Football 2013

SEC Blitz: Predictions for 2013

Updated: 2013-08-26T05:13:54Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

SEC East

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.

SEC West

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.

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