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2013 SEC Football Preview

With about a month to go before the start of the 2013 college football season, I am unveiling my comprehensive SEC football preview.  Here it is:

Jay Dawg's 2013 SEC Preview


Lists

I like lists and you do to.  

Top 5 Best Fan Bases in the SEC

1. Alabama

2.  South Carolina

(Photo Via gamecocksonline.com)

3. LSU

4.  Texas A&M

(Photo via tamu.edu.com)

5. Georgia

Top 5 Loudest Stadiums 

1.  Tiger Stadium-LSU

(Photo by LSUsports.net)

2.  Williams-Brice Stadium-South Carolina

3.  Kyle Field-Texas A&M

Photo via AggieAthletics.com

4. Bryant-Denny Stadium-Alabama

5.  Neyland Stadium-Tennessee

Photo via UTsports.com

Top 5 Heisman Candidates from the SEC

1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

 


2. DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

 


3.  QB Aaron Murray, Georgia

4.  RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

 


5.  RB Todd Gurley, Georgia

 


The Teams

                                             

                                            Alabama Crimson Tide

 

Must Know

Location: Tuscaloosa, AL

Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium

Head Coach: Nick Saban

Offensive Coordinator: Doug Nussmeier

Defensive Coordinator: Kirby Smart

Returning Starters: 13

Notable Returnee:  QB AJ McCarron

Biggest Loss: C Barrett Jones

Newcomer to Watch: RB Derrick Henry (Yulee, FL)

Preview 

Nick Saban has stopped smiling.  After winning back-to-back national titles for the first time in the history of the BCS and 3 of the last 4 BCS Titles, it's nose to the grindstone again.  The 2013 season is almost here, and Saban is a control freak.  (I mean that in a good way.)  The man can flat out recruit, motivate, and coach his team.  The results are evident on the field.  

Alabama returns QB AJ McCarron to lead the Tide offense, RB T.J. Yeldon who rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2012, WR Amari Cooper, and LB C.J. Mosley.  Alabama loses All-American center Barrett Jones, OG Chance Warmack, OT D.J. Fluker, NT Jesse Williams, CB Dee Milliner, and RB Eddie Lacy among others.  On the bright side, Alabama still has boatloads of talent.  Kudos to Nick Saban.  

Bottom Line:  The Tide aren't looking back from the two straight BCS rings and continue striving torward being a modern-day dynasty. 

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB AJ McCarron

Defensive MVP: LB C.J Mosley

2013 Schedule:

8/31: Virginia Tech (Atlanta, GA)

9/7: BYE

9/14: @Texas A&M*

9/21: Colorado State

9/28: Ole Miss

10/5: Georgia State

10/12: @Kentucky

10/19: Arkansas

10/26: Tennessee

11/2: BYE

11/9: LSU

11/16: @Mississippi State

11/23: Chattanooga

11/30: @Auburn

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                             

                                                 Arkansas Razorbacks

 

Must Know

Location: Fayettville, AR

Stadium: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium

Head Coach: Bret Bielema

Offensive Coordinator: Jim Chaney

Defensive Coordinator: Chris Ash

Returning Starters: 11

Notable Returnee: C Travis Swanson

Biggest Loss: WR Cobi Hamilton

Newcomer to Watch: RB Alex Collins

Preview

Arkansas had a dissapointing season in 2012 to say the least.  From the Bobby Petrino firing, to the hiring of interim head coach John L. Smith, to a loss against Louisiana-Monroe, the 2012 campaign was mediocre at best.  Arkansas released John L. Smith and hired former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema.  Bielema will bring his physical, smash mouth style to Arkansas.  The Razorbacks returns most notably Senior center Travis Swanson who is a Rimington Trophy candidate.  Swanson is a perfect fit in Bielema's physical offensive philosophy.  Arkansas returns RB Johnathan Williams and tough FB Kiero Small who should thrive under the new offensive approach.  Don't count out Arkansas' passing game which is led by QB Brandon Allen.  Allen has talent, but he has got to prove it this season.  Another strength is an experianced defensive line.  

