Thursday, August 23, 2007

Exclusive: Ernest Faulkner Previews SEC West


SEC Overview

By Ernest Faulkner

In an effort to combat sports media lunacy, here is a brief overview of how I think the SEC will finish prior to the championship game and why.

1. LSU 10-2 (7-1 SEC)
The Tigers bring new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton after predecessor Jimbo Fisher guided LSU to a national title, two SEC titles and three Sugar Bowls. Early season stumbles in the new system may cause problems for the Bayou Bengals, especially with the emotionally opener against Virginia Tech. However, LSU has enough talent with quarterback Matt Flynn, wide receiver Early Doucet, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey among others so that even a crazed, delusional ape could guide this group to a title. Thankfully, the Tigers already have one on the sidelines in a fitted cap and New Kids on the Block headset.

2. Auburn 10-2 (6-2 SEC)
This team will be picked low again because it replaces an offensive line that was among one of the worst in the SEC last season. Mark my words, this will be one of the best teams in the conference and will even challenge for the title. Brandon Cox must stay healthy though because there is no depth at quarterback, a problem evidenced in the Georgia game last season. Fresh talent in the backfield and receiver group will surprise many pundits, but road games at LSU, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia will provide the ultimate gauntlet. It is tough to believe the Tigers can go through that stretch undefeated.

3. Alabama 8-4 (5-3 SEC)
Few coaches have brought as much hype to a program as Nick Saban has to Alabama. The Tide will experience success soon, but make no mistake, this isn’t LSU. With an offense that is talented, Alabama must go from bland to spread under new offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and there will be some bumps in the road. The lack of an experienced defense will also cause some worry this season. For every big win and conference upset, there may lurk a UAB-type defeat like The Nick had before going to the Peach Bowl with the Tigers in 2000. Back-to-back home games with Tennessee and LSU, plus road games with an improving Vanderbilt, Auburn and a neutral game with Florida State and former Saban assistant Jimbo Fisher will provide plenty of challenges.

4. Arkansas 7-5 (3-5 SEC)
Turmoil can wreck a football team, whether it is a Terrell Owens-type player or off-season drama. After 2007, consider the Razorbacks derailed. With the Springdale Debacle, the departure of Frank Broyles and the cyberstalking of head coach Houston Nutt by a tech-savvy fan, there will be too much distraction for Arkansas to make a strong charge back to Atlanta. Darren McFadden will continue to amass yards on the ground and may win the Heisman, but the SEC will be back on to Nutt’s offensive philosophy of RUN and defenses will act accordingly.

5. Ole Miss 4-7 (2-6 SEC)
Coach O. can recruit them, but the question is can he win with them. Supposed QB savior Brent Schaeffer will now catch passes instead of throwing them and the only offensive bright spot is running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The mighty linebackers of last season, headed by Patrick Willis, are gone and expect the defense to give up yardage like a mortgage company dumping employees this fall.

6. Miss. State 2-10 (0-8 SEC)
Sylvester Croom is no slouch as a coach, but I don’t think God, Goldie Hawn, Burt Reynolds or Rick Moranis could lead this team to the promise land in the SEC’s 75th season. Michael Henig will have to stay healthy in the Bulldogs have a shot and anything, but expect them to be coach shopping come December.

Ernest Faulkner is a professional writer who is known as being the first sports writer to be an "auteur." Mr. Faulkner operates in secrecy among the shadows of the journalism business hoping to avoid their lunacy. During his time in "the biz" he has worked for some of the top publications in the world. You can contact him at ernest@sectailgate.org.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds about right. I'm not sure Arkansas will be all that bad with such a great player at running back.

Anonymous said...

BAMA WILL WIN THE SEC WEST! MARK IT DOWN! ROLLLLL TTIIIIIDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Anne Marie Johnson said...

Can I buy some more LSU hype with dinner tonight?

Anonymous said...

Your different from the "sports media lunacy" how?

Anonymous said...

Pretty decent.

Anonymous said...

So your kind of like the Green Hornet?

Anonymous said...

I'd say more like the shadow.