For the 1st time in a while, the SEC will not have the defending national champions in their conference. Florida State was able to knock off Auburn last year in the title game, and that means there are a few hungry teams looking to win the first-ever BCS playoff. So who are the championship contenders? Here are the 3 best teams in the SEC with national championship talent.
The Western division has a lot of contenders this year. You have the usual with Alabama and LSU being good teams, but of course this year we worry about last year's Championship game contender in Auburn. We also can't count out the great recruiting class of Texas A&M. I feel that considering each team's schedule and pure strength on returners and recruiting, that you must feel that Alabama may come back into the lead for the SEC West this year.
Few teams were struck by the injury bug worse than the 2013 Georgia Bulldogs, as a number of key players missed time with injuries throughout the year, and a year that started with a lot of promise ended with a disappointing 8-5 record. However, the Dawgs return more than enough talent to contend for the top spot in the ultra-competitive SEC East. With a little better injury luck and some quick development on the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs should be right in the thick of the race for College Football tickets.
With the 2014 NFL Draft starting on Thursday, we're finally going to get to find out where the top prospects will end up for this upcoming season. This includes many SEC prospects, including those you were rooting for when you were betting on SEC football. If you feel like this draft season has gone on forever, you're not alone; the draft was pushed back three weeks due to scheduling conflicts at Radio City Music Hall.It's scheduling conflicts like this that has caused the NFL to consider moving the draft out of its longtime home in New York.
Auburn Tigers tickets were a sizzling hot commodity last year as the team, led by head coach Gus Malzahn, stormed through their schedule to win the SEC and finish #2 in the nation. Not much was expected of the Tigers after a disappointing 2012 campaign, which led to the firing of Gene Chizik. Instead, Malzahn turned a team that had been 3-9 into an offensive juggernaut that finished 12-2 and was seconds away from another national title.
It has been reported that there is a young man in Rochester NY at Aquinas Institute who is really turning heads and being recruited by the likes of University of Georgia and Notre Dame. The name of this young man is Jake Zembiec. He is a 6'0" 200 pound Sophomore who has been on the radar of scouts for as long as he can remember. Jake led Aquinas to a perfect record and state Championship this year.
Well, another football season is behind us and for the first time in eight years, the SEC cannot say they are champs. However, they can say they had a team in the last eight BCS Championship games, and if you count the LSU-Alabama matchup, that is nine SEC teams than played for the BCS championship in eight years.
What a game we have to determine the national champions in the final season, and game, of the BCS era. Florida State has rolled over everyone and has been unchallenged all year long. Usually you have a week when you come out and just don't have it. Well, that has not been the case in Tallahassee in 2013.
At the start of the season, who would have thought the SEC Championship would be an all Tiger affair? I thought it would be Carolina and Bama, and it almost was, so I a least got the semi-finals right…. Who is going to win on Saturday? Let's look at the intangibles, since both teams are talented on both sides of the ball so that's a tossup.
It was once said everything changes. Nothing stays the same. No truer words have ever been spoken after what I saw last Saturday in the SEC. Of course programs rise and fall, and the eternal cycle of what plays out before us changes every year, every class and every decade.
We know SEC Football has been the best for at least the past SEVEN years. With Alabama's 2012 and 2013 BCS Titles; Auburn's BCS Championship the year before (2010 - 2011), the SEC has now won 7 straight BCS Championships (no conference has ever won more than 3 straight college football national championships before); 8 of the past 10; and 9 total since the BCS system began 14 years ago. That's more than four times as many as any other conference.
But, what about next season, 2012? Well, we'll have more to come; but look out for LSU.
You won't be surprised that we are predicting the SEC will be the top college football conference, again, in 2012. And that LSU (or Alabama) will win it all again. If so, that will be 7 straight National Championships for the SEC. No other college football conference has ever done anything close to that before.
