It's not just about Florida: SEC Conference Preview

Hedges, pretty co-eds, jorts, and monster-sized stadiums.....that's the SEC for you. Oh, and they play some pretty good football, too.

A quick few words about Florida

Very. Good. Indeed. Preseason ranked No.1. Tim Tebow. Brandon Spikes. Great Defense. National Championships. Favourites to repeat in 2009. Big game on the road at LSU.

Is Ole Miss for real?

This is the dark horse for the SEC, although this dark horse may well come in second - by a mile to the Gators - when all is said and done. Jevan Snead's a darned good quarterback, and Houston Nutt's ultra confident that his team can be even better than last year. Watch out on the offensive side of Dexter McCluster, who's a threat running and rushing. The schedule will help: monster games at home to Alabama and LSU should make this team viable. If they beat one of those, they've already exceeded the VFA's expectations.

And LSU?

Jordan Jefferson is a talented quarterback, and they still have a ton of speed on both sides of the ball. If Jefferson can pull it off and WR Brandon LaFell has a big year, then this might just be the team to upset Florida this year. They may well be the team that upsets the Gators this year, too. As for winning the SEC West, it's going to be a toss-up between the Tigers, Ole Miss and....

Alabama

That's right - Alabama. So badly have the Crimson Tide been underrated before the start of the season for a while, that the critics cried: "You won't fool me again!" and now they are pre-ranked No.5. Yes, the 'D' is crazy good but there are still a few worries about their offensive line. Oh, and at quarterback, too.

Meanwhile, in Auburn....

Gene Chizik will survive his first season in charge of 'War Eagle', but only just. The fans aren't going to like what's going on in Auburn (particularly when the lose their second straight to 'Bama), but the school will talk about 'rebuilding' (a lot) and GC will keep his 401K.

How is Lane Kiffin going to fare?

Well, new Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has been talking about "new attitudes" and he's been recruiting well. He's obviously eager to get the team winning the SEC East again, but it won't be this year. Why? Firstly, his new nemesis, Urban Meyer will beat him (and everyone else in the division!) and secondly, injuries have absolutely ravaged his wide receiving corps. But expect them to go bowling (7-5) though - even if it isn't a great one.

Georgia on our minds....

Athens on our mind simply because we're hitting up the prettiest town in the SEC for the game against LSU. Frankly, we're praying for a night game, because that would be a blast. Fifth-year quarterback Joe Cox has tongues wagging, and he'll have AJ Greene, who's a tall and fast target for him to hit. Georgia's defensive line is much vaunted, and we'll see how good they are when they play Oklahoma State on the road. I predict a 10-2 year this year (with losses to Florida and Oklahoma State).

The rest?

Vanderbilt
had a great 2008 (by their standards), but it's hard to see the Commodores winning more than five games this year......Kentucky won't be anything special, and South Carolina need Stephen Garcia to shake off a woeful 2008 for the Gamecocks to compete in 2009. Oh, and we're ignoring Mississippi State for good reason. They'll be lucky if they win three games this year. Arkansas, however, will be much better. Ryan Mallett will lead these guys to a 7-5 record - even if they don't really play anybody good until their SEC opener with Gawgia.

And more importantly.....

Best fans

The noise in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is enough to give anyone a headache. We still love the 'You Suck' chant at South Carolina. Best co-ed prize goes to Ole Mississippi (although Florida's pretty close behind).

Best tailgate

You can't get better than tailgating on the North Lawn at the University of Georgia. It's an experience you have to do once in your life.

Expect this sort of game when Florida visits LSU this year