SEC Power Shifts Middle

At the bottom is an article I posted back in August about these programs:

1. Alabama – going for 3-of-4 nationally, undefeated but largely untested
2. Georgia – 4 and 3 and missing 7 of 22 starters, bad defense, horrible special teams
3. LSU – two losses already and more inconsistent than ever
4. South Carolina – two losses already and as inconsistent as always
5. Florida – 4 and 3 and one of the worst offenses in all of the NCAA
6. Texas A&M – two losses and one of the worst defenses in all of the NCAA

And here is a link to last week’s episode of my radio show – Sports Joc College Football Pre-View is every Friday 9a-10a EST on www.thesportsjoc.com:

What happened near the conference top?

Texas A&M can’t win in the West without a defense, even with Johnny Football.

LSU lost at Ole Miss and at Georgia and is too young to win big.

South Carolina lost at Georgia and then to a toughening Tennessee team.

Florida had a better record than team last year and Mizzou exposed them.

Alabama stands in contention to be the first repeat SEC champ since the Tee Martin quaterback-ed UT Vols won it all at the beginning of the BCS era, over a Mark Richt coached, hyped QB at FSU. FSU is finally a legit national title contender again. (I’d like their chances pretty well against Alabama.)

Your Georgia Bulldogs — NOT A CONTENDER and our big wins lessened by LSU and South Carolina stepping back. Our tough opening loss at Death Valley not such a “glamorous” loss after Clemson being exposed at home as light years behind Florida State, the ACC frontrunner. We lost to a non-champ in the ACC, the out of nowhere emerged Mizzou Tigers in the Midwest-cum-SEC East and for the first time in 22 long years (when I was 21 and at UGA) at Vanderbilt. Sure, we’d lost in Nashville while I watched in person before, but that was a Music City Bowl loss to Boston College in Richt’s first year as a head coach. That was a cold night on the river in the winter. Could we be destined for such greatness again this year?

The old article below shows how quickly SEC fates have shifted for all but Alabama:

“War Eagle!” #11 ~ “M-I-Z…Z-O-U” #5 — Bama, still #1

The SouthEastern Conference has 14 programs representing its member schools and has won 7 consecutive national championships. Average that out and half the schools have won recent rings.

They haven’t. LSU: one under crazy Les in 2007 (a 2-loss year which included a loss to Kentucky…in football) and one under little Nicky C’est Bon back in 2003 before the magical conference run. Florida: one with Touchdown Tebow starting and one with young White Bull Tebow coming off the bench as a true frosh runner. Auburn: one with pay-for-play daddy-did-it-not-me-no-evidence-suckers Scam at the reigns. Prior to the SEC run, Aubie went undefeated but got counseled out. BAMA – mighty, mighty Alabama has now won 3-of-4. LSU-1, UF-2, Aubie-1, Bama-3, so the state of Alabama has won 4-of-7 and four consecutive, while the rest of the conference has won less than half of the national titles. All highly unusual in college football history.

No program has won three consecutive national championships, and only three ever have won 3-of-4: Notre Dame in the mid-1940s, Nebraska in the mid-1990s and the current Tide program. No program ever has won 4-of-5. So, the Tide are really playing for the record books this year.

Looking a bit closer though we see that Bama is not nearly dominant the way say 34-wins consecutive USC was in the mid-2000s or the Big Red Machine was at Nebraska. Bama has dropped a divisional home game in three consecutive seasons and has only one undefeated team. Bama was beaten by Texas A&M last year at home and was a late play away from losing to the only other two notable conference opponents they faced (LSU and Georgia). Bama has also routinely failed to win the league in back-to-back years.

In fact, the last SEC program to repeat as league champions was Tennessee, in their only national title in relatively recent history. Peyton Manning never beat Florida and won the SEC exactly once, and the following year UT repeated and won it all. It was way back in 1998, in the first BCS championship game. They beat FSU, whose offense was coached by Mark Richt.

UGA was #2 once during the conference’s great run but failed to win the East that year. The UGA team with the best record (13-1) was actually way back in Richt’s second year Between the Hedges. The season prior, he had struggled badly with clock management and personally blew several close contests as a result. The year before that, he coached the FSU offense one final time, as they were totally shutdown and lost a national championship game to Stoops and Oklahoma. Richt has been there, but it has not exactly gone very well for him. FSU did take out Michael Vick in his lone college loss as a starting QB for the Seminoles single big crystal trophy. A Richt-coached offense was barely able to overcome 200 yards of dynamic rushing by Michael Vick in a second half losing performance for the ages.

Trivia: Last SEC Champ not to win it all? LSU just two seasons ago. Last SEC Champ to not even play for it all: GEORGIA.

According to some of the stats and true facts from above it is in many ways harder to win the SEC than the mythical national championship. Playoffs coming next year for the four media darlings of the season. (That bodes well for Bama getting in every year, considering their power, real and perceived, and their generally diluted annual schedule. Les was correct.)

Can Georgia win it all in 2013?

Six teams in the conference appear to have any shot at the trophy: BAMA, LSU, A&M, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Of those six teams, UGA has the most returning starters.

You want a dark horse to win the SEC: Ole Miss returns by far the most starters in our whole league and brings in the top recruits in the country for the open slots. That’d be something.

Oh, you Johnny Football. Now, the most-exciting player in college football looks like they did bad three years running: 1. Cam Newton, 2. The Honey Badger, 3. Johnny.

Johnny Football looks to be either done or out for half a year with the autograph sales. LSU lost 11 early to the NFL. Arkansas was #3 just two seasons ago but terrible last year. Auburn is still not so good. Miss State bottomed out after a good start last year. Ole Miss probably isn’t ready for the big time. That leaves Alabama from the SEC West.

Vandy is emerging but we beat them by 45 last year. Mizzou misses Kansas. Kentucky awaits Midnight Madness. Tennessee used to not be terrible. Florida had no offense last season. Carolina quietly lost most of their offensive and special teams playmakers. Dawgs have a real shot to do something unprecedented: win the East three years straight. And more???