Who will win the SEC West?

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SEC football returns next month. Indeed, August 29th will be a great day, as three SEC teams get ready for a dogfight.

Alabama enters as the prohibitive favorite to win the SEC and the BCS, but after Alabama, there’s a cluster of five teams in the mix. Most are quick to say if not Alabama, then either Georgia or South Carolina.

Although most figure the East to have the two major players aside from Bama, I’m not ready to say the East is stronger than the West…yet. Is it Alabama and everyone else? No way. There are two other major players hungry for a championship. SDS’ predictions and picks will be released soon.

Related: Who will win the SEC East?

Main contenders

Alabama
LSU
Texas A&M

Who doesn’t have Alabama repeating as champions? (Crickets). If you don’t – yeah I hear you College Station and Baton Rouge – you need to check your pulse. Nick Saban has created a machine, but one thing to remember about Saban is that he could take over another middle-to-upper SEC team and beat this Bama team. That’s how good he is. From AJ McCarron, TJ Yeldon and Amari Cooper to CJ Mosley, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Adrian Hubbard, this team is nasty on both sides of the ball and could become Saban’s best team yet. And the schedule sets up perfectly…Several are discounting LSU. I’m not discounting them, but I’m not sold on this team being ready to win a championship. If Zach Mettenberger can blossom this year and an inexperienced defense can gel, the Tigers have a chance to knock off TAMU and Alabama. The over/under is set at 9.5, and I’m taking the under…Texas A&M’s offense is ready to compete for a championship, but I’m not sure they have the hawses on defense. They reminds me of the 2010 Auburn team that came out of nowhere with one all-star player on both sides of the ball and beat Oregon for the natty. Johnny Manziel already said he wanted a Cam Newton-like season, but is the offense too reliant upon Manziel? Does it matter?

Dark horse?

Ole Miss

Is Ole Miss ready to contend for a West championship? I argue here they are dark-horse contenders right now, based on several factors. But beating LSU and Texas A&M, which almost happened last year, is a quite the lofty goal, but both return to Oxford in 2013. The Rebels are more than likely a year away from competing for the West title, but don’t completely count them out yet. With 18 returning starters, this group could surprise.

Better than advertised

Auburn

We know the shape of the program Gus Malzahn inherits at Auburn.  It’s battered and down, but it doesn’t lack talent. Gene Chizik signed top classes every year, but he couldn’t develop them. That’s what Malzahn has to do. Typically, first-year head coaches with spread offenses give SEC defenses trouble. Malzahn has a chance to have the best season of any new SEC coach in 2013.  Eight wins are not out of the question.

Lookout below

Arkansas
Mississippi State

Arkansas’ overall roster isn’t ready to compete for the West. Bret Bielema and the Hogs’ goal is to just get to a bowl game after last year’s fiasco. The good thing is that Bielema has eight returning starters on defense and the defensive unit should show marked improvement…Mississippi State could be bringing up the rear in 2013. This team benefited from a +16 TO margin last season and reached as high as No. 13 in the polls, but went just 1-4 down the stretch. The Bulldogs will only be favored in four or five games.

Photo Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

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COMMENTS

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  • John you are such a good comedian.

  • Finally, someone who echo’s my thoughts (for the most part) on the SEC west. I don’t think TA&M is going to be as much of a problem due to the losses on the defense. However, I do have concerns about LSU. If Mettenberger gets his act together he could be the single biggest threat to Bama’s three-peat. The Bama LSU game is always personal! Also, I couldn’t agree more with your Dark Horse pick. I think Ole Miss is going to turn into the eventual terror of the west.

    • It all depends on Hugh’s ability to coordinate and effectively use all of that talent. How many times have teams had excellent recruiting classes yet they yield mediocre results. * Cough, cough* Texas *Cough, cough* USC.

  • Why, when you pick BAMA to win it all, do you pick LSWHO for the picture for the article?

  • Yeah…You just cannot go against Bama with that schedule…and I think they crush TAMU this time. Tamu has just as manageable of a schedule…It just seems like Tamu is content with their success last season to me watching everything that transpired in the spring and since then. LSU is as big of a question mark as any…just depends on how they bounce back after that L in Athens…I would not be surprised to see Ole Miss beat at least one of the big 3.

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