SEC West: 2015 Preview
At one time last season, the powerful SEC West had four teams fighting for a playoff spot.
There's absolutely no reason to believe they'll be the best division in college football again this year.
So don't look there for any bargains in the sportsbooks, because they won't exist:
As usual, Alabama comes into 2015 looking for another national championship after getting close again the past two seasons.
The Tide is hoping Jake Coker can step in and take over the quarterbacking duties. Based on their opener against Wisconsin, it looks promising. Still, Derrick Henry looks to be 'Bama's best threat on the offensive side of the ball. The defense is young, but good, and with trips to Georgia, Texas A&M, and Auburn, it'll have to be better than last year.
The Tigers hired former Florida coach Will Muschamp to run their defense, which must improve in order for Auburn to contend. They looked good against Louisville until the fourth quarter happened, so that needs to be cleaned up.
Road trips to LSU, Arkansas, and Texas A&M must be managed for the Tigers to have any chance of playing in the SEC championship.
Mississippi started 7-0 last year before fading to 9-4, but the talent is there and the Rebels could take another step forward this season.
Ole Miss found its chucker in Chad Kelly, and with a strong offensive line, he should have time to do damage all season. The Rebs have an elite wide receiver in Laquon Treadwell, who appears to be fully recovered from 2014's season-ending injury. Mississippi's defense should be strong, and if they can upset Alabama on the road on 19 September, the toughest road test after that is Auburn.
The Bulldogs were 9-0 in 2014 before dropping decisions to Alabama and Ole Miss two weeks later. This season, Prescott doesn't have many players returning but can lean on De'Runnya Wilson as his top receiver. The defense will be solid, and it'll need to be if they expect to come close to last year's national-spotlight breakthrough in Starkville.
The Tigers struggled to score last season and still have quarterback issues. They've got a talented runner in Leonard Fournette, but are inexperienced at receiver. The defense will be decent and needs to be; LSU faces Mississippi State on the road this weekend and Auburn at home right after that.
Bummer that their cupcake tune-up got weathered out.
Arkansas is another team that could be lurking in the mix in Year 3 for head coach Bret Bielema.
Brandon Allen is steady at quarterback, and the rushing game is set with Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins. With an improved defense, the Razorbacks are hoping to get over the hump of losing tough games and challenging for the division title.
Mississippi is the Aggies toughest road trip until LSU on the season's final weekend, so the Aggies will have a chance to be in the mix if they can win at home.
No one can say they know what will happen in this crazy division, but whoever comes out on top -- and it most likely won't happen until the last week in November -- will be the heavy favorite in the SEC championshp game on 5 December.