By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
1. Georgia 8-0, 11-2: Perhaps game’s best backfield, but enough defense to win league?
2. South Carolina 7-1, 11-1: Maybe Clowney can play quarterback, too.
3. Florida 5-3, 9-3: Gators overachieved last year, defense keeps them close this season.
4. Missouri, 4-4, 8-4: Injuries wrecked last season. Tigers poised for comeback.
5. Tennessee 3-5, 6-6: Butch Jones takes over, breaks in new quarterback.
6. Vanderbilt 2-6, 6-6: Drop from nine victories but should make it to third straight bowl.
7. Kentucky 0-8, 3-9: Mark Stoops gets chance to pull Wildcats from doldrums.
1. Alabama 8-0, 13-0: Crimson Tide rolling toward third straight national championship.
2. LSU 6-2, 10-2: Experienced QB Zach Mettenberger gives Tigers shot at division.
3. Mississippi 4-4, 7-5: Rebels trending up, and plenty of offense returns.
4. Texas A&M 4-4, 8-4: Even with Johnny Manziel, SEC defenses catch up.
5. Auburn 2-6, 6-6: Gus Malzahn returns to coach many players he recruited.
6. Mississippi State 2-6, 5-7: Tougher schedule puts three-year bowl streak in peril.
7. Arkansas 1-7, 4-8: The Bret Bielema era begins. Give it time.
• BCS championship game: Alabama
• Sugar: Georgia
• Capital One: South Carolina
• Cotton: LSU
• Outback: Florida
• Chick-fil-A: Mississippi
• Gator: Texas A&M
• Music City: Missouri
• Liberty: Vanderbilt
• BVAA Compass: Auburn
• Independence: Tennessee
• Sept. 7, South Carolina at Georgia: One or the other has been division champ since 2010. Gamecocks have won three straight.
• Sept. 14, Alabama at Texas A&M: Only if Johnny Manziel plays. Tide looks to avenge last year’s lone loss.
• Nov. 9, LSU at Alabama: Tigers won last time they played in Tuscaloosa (2011).
• Offensive player of the year: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia. Determined to play better against the best in the league. As NFL prospect, the Drew Brees argument applies.
• Defensive player of the year: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (left). Clowney was a stud before the crunching hit in the Outback Bowl. Now, he’s a top Heisman hopeful.