Bottom Line: Arkansas' transition back to SEC contention will take some time.  Fans need to be patient.  Bielema is a winner.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP:  C Travis Swanson

Defensive MVP: DE Chris Smith

2013 Schedule:

8/31: Louisiana-Lafayette

9/7: Samford (Little Rock, AR)

9/14: Southern Mississippi

9/21: @Rutgers

9/28: Texas A&M*

10/5: @Florida

10/12: South Carolina

10/19: @Alabama

10/26: BYE

11/2: Auburn

11/9: @Ole Miss

11/16: BYE

11/24: Mississippi State (Little Rock, AR)

11/39: @LSU

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                                      

                                                        Auburn Tigers

 

Must Know

Location: Auburn, AL

Stadium: Jordan O'Hare Stadium

Head Coach: Gus Malzahn

Offensive Coordinator: Rhett Lashlee

Defensive Coordinator: Ellis Johnson

Returning Starters: 15

Notable Returnee: RB Tre Mason

Biggest Loss: DE Corey Lemonier

Newcomer to Watch: RB Cameron Artis-Payne

Preview

After an abyssmal 3-9 record in 2012 including not winning an SEC game, the Tigers need help.  There is no one better to do the job than Gus Malzahn.  Malzahn was the offensive coordinator at Auburn in the Tigers' national championship season in 2010-11.  Malzahn is a play-calling genius known for his dangerous spread attack.  Auburn returns one of the most underatted rushers in RB Tre Mason.  Mason ran for over 1,000 yards despite Auburn's pass game being virtually non-existent.  Auburn has a great football player in JUCO RB Cameron Artis-Payne.  HB/TE C.J. Uzomah has a ton of upside at and should fill the void left by Philip Lutzenkirchen.   The biggest question on offense is quarterback.  Will the starter be veteran Kiehl Frazier, Sophomore Jonathan Wallace, JUCO QB Nick Marshall, or incoming 4-star QB Jeremy Johnson.  One glaring weakness is the defense.  Ellis Johnson has the tough job of coaching the veteran but mediocre defense.  He has great incoming talent in 5-star defensive linemen in Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams.   

Bottom Line: Malzahn should at least make Auburn's offense dangerous in year 1.  There is rebuilding to do.   But Auburn looks to be going in the right direction.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP: RB Tre Mason

Defensive MVP: DE Dee Ford

2013 Schedule

8/31: Washington State

9/7: Arkansas State

9/14: Mississippi State*

9/21: @LSU

9/28: BYE

10/5: Ole Miss

10/12: Western Carolina

10/19: @Texas A&M

10/26: Florida Atlantic

11/2: @Arkansas

11/9: @Tennessee

11/16: Georgia

11/23: BYE

11/30: Alabama

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                                         

                                                        Florida Gators

 

Must Know

Location: Gainsville, FL

Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Head Coach: Will Muschamp

Offensive Coordinator:  Brent Pease

Defensive Coordinator: D.J. Durkin

Returning Starters: 10

Notable Returnee: CB Loucheiz Purifoy

Biggest Loss: RB Mike Gillislee

Best Newcomer: DB Vernon Hargraves III

Preview

Will Muschamp has done an exceptional job at Florida.  Despite fielding a mediocre offense, Muschamp led the Gators to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl appearance.  Muschamp was a former defensive back at Georgia and sure knows his defense.  In his 3 seasons at UF, Muschamp's defense was in the top 10 in college football.  Muschamp is an incredible recruiter and the results are evident.  The Gators' D returns CB Loucheiz Purifoy, DT Dominique Easley, DE Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB Ronald Powell, LB Antonio Morrison, and CB Marcus Robinson amoung others.  The defense will be fine even with the losses of S Matt Elam, DT Sharrif Floyd, and LB Jon Bostic.  Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease need to focus on revamping the Gators' offensive attack. The Gators lose key players on an offense that had trouble scoring in 2012 in 1,000 yard rusher Mike Gillislee and TE Jordan Reed.  QB Jeff Driskel returns as the experianced leader of the offense.  The lack of talented WRs is forcing CB Loucheiz Purifoy to play some at receiver.  RB Trey Burton is a versitle player that is dangerous whenever he touches the football.  Florida returns a physical runner in Matt Jones at RB who should pick up the slack left be Gillislee's departure.  One of the class of 2013's top RBs, Kelvin Taylor, should see playing time.  

