I hope everyone is having a great summer and I’m sure you as well as I, am more the ready for this football season. So what better then a little preseason power ranking discussion! Last year, there was a clear leader the whole entire year: Alabama. A few teams were battling for second, but no one came close to the Tide.
So, after all the spring games are wrapped up, here is my preseason SEC football power rankings. Enjoy!
1- ALABAMA– This is a no brainer. I don’t care that they lost — what seemed like — their entire defense to the NFL draft. They just reload and its on to the next group of stars. They didn’t lose much on the offensive side of the ball, and they return one of the top 3 QBs from the 2016 season. Jalen Hurts will be even more improved, as well as Bo Scarborough. So, I see no drop-off at all from this reloaded Alabama team.
2-Auburn– Yes, I hate to see two Alabama schools in the top 2 but that’s just how it is. Jarrett Stidham is a stud. Point blank. Kamryn Pettway may very will be one of the top running backs in the SEC this year and, with a little help on the defensive side of the ball, Auburn will be going places.
3-LSU-Now here we have the best RB in the SEC. Guice is a complete beast and they will not miss Fourtnette one single bit. New OC Matt Canada has a lot to play with on the offensive side of the ball and lets face it, when does LSU not have a good defense?
4-GEORGIA– Rising Sophomore QB Jacob Eason, along side RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, makes Georgia my pick to win the East. I do think they will have a slightly better year than last year, but I don’t look to see too much improvement. I worry if Smart will be on the hot seat after this year, but hey, that’s why the games are played on the field and not on paper!
5-FLORIDA– I was very hesitant about placing them here at 5th, but I think they have a pretty solid team overall. They lost 6 of their front 7 and 3 of their top 4 defensive backs. You will see plenty of young players grace the field. I don’t think they are the 5th best team as far as talent overall, but I think playing in the SEC East will benefit this young team a whole lot. You could see a late season surge from the gators.
6-MISSISSIPPI STATE– You’re going to call me a homer, I know, but I think this is the surprise team in the SEC. There isn’t one single position besides WR that I feel took a hit from last year. And, the defense is MUCH improved. Nick Gibson and Aeris Williams are only going to be better, and I believe the offensive line will surprise some people. Oh, and look out for Cam Dantzler!
7-TEXAS A&M– This a really young team, but Sumlin has a plug and play program. I am not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but I still think they stay middle of the pack in the SEC. And, who knows, they may have a late season surge as well. This team is one of the hardest for me to figure out, so we will see with them.
8-TENNESSEE– Goodbye Josh Dobbs. I loved watching him play, and I think Tennessee is going to miss him more then they realize. I’m worried about this team. They are mediocre all across the field with not much depth behind. The first 3 games of the year — Georgia Tech, Indiana State and Florida — will give us a better look into this team.
9-ARKANSAS– Whew, this team is hard to figure out. They are set at QB and RB, but from there it is nothing but questions. They return 4 of their 5 starting lineman, so I think they are okay there. But, that defense worries me. I think this is a down year for Arkansas, and I am not too sure how happy those fans are going to be come season’s end.
10-KENTUCKY– I think they have a little something special in QB Stephen Johnson and RB Benny Snell. Most of the offense returns, but the defense just isn’t there for them to see them make much noise. They MAY make a bowl — being in the East — but I don’t see much more than that.
11-SOUTH CAROLINA– They were very young last year, and that may bode well for them this year. The offense will be much improved and, if the defense can maintain some of what it had going last year, then this team could very well surprise you. This team was a toss up for me, but ultimately I don’t think they are anything better than a 6-6 team.
12-OLE MISS– This is me as a college football fan speaking here, not a MSU one. I do think Shea Patterson is, and will be, a very good QB, and he has some good receivers to fire that ball to. From there, all I see is disaster — especially on the defensive side of the ball. I see a 5-7 seasons with a possibility of only 4 wins. But again, that’s why the game isn’t played on paper.
13-VANDERBILT– I think this team is on the up and up. Derek Mason is slowly putting the pieces together. Ralph Webb returns as one of the best RBs in the East, and when does a Derek Mason-led team not have a good defense? This is my potential surprise team from the East and, after a few weeks, you may see them in my top 10.
14-MISSOURI– They looked much better in the latter part of the season last year, but I just don’t think they will be improved enough. Barry Odom’s decision to get more involved on the defensive side of the ball cant hurt any. We will see.
Stay tuned as I release my Power Rankings every Monday during the season, and for all your up to date Mississippi State sports news, be sure to follow our Twitter @hailstatetakes.