Dominance at the top of the college football world is certainly exciting for SEC football fans. But, just as significant to the overall strength of SEC football is the tremendous depth from 1 through 12. The SEC consistently sends more teams to bowl games than any other conference. Here's a review of all the 2010 - 2011 SEC bowl games.
If you are looking for tickets to an SEC football (or bowl) game, check out 2013 SEC Football Tickets.
Auburn's Jordan Hare Stadium. Thanks to Carolina Hornig at flickr.com for the picture.
SEC football is always spectacular. In fact, Southeastern Conference football games are simply the most exciting sports events in America. Every weekend there are always at least several amazing games.
The SEC is the best college sports conference because of its football. Football is the #1 college sport in America. Nothing compares to the fan interest and support that football receives. It has become our national sport. SEC football is simply the best spectator sport in America -- if not the world.
For this reason, in ranking the conferences, we have given extra weight to football. And it is the SEC's supremacy of college football, that, in the end, makes the SEC the #1 college sports conference.
How do we know SEC football is the best college football in America?
Crazy Florida Gator Football Fan. Thanks to bjsmith at flickr.com for the picture.
One of our readers might have put it best when he said:
Also, for instance, the Nov 21, 2007 USA Today sports page headline: "SEC Football Best College Has To Offer" summarized the general consensus at the time. And things obviously have only gotten better for SEC football since.
Or, how about the October 16, 2006 issue of Sports Illustrated the premier sports publication in America. The cover story is titled "SEC Power: On Any Given Saturday the Southeastern Conference Proves It's the Toughest in the Country."
Beyond that, look at history. When you compare the number of all-time Bowl Appearances; Bowl Victories; National Championships; National Rankings; and just Plain Old Wins SEC Football is #1 in them all.
The SEC has the most alumni playing in the NFL. The 2008 NFL opening day active rosters showed 259 former SEC football players on NFL rosters. The ACC was second with 254 players; the Big Ten was third with 227; Pac-10 -- 178; Big 12 -- 170; Big East -- 87. The SEC has led all conferences with the most NFL players every year since 2001. In the 2009 NFL draft, again, the SEC led all conferences with 8 first rounders and 37 players drafted overall. (For info on how individual SEC teams ranked, see SEC Schools With Most NFL Players).
The SEC has led the nation in football attendance for 13 straight years in 2010 averaging 76,719 (just short of the record set by the SEC in 2008 of 76,844) fans per game! Amazing. Really, that fact alone says it all.
Thanks to ukathletics.com for photos 2 and 8 above. Thanks to flickr.com/photos/bjmillican for photos # 5, 7, and 9; flickr.com/photos/alabamageographer for photo 3; flickr.com/photos/royce58 for photo 4; flickr.com/photos/motionblur for photo 6; flickr.com/photos/e-moose7 for photo 10; and flickr.com/photos/slarche for photo 11. Some or all rights are reserved for these photos.
In 2006, the SEC led all conferences in winning percentage vs. non-conference opponents with an incredible .854 winning percentage. In 2007, and again in 2008, the SEC was tops with a 47-10 non-conference record.
According to the 2008 SEC Football Fan guide the SEC holds an all-time 72.8% non-conference winning percentage (not including bowl games). From '92 - 07 the percentage was 77.2 % in the regular season and 60.6 in bowl games.
Check out this blog for a great study on why SEC football is simply tougher than football in other conferences.
And -- to see the future of SEC football, we need only look at current recruiting. There, again, the SEC not only leads -- it dominates. Every year the SEC has more schools than any other conference in the top 10; top 20; and top 30 in recruiting. The early 2010 recruiting rankings are no exception. Rivals.com has the SEC, right now, with 4 of top 10 (LSU, FL, AL, GA).
Year in and year out the SEC has more teams than any other conference ranked in the Top 25.
Simply put, no conference compares to the SEC for its depth, competitiveness, talent, football history and football culture.
When you are in a state with an SEC football team and that team is playing a home game you probably know about it because it is probably the biggest thing going on in the entire state.
