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Insider

You have questions? These Power 5 teams have answers

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Will Muschamp was hired to address Auburn's biggest weakness: generating a pass rush. Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports

In a couple of weeks, there’s a strong likelihood that Alabama will be named the favorite to win the league’s Western Division by the media at the conference's media days and, therefore, the SEC favorite, overall.

But why?

Take a look at the question marks and weaknesses. When you peel back the layers, it’s crystal clear that Auburn should be the runaway favorite in the division.

If the Tigers' perceived weakness from a year ago was their pass rush, they could not have addressed that any better than 1) getting back a healthy Carl Lawson, 2) signing a future star in Byron Cowart and 3) hiring the hottest free agent DC, Will Muschamp. The last time Muschamp was a coordinator, at Texas, the Longhorns led the country in sacks in a three-year span.

Replacing a two-year starting quarterback? Not a problem. Recall that Gus Malzahn had done that every year as a college coach until last season. Plus, most SEC coaches thought Jeremy Johnson would have (or should have) overtaken Nick Marshall last fall. Johnson’s ability as a passer has the league’s DCs buzzing this summer, that’s for sure.