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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Fremeau: Weaknesses for top 5 teams

By Edward Aschoff

Just because a team is projected to have a top-five finish doesn't mean it's perfect. No matter how good you think your team is, we're here to bring it down a notch.

And that's exactly where Brian Fremeau of Football Outsiders/ESPN.com comes into play. He has taken a look at ESPN colleague Mark Schlabach's 2012 Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 and broken down the weaknesses of Schlabach's top 5.

It just so happens that three of them are SEC teams (imagine that!). Here's what Fremeau had to say about them:

2. Alabama
"Alabama's defense will take a step back with the roster turnover, but the question is how big a step -- (Nick) Saban's past four teams at Alabama have ranked in the top 10 in opponent points per drive.
"The learning curve will be steep. The Crimson Tide will open the year against the Michigan Wolverines in Dallas, an offense led by Denard Robinson that was more efficient than any opponent Alabama faced a year ago. Special teams needs to be a point of emphasis, as well -- Alabama was below average on field goals, punts, kickoffs and kickoff return efficiency a year ago."
3. LSU
"The big question is whether LSU can take a step forward on offense. The offense was completely smothered by Alabama in the title game, but generating first downs plagued the Tigers at times throughout the year. LSU earned at least one first down on only 69 percent of its drives (49th-best rate nationally) and ranked 101st in producing 'methodical drives' (possessions of at least 10 plays). All eyes will be on transfer quarterback Zach Mettenberger in spring practice."
5. Georgia
"The focal point for next season has to be about finishing games and drives. On methodical drives of ten or more plays, Georgia scored a pathetic 1.5 points per possession (119th nationally and 2.3 points fewer than the national average). Late drives stalled in the bowl game loss to Michigan State due to conservative play calling and execution breakdowns. Georgia also needs to win the field position battle next year -- the Bulldogs were 63rd in field position advantage on the season, and all four losses a year ago were due in part to field position mismanagement."
My thoughts: