Did SEC SIDs get their conference championship game right?


Believe it or not, we are basically a month away from fall practice beginning around the SEC.

It seems like only yesterday we were wondering which early enrollee would make an immediate impact at spring practice. And it feels like only 20 minutes ago we were surrounded by a heap of uncertainty at quarterback throughout the league.

Actually, we're still there with that last one.

With SEC football SIDs picking Auburn and Georgia to meet in Atlanta for the 2015 SEC championship game, we got to thinking if these guys got it right. Both of these teams are the trendy picks early on, but when you look around the league and you try to sift through all the questions, it's hard to argue with this pick.

Two of our SEC reporters decided to talk things out and discuss whether the SIDs got it right with the 2015 SEC title game.

Alex Scarborough: Auburn-Georgia is a good pick by the league's SIDs. In fact, it's the safest pick out there, in my estimation. Auburn's offense should be loaded once again, and all coordinator Will Muschamp has to do is coax a minimal improvement on defense to get a big impact. And as far as Georgia is concerned, just look at the East. I mean, come on. Tennessee is building toward winning the division, but it isn't there yet. Meanwhile, Georgia has the best player in the conference (Nick Chubb), a defense that's steadily improving under Jeremy Pruitt and a schedule that's fairly manageable with Louisiana-Monroe, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Southern University to start.

So with that said, I think you can safely assume who my East representative in the conference title game will be. I can't in good faith hope that all the dominoes will fall right for Tennessee, and as much as I'd like to trust Missouri to once again pull a rabbit out of the hat, I can't side with the Tigers either. I've got to go with Georgia. Even without an entrenched QB, I expect the Bulldogs to run away with the East.

But where I'll differ with the league's SIDs is when it comes to the West. I don't see Auburn as the clear-cut winner there. It wouldn't surprise me if Ole Miss stays healthy and wins it or even if Arkansas finds magic in a bottle and reaches Atlanta. LSU, if a QB emerges from the depths of Death Valley, could be a force to be reckoned with. That team is way too talented to fail to make it five years without a return trip to the Georgia Dome. My pick to represent the West, however, is none of those schools. It's Alabama. Three national championships and four consecutive top-ranked recruiting classes have bought them the benefit of the doubt, and then some.

I thought last season was when Alabama would stumble and lose the West. I thought Blake Sims wouldn't be good enough, the secondary would struggle and the schedule would get the best of the Tide. But I was wrong, and many of those same hang-ups I had then are there today. So I'll assume the secondary can't get any worse than it did against Auburn and Ohio State and let O-coordinator Lane Kiffin see what he can do with Jake Coker (or David Cornwell or Cooper Bateman or Alec Morris or Blake Barnett). I'll see what the rest of the West becomes, too, because it's hard to imagine the division being as strong top to bottom as it was last season.

While I'm not 100 percent sold on Alabama, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they found a way to stay atop the SEC. Sure, they have a lot of lingering questions, but they have a lot of answers too: an NFL-caliber middle linebacker with experience in Reggie Ragland; the best D-line in the conference; thunder and lightning at tailback in Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake; an underrated O-line that boasts a senior center in Ryan Kelly and one of the top underclassmen tackles in the nation in Cam Robinson. It's not a complete equation to reaching Atlanta, but I'd say that's a good start.

Edward Aschoff: I'm just going to keep this one short and sweet. Of course the SIDs got it right! We know the SEC doesn't have a dominant, standout team this season. That's OK, the league is still very strong, especially on the western side of the division. However, if you're asking me who are the best teams right now, well, I'm going with Auburn and Georgia.

For Auburn, the Tigers are going to have yet again another explosive and deadly offense, even without a run-first QB like Nick Marshall. What Jeremy Johnson lacks with his feet he more than makes up with his arm. He's a better pure passer than Marshall, and while he doesn't have the mettle Marshall did, that will come, especially when you consider the talent around him at receiver, running back and along the offensive line that will help him along the way.

Defensively, it's all about the Boom -- Coach Boom. Muschamp left Florida as one of the most sought-after defensive minds, and now he's taking over a horrid Tigers' defense that ranked in the bottom half of the SEC in total, passing, rushing and scoring defense last season. On name and philosophy alone, Muschamp already makes this defense better, especially when you consider he'll be very hands on with the secondary, and he gets a stud pass-rusher such as Carl Lawson back. Obviously, he has to do more than just stand there and scowl, but something tells me this defense will be muuuuuuch better than it's been the past two years.

As for Georgia, Alex nailed it. The East has too many questions, and the Bulldogs have the country's best running back and linebacker group, headlined by elite pass-rushers Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Floyd and Lorenzo Carter. Yes, Georgia needs to find a quarterback, but Brice Ramsey should eventually be fine, and that guy Chubb should more than carry his weight this fall.

Well done, SEC SIDs.