Bottom Line: Florida will field a talented defense in 2013.  If the Gators can find a way to score with consistency, they could reach ATL in 2013.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP: RB Matt Jones

Defensive MVP: CB Loucheiz Purifoy

2013 Schedule

8/31: Toledo

9/7: @Miami

9/14: BYE

9/21: Tennessee

9/28: @Kentucky

10/5: Arkansas

10/12: @LSU

10/19: @Missouri

10/26: BYE

11/2: Georgia (Jacksonville, FL)*

11/9: Vanderbilt

11/16: @South Carolina

11/23: Georgia Southern

11/30: Florida State

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                                Georgia Bulldogs

 

Must Know

Location: Athens, GA

Stadium: Sanford Stadium

Head Coach: Mark Richt 

Offensive Coordinator: Mike Bobo

Defensive Coordinator: Todd Grantham

Returning Starters: 15

Notable Returnee: QB Aaron Murray

Biggest Loss: LB Jarvis Jones

Best Newcomer: S Tray Matthews

Preview

Georgia will have one of the top offenses in college football.  Senior QB Aaron Murray leads an offense  filled with weapons.  Georgia returns standout Sophmores in RB Todd Gurley who ammassed 1, 385 yards and 17 touchdowns and RB Keith Marshall who added another 759 yards.  Georgia has a deep wide receiving corps including the underrated, talented speedster in Malcom Mitchell, reliable target Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Rantavius Wooten, and Rhett McGowan among others.  Georgia also has one of the best tight end duos in the nation in Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome.  Georgia's young offensive line had a solid 2012 and will be a team strength in 2013.  A plus will be added depth on the O-line.  

The defensive side of the ball is the big question mark in 2013.  The defense lost multiple talented players in 2012 including All-American OLB Jarvis Jones, ILB Alec Ogletree, FS Bacarri Rambo, SS Shawn Williams, and CB Sanders Commings.  Georgia does return some starting experiance in OLB Jordan Jenkins who looks like Todd Grantham's next great OLB, ILB Amarlo Herrera, DE Garrison Smith, and CB Damian Swann.  Georgia's defensive line has a lot of promising talent but largley inexperiance.  The key bonus from last year's defensive line and unit as a whole is Georgia will have good depth in 2013.  Mark Richt and Todd Grantham have both said although the defense won't be as big it could be more athletic and faster.  

Bottom Line: Georgia's offense led by Murray will thrive.  The first few games will be key to the Bulldogs' season in 2013.  Hopefully, the offense can carry the team while the defense goes through some early growing pains.

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB Aaron Murray

Defensive MVP: OLB Jordan Jenkins

2013 Schedule

8/31: @Clemson

9/7: South Carolina*

9/14: BYE

9/21: North Texas

9/28: LSU

10/5: @Tennessee

10/12: Missouri

10/19: @Vanderbilt

10/26: BYE

11/2: Florida (Jacksonville, FL)

11/9: Appalachian State

11/16: @Auburn

11/23: Kentucky

11/30: @Georgia Tech

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                                 Kentucky Wildcats

 

Must Know

Location: Lexington, KY

Stadium: Commonwealth Stadium

Head Coach: Mark Stoops

Offensive Coordinator: Neal Brown

Defensive Coordinator: D.J. Eliot

Returning Starters: 10

Notable Returnee: LB Avery Williamson

Biggest Loss: OG Larry Warford

Best Newcomer: DE Za'Darius Smith 

Preview

After a 2-10 debacle under Joker Philips in 2012, Mark Stoops, former Florida State defensive coordinator in 2012, was hired by the University of Kentucky as head coach.  Mark's brothers and father were and are football coaches.  Mark's brother Bob is a very successful head coach at Oklahoma and his brother Mike was formerly the head coach at Arizona a few years ago.  Mark Stoops is a great defensive coach who led Florida State to one of the best defenses in the nation in 2011 and #2 overall in 2012.  Stoops did a good job in his short time recruiting the class of 2013 and hauled in the #29 overall class in the nation.  That's very good for UK.  Currently, Kentucky also has the #3 class in 2014 as of Rivals.com.  The Kentucky fans certainly showed some excitement this offseason with over 50,000 fans showing up for the spring game.   Don't be fooled, Kentucky will have a lot of work to do to rebuild, but Stoops looks like the guy to do it.  Coach Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown will install an air raid offense at Kentucky.  The return of Pro-style QB Maxwell Smith should fit well in this offense, but don't count out dual-threat QB Jalen Whitlow because the coaches are high on him and should be the starter.  The Wildcats also return capable rushing duo in RB Raymond Sanders and Josh Clemons.  

