Yesterday we took a look at some of the possible SEC breakout players for 2013. Today we continue with our SEC Football Q & A sessions by taking a look at some of the teams that could show the most improvement over last season, and which teams may be overrated.
We are again joined by our panel of SEC football experts, including John Pennington, the founder of MrSEC, Lisa Cornwell of SECPRESSPASS, Christian D’Andrea of the Vanderbilt blog Anchor of Gold and The Saturday Edge’s own Alabama expert Chris Richmond.
John Pennington - MrSEC: I think Auburn is the most likely to show improvement over last year. Gene Chizik recruited well while on the Plains yet his team underperformed horribly last year. Malzahn — on paper — should have a pretty good roster with which to rebuild.
As for an overrated squad, consider A&M. Yes, they could compete for the league title if they play as well as they did last year, but will SEC defenses have caught up to Kevin Sumlin and Manziel? There’s going to be an awfully bright spotlight on the Aggies’ QB and depending on how he handles that, A&M’s season could go up… or down.
Lisa – SEC Press Pass: Missouri certainly has the most to prove in my opinion. A healthy Henry Josey should help take some pressure off of quarterback James Franklin and make this offense more balanced. Getting Dorial Green-Beckham more involved has to be a focus, too, which Gary Pinkel says will happen. The Tigers return a lot of starters on both sides. Losing Sheldon Richardson to the NFL hurts. But there is still a ton of experience on Missouri’s defensive front.
I don’t see any team being too overrated at this point. The top picks are deserving of the pre-season hype.
Christian D’Andrea – Anchor of Gold: Greatest improvement: Ole Miss is the popular pick here, but anyone who watched that team at the end of last season should understand that much of the improvement in Oxford has already happened. Arkansas will be better, but a brutal four-game stretch (A&M, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama) could do some serious damage to their postseason hopes. Let’s swing for the fences and say Auburn. Partially because things couldn’t get much worse, and partially because Gus Malzahn has a ton of talent on his hands, and that typically goes well for him at Auburn.
Overrated: No one. Like in North Korea, the sun always shines on the SEC, and everyone is exactly as great as we say they are.
Chris Richmond – The Saturday Edge: I covered earlier why I think Georgia is massively over-rated this preseason. As far as teams who will improve on what they did last year, I’d go with Ole Miss. They got better as the year went on in 2012, they have a lot of great pieces back, and they’re bringing in a stellar group of freshmen who are ready to contribute. Hugh Freeze might win SEC Coach of the Year in 2013 if he continues his impressive start.
Please let us know which teams you think will be overrated and underrated in the SEC this year by leaving a comment below.