There is no question that the SEC is the best conference in college football. Seven straight national championships make that discussion moot.
Even with that being the case, the SEC we see this season will be, top to bottom, the most competitive and possibly the best we've seen during that streak. But while that might make the league seem like a lock to extend its title streak, the improvements we'll see from the conference this year could end up costing the SEC a potential eighth straight national championship. Here's why:
There are two significant reasons the SEC will be better this season: improved quarterback play throughout the conference and the league's perennial bottom-dwellers are losers no more. Let's take a look at each of these points.
First, quarterback is the most critical position in the game. A poor quarterback limits what you can do offensively and gives the defense a tremendous advantage. This has been one of the chief criticisms of the SEC. As good as the defenses have been in the SEC, it's been fair to point out that some of the defensive-oriented teams that have made a run to the BCS title game -- Alabama in 2009 and LSU in 2011 are two examples -- have benefited from not having to go against elite QB play on a weekly basis.
With the SEC featuring a stacked quarterback class in 2013 (more on that in a bit), what will that mean for the conference? The 2007 season provides us with a good example.
To read more of Rod Gilmore's SEC analysis, click here.