A highlight on defense is Senior DT Mister Cobble, promising JUCO DE Za'Darius Smith, and SEC second leading tackler Avery Williamson.

Bottom Line: Kentucky has a lot of rebuilding to do, but the program is in good shape with Stoops' recruiting and coaching prowess.  4-8 would be a success in 2013.

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB Jalen Whitlow

Defensive MVP: LB Avery Williamson

2013 Schedule:

8/31: Western Kentucky*

9/7: Miami (OH)

9/14: Louisville

9/21: BYE

9/28: Florida

10/5: @South Carolina

10/12: Alabama

10/19: BYE

10/24: @Mississippi State

11/2: Alabama State

11/9: Missouri

11/16: @Vanderbilt

11/23: @Georgia

11/30:  Tennessee

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                                               


                                                              LSU Tigers

 

Must Know

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Stadium: Tiger Stadium

Head Coach: Les Miles

Offensive Coordinator: Cam Cameron

Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis

Returning Starters: 9

Notable Returnee: RB Jeremy Hill

Biggest Loss: DE Sam Montgomery

Best Newcomer: QB Anthony Jennings

Preview

Les Miles, aka "The Mad Hatter," certainly has had a great coaching career at LSU with an 85-21 overall record.  Last season, LSU had a lack of balance to say the least on offense.  Miles loves to pound the football and has many talented backs in RB Jeremy Hill, RB Alfred Blue, RB Kenny Hilliard, and FB J.C. Copeland.  Jeremy Hill's eligibility is a big question though.  The hiring of former Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator Cam Cameron should bring balance to the LSU offense.  The passing game should thrive with veteran QB Zach Mettenberger, WR Jarvis Landry, and WR Odell Beckham Jr.  

On defense, John Chavis has a tough job in rebuilding the Tigers' defense that lost 8 starters including DE Barkevious Mingo, DE Sam Montgomery, and LB Kevin Minter.  LSU still has a lot of talent on defense because of Les Miles's great recruiting.  LSU returns DE Jermauria Rasco, DT Anthony Johnson, CB Jalen Mills, CB Jalen Collins, LB Lamin Barrow, and SS Craig Loston among others.  

Bottom Line: LSU's defense will be fine, even if they are not as exceptional as last season.  LSU's offense should be dangerous in 2013.  Les Miles and LSU will again be in SEC contention.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB Zach Mettenberger

Defensive MVP: DE Jermauria Rasco

2013 Schedule

8/31: TCU (Arlington, TX)

9/7: UAB

9/14: Kent State

9/21: Auburn

9/28: @Georgia

10/5: @Mississippi State

10/12: Florida

10/19: @Ole Miss

10/26: Furman

11/2: BYE

11/9: Alabama*

11/16: BYE

11/23: Texas A&M

11/29: Arkansas

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                  

                                                        Ole Miss Rebels

 

Must Know

Location: Oxford, MS

Stadium: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Head Coach: Hugh Freeze

Offensive Coordinators: Dan Werner and Matt Luke

Defensive Coordinators: Dave Wommack and Jason Jones

Returning Starters: 16

Notable Returnee: QB Bo Wallace

Biggest Loss: RB/WR Randall Mackey

Best Newcomer: DE Robert Nkemdiche

Preview

Ole Miss has some high expectations coming into 2013.  Hugh Freeze did a very good job at Ole Miss although the Rebels had a 7-6 record (3-5 in the SEC).  This is certainly impressive considering Ole Miss had a 2-10 record under the Houston Nutt regime in 2011.  Freeze is not only a good coach but also a great recruiter.  He had the #4 overall class of 2013 in the nation as of Rivals.com.   The Rebs landed the nations' #1 overall prospect in the nation in DE Robert Nkemdiche, 5-star OL Laremy Tunsil, and 5-star WR Laquon Treadwell among others.  

On offense Ole Miss returns 8 starters including QB Bo Wallace, RB Jeff Scott, and WR Donte Moncrief.  The spread attack brought in by Freeze has really worked at Ole Miss.  This unit shows a lot of promise.

On defense, Ole Miss returns 8 starters including LB Mike Marry, LB Denzel Nkemdiche, and S Cody Prewitt.  A guy to watch is DE Robert Nkemdiche who was the #1 recruit, and he will start right away.  

