Introducing your SEC All-Star teams
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
My Big Ten colleague at ESPN.com, Adam Rittenberg, came up with a terrific idea Tuesday in keeping with the spirit of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Of course, all of his ideas are terrific. He's a Northwestern graduate.
What he did was pick his own Big Ten All-Star football team heading into the 2009 season and split it into two teams.
The baseball game's over, and the American League won ... again. But it's not too late to follow suit and pick an SEC All-Star team pitting the Eastern Division against the Western Division.
Just like the real thing, every team in the league has to be represented, and a player must have played in an SEC game to be eligible.
So here goes:
QB: Tim Tebow (Florida)
RB: Montario Hardesty (Tennessee), Chris Rainey (Florida)
WR: A.J. Green (Georgia), Randall Cobb (Kentucky)
ALL-PURPOSE: Jeffery Demps (Florida)
TE: Aaron Hernandez (Florida)
C: Bradley Vierling (Vanderbilt)
OL: Clint Boling (Georgia), Maurkice Pouncey (Florida), Mike Pouncey (Florida), Trinton Sturdivant (Georgia)
DE: Carlos Dunlap (Florida), Eric Norwood (South Carolina)
DT: Geno Atkins (Georgia), Dan Williams (Tennessee)
LB: Rennie Curran (Georgia), Micah Johnson (Kentucky), Brandon Spikes (Florida)
CB: Joe Haden (Florida), Trevard Lindley (Kentucky)
S: Eric Berry (Tennessee), Ahmad Black (Florida)
K: Jonathan Phillips (Florida)
P: Chas Henry (Florida)
KR: Brandon James (Florida)
Urban Meyer (Florida)
QB: Jevan Snead (Ole Miss)
RB: Charles Scott (LSU), Michael Smith (Arkansas)
WR: Julio Jones (Alabama), Brandon LaFell (LSU)
ALL-PURPOSE: Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss)
TE: D.J. Williams (Arkansas)
C: Daverin Geralds (Ole Miss)
OL: Ciron Black (LSU), John Jerry (Ole Miss), Mike Johnson (Alabama), Lee Ziemba (Auburn)
DE: Antonio Coleman (Auburn), Greg Hardy (Ole Miss)
DT: Terrence Cody (Alabama), Malcolm Sheppard (Arkansas)
LB: Jamar Chaney (Mississippi State), Rolando McClain (Alabama), Dont'a Hightower (Alabama)
CB: Javier Arenas (Alabama), Patrick Peterson (LSU)
S: Chad Jones (LSU), Kendrick Lewis (Ole Miss)
K: Joshua Shene (Ole Miss)
P: Clinton Durst (Auburn)
KR: Javier Arenas (Alabama)
Nick Saban (Alabama)
My thoughts: Some really intriguing matchups to ponder. Watching Tebow and Snead go at it with their two different styles would be a lot of fun. The East offense is essentially Florida's offense, which tells you a little something about the Gators' talent. But maybe it also says a little something about the rest of the East on that side of the ball. Even with Tebow leading the way for the East, the West is stronger on offense. It has the ability to pound the ball with Scott, a multi-dimensional backfield threat in Smith, the best pass-catching tight end in the country in Williams and three dynamic playmakers on the perimeter in Jones, LaFell and McCluster. It's hard to beat the West's offensive line, too. Defensively, I might give the edge to the East. Its secondary is scary good. I also like the leadership on the East team with the likes of Tebow, Berry and Spikes. The West's Shene is the most clutch kicker in the league, but the East's overall special teams should be better, if for nothing else, because Meyer is running the show. Check out the pass-rushers in this game. Talk about some speed off the edge. Even though Norwood is listed as an outside linebacker in South Carolina's scheme, he's more of a defensive end type.
Prediction: Picking against Tebow is tough. All the guy does is win. But I'm relying on one of the oldest truisms in football to make my decision for me. The team that runs the ball the best and stops the run the best usually wins. That said, I've got the West winning 31-24 on a late reverse for a touchdown by McCluster.