It\'s never to early to take a look at next season\'s rankings, especially in the SEC. This past season left off with LSU and Alabama running away from everyone else in America, and 2012 doesn\'t seem to be much different. Next year\'s college football champion should once again come from the SEC, making it seven straight BCS championships for college football\'s premier conference. Get used to it America.
Well Ole Miss, you went from No. 12 to No. 14 with the SEC\'s 2012 expansion. The only thing looking good in Oxford is the hiring of new head coach Hugh Freeze. It is going to take the Rebels a long time to scratch the middle of the SEC pack.
The heat is getting turned up in Knoxville. Derek Dooley was given a relatively long leash after Kiffin left the program the way he did. Two losing seasons later (6-7, 5-7) and that leash is all the sudden getting tight. Dooley better get the team to a bowl game this next season, but that possibility is still questionable.
They may have ended last season with a losing record, but a bowl trip in new head coach James Franklin\'s first year has Vandy fans extremely excited. Remember, this is Vanderbilt. Franklin has done a great job of improving this team, and looks to build off the momentum of a bowl trip. Expect another .500 season from the Commodores.
Welcome to the SEC Missouri. Life just got a little more difficult. Your welcoming party to the SEC is going to be brutal, with away games at South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Florida. Not to mention home visits from the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide, the defending national champions. Missouri will be looking to just get to a bowl game.
It was a disappointing year in Starkville this past season. The Bulldogs did make it to a bowl game, but fell short in the SEC with a 2-6 record. It\'s hard to compete when Arkansas, LSU, and Alabama finish in the top five in the country, and they are all in the same division. Coach Mullen has the program on the right track, but it should be another tough SEC trip next year.
For first year head coach Will Muschamp, 2011 was a learning experience. The Gators were riddled with injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Much hated QB John Brantley is finally done, and a good crop of young QB\'s are looking to take over the helm. Muschamp\'s defense finished 2nd in the country on 3rd down stoppage last year. If the Gators can assemble some sort of offense, they should be able to compete with Georgia and South Carolina in the SEC East.
South Carolina is coming off its first ever 11-win season. The Gamecocks are losing Alshon Jeffrey, Stephen Gilmore, and Melvin Ingram, but are returning a solid group of ball players, including QB Connor Shaw. Look for South Carolina to compete with Georgia for the SEC East crown.
Bobby Petrino has built a solid program in Fayetteville, and 2012 should produce more of the same from the Hogs. QB Tyler Wilson is returning which gives the offense promise to be one of the best in the country. The Razorbacks will still have to deal with the Tigers and Tide in the SEC West however.
Another year, and another solid football team for Nick Saban and the Tide. Don\'t expect a national championship, but they should compete with LSU in the west. AJ McCarron is returning at QB, and will be protected by one of the best offensive lines in the country.
If the Bulldogs can find a steady running back, watch-out America. This could be the year that finally gets Richt and the Dawgs over the hump. The Bulldogs are stacked with talented, including returning QB Aaron Murray, who should be the cream of the crop in the SEC next year. The Bulldogs also have one of the easiest schedules in the SEC for 2012.
Welcome back to No. 1 LSU. You put together the best season in the SEC in 2011 with a 13-1 record. Next year should be no different. The Tigers are literally stacked with talent, and should improve next season on offense. Look for LSU to walk through the regular season yet again.
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