Bottom Line: Because of the surprise success in 2012 and recruiting, the expectations for Ole Miss are high.  The fans need to be patient because Ole Miss will not be able to compete for ATL this season.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB Bo Wallace

Defensive MVP: LB Denzel Nkemdiche

2013 Schedule

8/29: @Vanderbilt

9/7: Southeast Missouri

9/14: @Texas

9/21: BYE

9/28: @Alabama

10/5: @Auburn*

10/12: Texas A&M

10/19: LSU

10/26: Idaho

11/9: Arkansas

11/16: Troy

11/23: Missouri

11/28: @Mississippi State

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                             


                                                  Mississippi State Bulldogs

 

Must Know

Location: Starkville, MS

Stadium: Davis-Wade Stadium

Head Coach: Dan Mullen

Offensive Coordinator: Les Koenning

Defensive Coordinator: Geoff Collins

Returning Starters: 12

Notable Returnee: RB LaDarius Perkins

Biggest Loss: WR Chad Bumphis

Best Newcomer: DE Chris Jones

Preview

Dan Mullen's last 6 games in 2012 were largley a disappointment.  After starting the season out with a 7-0 record, the Bulldogs lost 38-7 at Alabama, 38-13 vs. Texas A&M, 37-17 at LSU, 41-24 at Ole Miss, and a Gator Bowl loss to Northwestern.  The only bright spot was a 45-14 win over Arkansas.  Mullen has done a good job in Starkville but looks to take that next step to contending in the SEC.

On offense, Ole Miss returns veteran QB Tyler Russell, 1,000+ yard rusher in La'Darius Perkins, WR Jameon Lewis, and LG Gabe Jackson among others.  Key loss on offense is ultra-talented WR Chad Bumphis and fellow pass catcher Arceto Clark.  

On defense, Ole Miss returns DE Denico Autry, LB Benardrick McKinney, and FS Nickoe Whitley among others.  

Bottom Line: Mississippi State has a brutal schedule but has good leadership in QB Tyler Russell.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP: RB La'Darius Perkins

Defensive MVP: LB Benardrick McKinney

2013 Schedule

8/31: Oklahoma State (Houston, TX)

9/7: Alcorn State

9/14: @Auburn*

9/21:  Troy

10/5: LSU

10/12: Bowling Green

10/24: Kentucky

11/2: @South Carolina

11/9: @Texas A&M

11/16: Alabama

11/23: @Arkansas

11/28: Ole Miss

*Jay Dawg's Key Game



Missouri Tigers

 

Must Know

Location: Columbia, MO

Stadium: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field

Head Coach: Gary Pinkel

Offensive Coordinator: Josh Henson

Defensive Coordinator: Dave Steckel

Returning Starters: 15

Notable Returnee: QB James Franklin

Biggest Loss: DT Sheldon Richardson

Best Newcomer: DB Duron Singleton

Preview

The Missouri Tigers' first season in the SEC was rocky at best.  The fans had a lot of expectations for Mizzou, but after a 5-7 record and missing a bowl for the first time since 2004, Missouri found out how tough it is to win in the SEC.  Missouri fans, get over it! This is the SEC.  It's a step below the NFL.  

On offense, Missouri returns 8  starters including dual-threat QB James Franklin who battled injuries in 2012, highly-touted former Freshman WR Dorial Green-Beckham, WR L'Damian Washington, and WR  Marcus Lucas.  

On defense, the Tigers have 6 returnees including DE Michael Sam, DE Kony Ealy, LB Andrew Wilson, and LB Donovan Bonner.  

Bottom Line: Gary Pinkel should have a slightly improved team this year and Mizzou should be bowl eligible especially if James Franklin stays healthy.  Can't contend for an SEC title though.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB James Franklin

Defensive MVP: DE Michael Sam

2013 Schedule

8/31: Murray State

9/7: Toledo

9/14: BYE

9/21: @Indiana

9/28: Arkansas State

10/5: @Vanderbilt*

10/12: @Georgia

10/19: Florida

10/26: South Carolina

11/2: Tennessee

11/9: @Kentucky

11/16: BYE

11/23: @Ole Miss

11/30: Texas A&M

*Jay Dawg's Key Game



                                                     South Carolina

 

Must Know

Location: Columbia, SC

Stadium: Williams-Brice Stadium

Head Coach: Steve Spurrier

Offensive Coordinator: Steve Spurrier Jr./Shawn Elliot

Defensive Coordinator: Lorenzo Ward

Returning Starters: 12

Notable Returnee: DE Jadeveon Clowney

Biggest Loss: RB Marcus Lattimore

Best Newcomer: LB Larenz Bryant

Preview

Steve Spurrier knows how to recruit.  In fact, the Ole Ball Coach knows how to win.  Spurrier is great at developing talent.  That's why the Gamecocks have had two straight double-digit win seasons for the first time in school history.  

