Thursday, June 27, 2013
Poll: Who from the SEC will stop Alabama?
By Edward Aschoff
Stopping the SEC in the next years could mean finally taking down Alabama. The road to the national championship has gone through Tuscaloosa for the last two seasons, and there's no reason to think that won't stop this year, either.
Can the Crimson Tide sustain such success with the rest of the SEC getting stronger?
I don't think so. Every dynasty comes to an end. It might not be this year, but it'll happen. Chances are the only team strong enough to take down the king of college football will come from within the Tide's conference.
So which team from the SEC will it be?
Florida certainly has the blueprint to stand up to the Tide. After spending time with Nick Saban at LSU and with the NFL's Miami Dolphins, Will Muschamp knows Saban better than anyone else in the SEC. He knows the "process" and his recruiting is similar to Saban's. Muschamp will continue to bring in elite defensive talent, but he has to get that offense going soon. Slowly the pieces could be coming together on that side of the ball and when it does, the Gators could challenge for more than just the SEC East title.
Georgia has been to back-to-back SEC championship games, but has come up short each time. Mark Richt will always recruit at a high level, but it's all about developing players in Athens. We've seen that happen recently. While the Bulldogs have a young defense this season, it should be very, very good over the next couple of years. If the offense stays on the same level it's on now, Georgia won't go away anytime soon.
LSU has always been a thorn in Alabama's side, but the Tide have gotten the best of the Tigers in recent matchups. But when you're the top school in Louisiana, you'll always recruit from a strong market. LSU won't have to worry about talent anytime soon, but the Tigers have just come up short lately. There's a hump there that LSU has to get over in order to take down the Tide.
South Carolina might not get the same praise on the recruiting trail as some of its SEC counterparts, but Steve Spurrier and his staffs have done a great job of developing players once they get on campus. The Gamecocks might lose players on the defensive line to next year's NFL draft, but they have some solid youngsters to build around on both sides of the ball. As long as Spurrier is around, South Carolina will always be in contention for the SEC East and more.
Then there's Texas A&M. Kevin Sumlin and his Aggies were a pleasant surprise in 2012 and with the way he's recruiting, I don't expect the Aggies to fall out of contention for the SEC West and beyond. A&M was the only team that stood in the way of Alabama's perfect season last year, and will be looking to stand in the Tide's way of making it to Atlanta this fall. Sumlin will make this team a contender for more than just the SEC as long as he's in College Station.