Monday, May 6, 2013
One more title on the SEC's docket
By Edward Aschoff
With the new College Football Playoff set to begin in 2014, the SEC is looking to say goodbye to the BCS by saying hello to its eighth straight crystal football.
The SEC has won nine of the 15 BCS championships, and it would be fitting for the conference that won the first BCS title to take home the final one.
And the league has the horses to do it.
It all starts with Alabama. The Crimson Tide will enter the fall as one of the favorites to take home the final BCS title. That would be three straight for Nick Saban & Co. and the fourth in the past five years.
It's gaudy. It's greedy. It's Alabama.
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeCan Nick Saban and Alabama make it three straight BCS championships?
The Tide are equipped with an elite quarterback in two-time BCS champion AJ McCarron, who will have plenty of offensive toys around him. Potential All-American Amari Cooper leads what should be an explosive receiving corps, while T.J. Yeldon appears more than ready to be the go-to back in the offense. Saban was also pleased with an offensive line that replaced three NFL draft picks this spring.
As usual, the defense has elite talent sprinkled around, but it's still "a work in progress," as Saban puts it. Something tells me it'll be just fine come Aug. 31.
Oh, and you think this team is worried about complacency? It's not even a word in Tuscaloosa.
"We don't have that situation at our place," Saban said. "Last year, the team had to make a decision of what the legacy of that team wanted to be, and they sort of took that challenge and did a nice job with it. This team is going to have to do the same thing."
The rest of the country also has to pay attention to Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M. And maybe there's a 2010 Auburn lurking in the weeds.
All five of those teams have the talent to take home the final BCS prize, but none is perfect.
Georgia and Texas A&M have the pieces to consistently blow scoreboard lighting, but will they have the defenses to keep up?
Florida will still run and defend well, but the passing game is an enigma. Can the Gators get back to double-digit wins with a small margin for error again?
South Carolina brings a balanced offense back and has the pleasure of fielding the country's best defender in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, but there are a lot of holes at linebacker and in the secondary.
And LSU's defense was picked apart by the NFL draft, but the line should be strong again and the offense should be much better thanks to quarterback Zach Mettenberger's spring development.
All of these teams will begin the year ranked in the Top 25, but all -- including Alabama -- have flaws. But so did the past seven national champions.
SEC teams just seem to find a way, and it only makes sense that the conference will figure out a way to take one more for the road.