On offense, SC returns underatted, dual-threat QB Connor Shaw as well as competent passer in QB Dylan Thompson.  Like last season, the Gamecocks will run a two-quarterback system.  The offense also returns leading reciever Bruce Ellington, WR Damiere Byrd, and TB Mike Davis.  Spurrier believes that Carolina's got a great back in Mike Davis.  Davis should fill the gaping hole in RB Marcus Lattimore.  South Carolina will also severely miss WR/Special Teams threat Ace Sanders.

On the defensive side of the ball, DC Lorenzo Ward is a very underrated assistant.  He had the #3 defense in the nation in 2011 and the #11 in 2012.  He also had one-man wrecking crew Jadeveon Clowney.  In addition to Clowney, South Carolina returns notably DE Chaz Sutton and DT Kelcy Quarles but loses LB Shaq Wilson, DE Devin Taylor, and FS D.J. Swearinger among others.  

Bottom Line: Carolina's future looks bright under Spurrier.  With Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw leading the Gamecocks, South Carolina is a legit contender in the SEC in 2013.  They should have an easier path to the Georgia Dome with an easier SEC slate than Georgia.  It was the exact opposite last season.  

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB Connor Shaw

Defensive MVP: DE Jadeveon Clowney

2013 Schedule

8/29: North Carolina

9/7: @Georgia*

9/14: Vanderbilt

9/21: BYE

9/28: @UCF

10/5: Kentucky

10/12: @Arkansas

10/19: @Tennessee

10/26: @Missouri

11/2: Mississippi State

11/9: BYE

11/16: Florida

11/23: Coastal Carolina

11/30: Clemson

*Jay Dawg's Key Game



                                                 Tennessee Volunteers

 

Must Know

Location: Knoxville, TN

Stadium: Neyland Stadium

Head Coach: Butch Jones

Offensive Coordinator: Mike Bajakian

Defensive Coordinator: John Jancek

Returning Starters: 15

Notable Returnee: LB A.J. Johnson

Biggest Loss: WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Best Newcomer: WR MarQuez North

Preview

Butch Jones looks like the guy to lead Tennessee back to the glory days of the 90s. Jones is doing great on the recruiting trail thus far with the #1 class of 2014 currently.  Tennessee had a very good offense last season, but they lose key offensive weapons in QB Tyler Bray, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Justin Hunter, and TE Michael Rivera.  Tennessee returns two quality RBs in Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane.  UT will also field what should be a great offensive line that includes veteran offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James and fellow talented OT Tiny Richardson.  The defense returns LB A.J. Johnson and a solid defensive line.  

Bottom Line: It will take at least several years before the Vols can be a factor in the SEC race. 

Offensive MVP: RB Rajion Neal

Defensive MVP: LB A.J. Johnson

2013 Schedule

8/31: Austin Peay

9/7: Western Kentucky

9/14: @Oregon

9/21: @Florida

9/28: South Alabama

10/5: Georgia*

10/12: BYE

10/19: South Carolina

10/26: @Alabama

11/2: @Missouri

11/9: Auburn

11/16: BYE

11/23: Vanderbilt

11/30: @Kentucky

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                                Texas A&M Aggies

 

Must Know

Location: College Station, TX

Stadium: Kyle Field

Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin

Offensive Coordinator: Clarence McKinney

Defensive Coordinator: Mark Snyder

Returning Starters: 11

Notable Returnee: QB Johnny Manziel

Biggest Loss: DE Damontre Moore

Best Newcomer: DT Justin Manning 

Preview

The Aggies had a very successful first year in the SEC.  QB Johnny Manziel came out of nowhere and won the Heisman and led A&M to upset #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and to an 11-2 record.  Johnny Manziel is a lethal dual-threat weapon.  Mike Evans returns as Manziel's go to receiver.  Texas A&M has a talented back field which includes of course Manziel, RB Ben Malena, RB Brandon Williams, and RB Trey Williams.  The offensive line loses standout OT Luke Joeckel but returns talented OT Jake Matthews.  

