Which Team Will Come Out on Top of the SEC?
by Paul Grossinger
As we approach the middle of the college football season, it is time for every fan to start making their end of the season picks. This is, of course, because many of our preseason picks have already been upended (Oklahoma to the title game anyone) and some of our early season miracles (paging the U) appear to have been mirages. Nonetheless, despite some of the shocking upsets that have shaken the rankings, it is still possible to make picks that will prove interesting fodder for discussion.
That said, let me make mine. Unlike many, while I am impressed with Florida’s play this season, I am even more impressed by Alabama’s. While defense may be an entirely lost art in the Big 12 and is disappearing from all of college football-where scores totaling in the seventies are now routine-it has clearly not left the mind of Alabama coach Nick Saban. As evidence, I submit to the reader Alabama’s week four beat down of Arkansas. Previously one of the nation’s most prolific offensive teams and one that was at least expected to put up a respectable pile of points in defeat, Arkansas was in fact demolished in a demonstration of defense I for one have not seen in years. While Florida, the preseason number one, is indeed 4-0 and has not yet been seriously challenged, Alabama strikes me as the strongest team in the nation.
Why is that the case? I have already discussed their demolition of Arkansas but, despite possessing a high octane offense, Arkansas was clearly not a national contender or even a top five team. Virginia Tech is however and, in week one, Alabama handily defeated a Hokies squad that won all three of its games since and demolished the national darling Hurricanes 31-7 last week in a game that was never close. While it will be easier to judge Alabama after it has endured some grueling inter-SEC play, its ownership of quality opponents thus far this season suggests that this squad may be stronger than the one which started last year 12-0.
What about Florida? It is true that it is unfair to dethrone Florida from its perch until it loses a game or is at least seriously challenged. However, whereas Alabama should win comfortably at Kentucky this week, Florida must face Number 4 LSU in the swamps of Louisiana. Wins over LSU are a tough get but especially so at home and Florida must do so while many of its players suffer the after-effects of a flu outbreak and Tim Tebow recovers from a major concussion.
If Florida wins handily it will again be then the consensus pick to win the SEC and you can throw this article in the trash. But, if she loses or is severely tested, look out for the Crimson Tide.