MrSEC.com asked several media members from across the SEC for their take on the following question: If you had to pick an SEC champion now, would you pick Alabama, LSU, or The Field?
Four weeks into the season, it is clear that two of the three best teams in the country in college football reside, not only in the same conference, but in the same division, the SEC West.
Both Alabama and LSU have been convincing and, at times, dominant this season. The Crimson Tide and the Tigers have both been tested by quality opponents. No one in the country has a better resume of up-til-now wins than the Tigers. LSU has a neutral site win over Oregon, a road win at Mississippi State and a road win at West Virginia. It is fair to criticize most programs in the country for weak non-conference scheduling but leave LSU out of that discussion for this season. Alabama has wins at Penn State and at home versus Arkansas.
So, if you had to pick Alabama, LSU or the field to win the SEC right now, who would it be? The field (the other 10 teams in the SEC) includes a number of other quality teams and is loaded with bowl teams. LSU finally has competence at the quarterback position and a devastating defensive line. However, my pick is Alabama.
Alabama’s combination of defense, offensive explosiveness, ability to score on special teams, ability to score on defense, motivation, depth of talent, schedule and coaching makes the Crimson Tide the favorites to win the SEC and the national championship.
The defense is so good and so deep. The defensive line has improved each week. Every player on defense, starter or role player, hits like Steelers linebacker Jerome Harrison and gets to the football like Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. The linebackers as a unit is the best in the country. The secondary is the best (although LSU is close) in the country. The defensive front has played so well, that DC Kirby Smart hasn’t needed to blitz much at all.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron hasn’t put up video game numbers but he’s done a great job for a first year starter. Most importantly, McCarron has taken care of the football, made good decisions and managed the game well. He’s also shown leadership traits and toughness.
The offensive line has gotten better each week. If this unit becomes dominant as the year goes on, as it did two years ago, look out.
Wide receiver Marquis Maze has still been able to make plays as the number one guy. Many other talented receivers have contributed and shown the ability to make plays. You don’t see drops from this group that’s truly getting it done by committee.
LSU is at Alabama, so the schedule favors the Tide. Enough said.
This isn’t last year’s team coming off of a national championship letdown. This Alabama team is motivated to make-up for last year’s disappointing three loss season. The swagger and focus appears to be back.
If you had to put money (or lunch at Chick-Fil-A among friends for that matter) on the line on who wins the SEC right now, the team to go with is the Alabama Crimson Tide.
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Vince Ferrara has more than 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, in numerous SEC and Big 12 markets, working in sports radio, play-by-play and television. You can hear him host the “News Sentinel Sports Page” weekdays 10am-12pm ET on WNML - “The Sports Animal” in Knoxville and read more of his work at Examiner.com.