On defense, A&M loses the #1 playmaker in DE Damontre Moore but retain LB Steven Jenkins who had 79 tackles last season.  The defense is the big question mark.  The offense should be one of the top units in college football.

Bottom Line: The Aggies will put up points and should be able to contend for a BCS title.  Thank you, Johnny Football.

Predictions

Offensive MVP: QB Johnny Manziel

Defensive MVP: LB Steven Jenkins

2013 Schedule

8/31: Rice

9/7: Sam Houston State

9/14: Alabama*

9/21: SMU

9/28: @Arkansas

10/5: BYE

10/12: @Ole Miss

10/19: Auburn

10/26: Vanderbilt

11/2: UTEP

11/9: Mississippi State

11/16: BYE

11/23: @LSU

11/30: @Missouri

*Jay Dawg's Key Game

                                                        Vanderbilt Commodores

 

Must Know

Location: Nashville, TN

Stadium: Vanderbilt Stadium

Head Coach: James Franklin

Offensive Coordinator: John Donovan

Defensive Coordinator: Bob Shoop

Returning Starters: 15

Notable Returnee: WR Jordan Matthews

Biggest Loss: RB Zac Stacy

Best Newcomer: DT Jay Woods

Preview

What happened to SEC cellar-dweller Vanderbilt? James Franklin has done a great job as head coach at Vanderbilt taking them two straight bowls for the first time in school history including beating NC State in the Music City Bowl.  Expectations at Vandy are highest in a long time.  Can Vandy take the next step and be a factor in the SEC race?

Although the loss of QB Jordan Rogers and RB Zach Stacy stings, the Commodores still have a talented dual-threat QB in Austyn Carta-Samuels.  At running back, Vandy returns their 2nd leading rusher of 2012 in Brian Kimbrow.  At wide receiver, Vanderbilt has playmakers in one of the top pass catchers in the nation in Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd who had 50 catches for 774 yards and 5 TDs in 2012.  

Vanderbilt's D has quietly been in the top 20 in total defense in the nation.  Vanderbilt won't look back even with losing 5 starters.  

Bottom Line: Franklin knows how to recruit players, develop players, and win.  Can they take the next step?

Predictions

Offensive MVP: WR Jordan Matthews

Defensive MVP: LB Darreon Herring

2013 Schedule

8/29: Ole Miss

9/7: Austin Peay

9/14: @South Carolina*

9/21: @UMass

9/28: UAB

10/5: Missouri

10/12: BYE

10/19: @Florida

10/26: @Texas A&M

11/2: BYE

11/9: @Florida

11/16: Kentucky

11/23: @Tennessee

11/30: Wake Forest

*Jay Dawg's Key Game


All-SEC Team

Offense                         Defense

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M           DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

RB Todd Gurley, Georgia                       DT Anthony Johnson, LSU 

RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama                        DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina

WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt          DE Ronald Powell, Florida

WR Amari Cooper, Alabama                   LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia

TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia                       LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

C Travis Swanson, Arkansas                  LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee

OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M               CB Damian Swann, Georgia

OL Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama                CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

OL John Theus, Georgia                           S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

OL Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State        S Craig Loston, LSU



Predicted SEC Standings


SEC Champion: Georgia Bulldogs

          West                                                                East

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0)               1. Georgia Bulldogs (12-0)

2. Texas A&M Aggies (10-2)                      2. South Carolina (11-1)

3.  LSU Tigers (9-3)                                     3. Florida Gators (9-3)

4.  Ole Miss Rebels (9-3)                             4. Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4)

5.  Mississippi State Bulldogs(6-6)            5. Missouri Tigers (6-6)

6. Auburn Tigers (5-7)                                 6. Tennessee Volunteers (5-7)

7. Arkansas Razorbacks (4-8)                    7. Kentucky Wildcats (2-10)



Bowl Projections

BCS Title: Georgia 

Sugar: South Carolina

Capital One: Alabama

Outback: Texas A&M 

Cotton Bowl: LSU 

Chick-Fil-A: Florida

Gator: Ole Miss

Liberty: Vanderbilt

Music City: Mississippi State

BBVA Compass: Missouri


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