College Football 2014: SEC Preseason Power Rankings
SEC Power Rankings
2014 College Football Preview
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Here are how the SEC college football power rankings shape up as we get ready for the 2014 season.
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1. Alabama Crimson Tide – Alabama has some concerns at quarterback and in the secondary, but the Crimson Tide have a loaded offense and a defense led by Nick Saban and his staff that is always playing at an elite level. You can nitpick the Crimson Tide’s squad but every true college football fan knows this team will be ready to compete for a championship once the season begins. Alabama is still the team to beat in the SEC.
2. Auburn Tigers – I do worry about the loss of Tre Mason considering he was Auburn’s workhorse last season but this team does return eight starters on the offensive side of the ball, including Nick Marshall at quarterback who is only going to improve. Auburn also has playmakers and leadership on defense that should help that side of the ball make positive strides. We saw what Gus Malzahn is capable of in one year, no reason to think he can’t do it again.
3. Georgia Bulldogs – Despite a new defensive coordinator, the Georgia Bulldogs return 10 defensive starters. There’s really no excuse for this defense to take another step in the right direction. Offensively, there may be no other team in the SEC that can compete with a backfield that includes Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Georgia has the SEC formula to win a lot of games this season. Expectations should be high for those Bulldogs.
4. South Carolina Bulldogs – Steve Spurrier has been working hard to get the South Carolina Gamecocks in contention for an SEC title. This could be the season. With an offense led by Mike Davis and an experienced quarterback in Dylan Thompson, the Gamecocks have pieces in place to be a balanced team. The defense did lose Jadeveon Clowney but has a reliable secondary and young pass rushers eager to prove themselves. The Gamecocks will remain in the conversation.
5. Mississippi Rebels – After a ridiculous recruiting class, the Ole Miss Rebels will have a chance to be one of the biggest surprises in college football. Bo Wallace may be the most underrated quarterback in the league, Laquan Treadwell is one of the biggest playmakers at wide receiver and a defense led by Robert Nkemdiche and company, the Rebels are a scary football team. I’m not ready to say Ole Miss can win the SEC just yet, but don’t be surprised if there’s an Auburn-like run with this squad.
6. LSU Tigers – The LSU Tigers have had a top-three defense in the SEC for four straight seasons. So, while some mention the amount of talent lost on that side of your ball, you can ignore it. That side will be ready to go when the season kicks off. It’s the concern on offense that keeps the LSU Tigers out of the top five. LSU is starting fresh at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Of course, those players stepping in are promising but there’s little time to iron out the wrinkles in SEC play. This will be an interesting year for LSU.
7. Florida Gators – Florida only won four games last year but this isn’t a team with four-win talent. The Gators will once again have a Top 10 defense in the country and just need their offense to average about three touchdowns per contest. The Gators elite defense will give them a chance to beat any team in the country, and a quicker paced offense should help balance things out. Don’t be surprised if Florida is pushing for the SEC East crown towards the end of the season.
8. Mississippi State Bulldogs - Dak Prescott. That’s all I really have to say. If you’re not familiar with the Mississippi State quarterback, you will be once this season gets underway. Prescott has the ability to lead the Bulldogs to a ton of wins this season kind of like a Johnny Manziel. The Bulldogs also return 16 starters, which is tied for the most in the SEC. Simply put, if Dan Mullen can’t win with this team than he’s likely looking for a new job at the end of the season.
9. Missouri Tigers – The Missouri Tigers lost a lot on both sides of the ball, including pretty much every productive receiver and DPOY in Michael Sam. Still, the Tigers should still be a team to watch out for as quarterback Maty Mauk proved he can make plays. Missouri also still has some talent along the defensive line and should remain an aggressive team that forces turnovers. Don’t expect another SEC Championship run, but Missouri won’t be a complete failure.
10. Texas A&M Aggies – Where soon going to find out what life is like without Johnny Football. All while that’s going to be the storyline for Texas A&M all season, the Aggies have to make drastic changes to their defense. Texas A&M was dead last in SEC defense last season, allowing 475 yards per game. Manziel or not, that number has to change if the Aggies are going to experience any success. Regardless of the situation, Texas A&M is bound to take a few steps back this season.
11. Vanderbilt Commodores – Vanderbilt’s bowl streak of three years is in serious danger of coming to an end. The Commodores watched head coach James Franklin leave for Penn State, and they also lost eight starters on defense. Derek Mason is a strong minded coach who should keep the confidence high, but the program must have patience. Seven returning starters on offense should at least help Vanderbilt stay competitive in most games.
12. Tennessee Volunteers – I really like the job head coach Butch Jones is doing in such a short amount of time. However, the Volunteers have to replace their entire offensive and defensive lines. When you consider the fact SEC success is determined in the trenches, Tennessee’s season is pretty much doomed from the start. With no leadership or experience on either line, the Vols will likely have to wait yet another season to return to a bowl game.
13. Arkansas Razorbacks – Arkansas has some pieces such as Alex Collins at running back and an experienced quarterback in Brandon Allen. The Razorbacks also return 15 starters from a year ago, which should also help. However, this is still an Arkansas team that was winless in the SEC and finished the year with nine straight losses. It’s going to take time for Bret Bielema’s master plan to start seeing results in Arkansas.
14. Kentucky Wildcats – When is Kentucky not at the bottom of college football rankings? Kentucky has won just four games in its last two seasons and simply doesn’t have enough difference makers to make a drastic improvement in one year. However, Mark Stoops is recruiting his tail off, so maybe there’s a bright light at the end of that tunnel after all.