During every home game at Tennessee Neyland Stadium becomes the 5th biggest city in the state. Actually the 4th biggest because, during the game, there are actually more people in the stadium (110,000 or so) than in the city of Knoxville.
In the end, it is all about the fans. Ultimately, the conference with the best fans will have the most support for its football program and over time that is the key to why the SEC is #1.
How do we rank the other conferences in Football?
If you are interested in head-to-head comparisons between the SEC and
each of the other major college football conferences, check out:
We also have head-to-head SEC East vs SEC West stats at SEC East vs SEC West All-Time. You'll see the West as a comfortable edge through 2010.
Now, for our SEC Football Rankings and Previews
Click on the team name to read more about each team. The most current previews and reviews of each weeks' games are at SEC Football Blog.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide -- Alabama has a great shot to be playing for the SEC championship in December. Their defense is young, but there is a lot of talent there.
3. Georgia Bulldogs -- This offense is going to be incredible as they can burn you from a variety of options. Aaron Murray should be in the thick of the Heisman talk, and if they can sweep or at least go 3-1 through September, this is going to be a team that will challenge for the SEC and nation championship.
4. Florida Gators
-- Florida will once again have a tough running game and until the passing attack gets on track, they will be able to lean on Matt Jones to keep them in games.
5. Texas A&M Aggies
-- Head Coach Kevin Sumlin had an impressive first year in the SEC and has gone 46-19 overall so he knows what he is doing. With fantastic sophomore Johnny Manziel leading a high powered offense, they will put up some points to cover for an inexperienced defense.
6. LSU Tigers -- LSU will be tough once again, but will drop a notch in 2013 as Texas A&M and Alabama will be the teams to beat in the West. The defense is young and inexperienced, while nobody is sure which Zack Mettenberger will show up.
7. Ole Miss Rebels
-- Ole Miss is a team on the rise as Hugh Freeze has them heading in the right direction. However, they are not there yet as Alabama and Texas A&M have too many horses for the Rebels to contend with this year. After Strong Start, Ole Miss Poised to Play Dark Horse in the SEC.
9. Vanderbilt Commodores -- Franklin has made the 'Doores respectable, and is looking to take them to the next level. However, breaking in a new QB, a tougher schedule in 2013, and a team that will not sneak up on anyone will make it tough to duplicate last year's nine win season.
10. Mississippi State Bulldogs -- Dan Mullen's teams are competitive and play hard, so they will be a tough opponent for anyone. However, both lines have to step it up, and the inexperienced WR's will have to give Russell dependable hands to throw to.
11. Auburn Tigers -- Despite a stinker last year, Auburn has recruited well the last few years and has the talent in place to return to contention. However, depth is a concern, and that is not something you want to have on your side in the SEC West.
12. Missouri Tigers
-- Things are not as bad as they seem in Columbia, although not as bright as in the other Columbia in the SEC East. Gary Pinkel is feeling a little heat after last year's rude introduction to the SEC, but he has had a year to figure it out.
13. Arkansas Razorbacks -- It is going to take some time, but Bielema will turn the Arkansas program around and get them back into contention. This year, however, they are going to take their lumps, and in the SEC West, that means the hammer is about to be dropped.
14. Kentucky Wildcats -- A new day has come to Lexington and with it, a sense of hope that Stoops can build a team that will be able to contend with the bullies in the SEC.
If you want more information, opinion or discussion about the football programs of any of the SEC schools, click on the name of the team (above) and that will take you to their page. You can catch your favorite SEC team in action each week with football tickets from GoTickets.com.
Ole Miss football takes the field at Florida. Thanks to bjsmith at flickr.com for the picture.
Southeastern Conference Football...no one else comes close!
Here's our list of the Best Sports Nicknames.
The Southeastern Conference has a great opportunity to grow and add some great teams from the Big 12. If it doesn't act, it may lose . Here's our Time is now for SEC Expansion.
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