then you’ve got to beat them, and not just once. Texas A&M beat the Tide in 2012, and the Aggies will have the first shot at the champs in Week 2 of the 2013 campaign. If the Tide rolls through College Station, there are still a slew of contenders ready to knock the kings off the mountaintop.
Contenders: Florida Gators, Texas A&M Aggies, Georgia Bulldogs, LSU Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks — The Bulldogs came within five yards of upending Alabama’s run at a dynasty last year, and coach Mark Richt’s squad will come out firing in 2013. However, the Gators will be an improved team after earning a Sugar Bowl berth, the Aggies are hoping to dominate Bama in Week 2 and South Carolina has the best player in the nation in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. LSU lost a ton of talent, but, come on, it’s LSU. The Tigers will reload.
Pretenders: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Mizzou, Vanberbilt — All four of these squads have talent, and of that fact there is no question. However, Ole Miss is still a year away after hauling in the best defensive end, offensive lineman and wide receiver recruits in the nation. Mississippi State, Mizzou and Vandy all have senior quarterbacks with a ton to prove in Tyler Russell, James Franklin and Austyn Carta-Samuels, respectively. They are talented, but not enough to hang with the contenders just yet.
Yeah … not close: Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee — Notice a common theme here? All four schools flamed out in 2012 and canned their respective coaches. We don’t want to say any of these programs are “dumpster fires” per say; however, Arkansas and Tennessee have to break in new quarterbacks, while Auburn and Kentucky have to choose one from a relatively untalented group. Add the fact that lack of recruiting over the last three years in Knoxville and Lexington and six wins from any of these four would be a work of art. Yeah … these teams are not even close.