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After last week’s Southeastern Conference teleconference, colleague Andrea Adelson from the College Gridiron blog brought up a good point.
People still love talking about the Gators and the Tide.
Urban Meyer still has the Gators in prime position to win the SEC East
Several questions to SEC coaches focused on whether Florida and Alabama will stay on top. ESPN’s Chris Low calls this the Gator-Tide duopoly. The last two SEC champions are still projected as winners of the East and West divisions despite Florida replacing its best player at almost every position and Alabama losing nine returning defensive starters.
This gives many SEC coaches encouragement to knock off the mighty favorites.
“Even teams not dominant early in the season can still believe that if they win home games and steal 1-2 on road, they can win their side of the conference,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen told me recently. “It’s right there for you. That’s the beauty of this league.”
I agree with that logic in an SEC schedule that’s too difficult to allow teams to stay on top forever. I’m just not sure if that logic will apply to 2010.
Just take a look at the SEC East for Exhibit A. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’’s Mr. College Football, Tony Barnhart, predicts the Gators will win the East. There’s no legitimate argument that another team will knock off Florida unless the Gators truly unravel under John Brantley.
South Carolina is my No. 2 in the league because they return 15 starters and third-year QB Stephen Garcia, even if Steve Spurrier’s down on his signal-caller. But when’s the last time South Carolina won more than nine games? That’s 1984.
Georgia must find a new quarterback and loses six starters on a defense that had plenty of trouble last year, while
Alabama's Nick Saban has the Tide poised for another title run
Tennessee is basically starting over under Derek Dooley.
In the West, Arkansas and Auburn will be improved, but both programs are a year away from supplanting Alabama. Bobby Petrino will have the league’s best offense at Arkansas, but the Razorbacks don’t have enough playmakers.
For 2010, Florida and Alabama are still two of the biggest targets in the game.