Unlike years past, 2003 promises to be the year the West overtook the East. Auburn and LSU may be the 2 best teams in the SEC this year.
Auburn is loaded. there is no other way to say it. Their concensus pre-season top 5 rankings are real. They return the bulk of a very talented group from last year. The two questions I have about this team are: 1-Can they throw the ball as effectively as they want to? 2-Can Tubberville not screw this team up? I would respond with a yes to question #1. On the other hand, question #2 remains to be answered, in my view. Prediction: SEC West Champs.
LSU has as much talent as anyone in the SEC. They may be a year away from being a dominant player. Or, perhaps, just a quarterback away. Saban recruits! Saban coaches! This team will be good. Just how good depends upon QB Mauck. If Mauck regains his form ,and is healthy, these Tigers may just unseat the Aubbies. Prediction: SEC West #2.
Arkansas, last year's SEC West champion, returns the bulk of that team. The one dimensional offense just won't cut it this year. They can beat anyone in the SEC on a given day. Prediction: SEC West #3.
Ole Miss has Eli Manning. But, they also have Cut. Expect the offense to, once again, throw 35 times a game. Eli will have big numbers. The defense could stop no one last year, and the rushing game was non-existant. I suspect much of the same. Prediction: SEC West #4.
Mississippi State is a team in turmoil. Coach Sherill may be on his last leg in Starkvegas. A team that lacks in SEC talent, and under the direction of new offensive and defensive coordinators, this team is going nowhere fast. Prediction: SEC West #5.
Alabama, in my opinion, will destroy the dreams of some SEC clubs this year. They have talent, but no depth. Under a new Head Coach, and the fourth system in four years, this team may end up 9-3. But, they are not eligible for the SEC championship because of their probationary status. If this team would be eligible, I would have them ranked in the top 3 of the SEC West. The Tide better enjoy the wins this year. They will be harder to come by in future years.