- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Now that we’ve seen Edward’s Christmas wish list for the Eastern Division teams, let’s see what might be under the tree for the Western Division teams:
Alabama: Another crystal trophy. Is there anything else that could possibly be on Alabama’s wish list? The Crimson Tide already have two crystal footballs in their trophy case courtesy of Nick Saban. Winning a third national championship in the past four years would make this one of the greatest runs in college football history.
Arkansas: Case of amnesia. Really, one of the best things for the Hogs and their fans would be to have their memories zapped going all the way back to April 1 when Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle. It’s been a long nine months in the Ozarks, starting with Petrino’s ouster and ending with a 4-8 season that was a huge disappointment. But with Bret Bielema now running the show, the focus is squarely on the future.
Auburn: Gus Malzahn’s offense of old. Any offense would do after this past season, which saw Auburn finish 115th nationally (out of 120) teams in total offense. The Tigers were shut out in each of their last two SEC games and scored 13 or fewer points in six of their eight league contests. Malzahn has proven he can put a dynamic offense on the field. Of course, given how hard the Tigers were to watch this season on offense, Auburn fans will take points any way they can get them in 2013.
LSU: Redo of Alabama’s last drive. If not for the final 1:34 of the Alabama game, LSU might be the one playing in the Discover BCS National Championship Game. The Tigers would love to have that last drive back. They were dominant defensively in the second half of that game, but gave up too much cushion on Alabama’s game-winning drive and then got caught in a blitz on the screen pass for a touchdown.
Mississippi State: Defensive line help. The Bulldogs could use some more muscle in the interior of that defensive line, not to mention a game-changer or two on the outside. They’re 11th in the SEC in rushing defense and next-to-last in sacks with only 18 in 12 games. In their four losses this season, they gave up an average of 223 rushing yards.
Ole Miss: More depth. Nobody expected the Rebels to be in a bowl game in Hugh Freeze’s first season, so this is a team that definitely overachieved after coming into the season dragging around a 14-game SEC losing streak. What the Rebels need now is more depth, especially more quality depth. It’s a big reason they had such a hard time finishing games this season. They ran out of gas a lot of times, but that’s going to happen when you take on the teams in this league with 60 scholarship players.
Texas A&M: Top juniors to return. Maybe it’s one of those wishes that’s a bit unrealistic, but imagine this Texas A&M team next season if offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, and defensive end Damontre Moore all decided to stay in school. All three are projected as first-round picks. Joeckel and Moore could be top 10 picks.
Now that we’ve seen Edward’s Christmas wish list for the Eastern Division teams, let’s see what might be under the tree for the Western Division teams:Alabama: Another crystal trophy.