SEC power rankings ahead of spring practice

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Texas A&M has already kicked off spring practice, and South Carolina and Ole Miss are up next on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yes, it’s just March, but we’ve already suffered through almost two months of no football…and the great news is you’re alive. July’s SEC Media Days will be here before we know it, and there may be some actual football news to report during spring practice. Crazy, I know.

MORE: 10 SEC spring predictions for 2014

Let’s take a look at how each SEC team stacks up ahead of spring practice, in a slightly different style of power rankings:

Top shelf: Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, LSU

Six teams enter spring practice as top-shelf teams, but each team has questions entering 2014. Five of the six have to replace their starting quarterback, as only Auburn returns its starter in Nick Marshall. Alabama has the best overall roster, but key losses at quarterback, defensive line and the secondary are concerning. Georgia, South Carolina and Missouri will all wage battle on the SEC East division, which should become an epic storyline leading into 2014. LSU is the one top-shelf team that has the most questions, particularly on offense, although their roster is stacked with talent.

Next level: Mississippi State, Ole Miss

It’s an All-Egg Bowl next-level battle. Both teams return their starting quarterback, and Ole Miss has the best overall roster of the two. However, Mississippi State could have the best overall player in quarterback Dak Prescott. Both teams are primed for big 2014 seasons.

RELATED: Vanderbilt’s new head coach says the Pac-12 is better than SEC top to bottom

Middle of the pack: Florida, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Entering spring, both Mississippi State and Ole Miss are a cut above Florida, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Florida is installing a new offense and will get a slew of returning starters back on both sides of the ball who suffered season-ending injuries. Texas A&M returns several pieces from the league’s worst and youngest defense. Tennessee replaces every starter on both lines of scrimmage, and the Vols are the only team in the country to do so. Vanderbilt has the most questions of the four, starting with the new coaching staff and filtering down to the players lost. There’s talent to win now in Nashville, but it usually takes a new head coach a year or two to settle in…coaches who aren’t named Gus Malzahn, that is.

RELATED: 2014 SEC Strength of Schedule

Most questions: Arkansas, Kentucky

Arkansas and Kentucky have the biggest questions entering spring. Arkansas lost nine straight to end 2013, and Kentucky won just two games during the season. There’s nowhere to go but up for both programs, and building towards a better 2014 starts this spring.

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COMMENTS

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  • I agree with most of what you said, but I think Ole Miss is just as good or better than LSU. I don’t see Mizzou having the type of season they had last year because they are losing a lot production on both offense and defense. So I would drop Mizzou and put Ole Miss in that spot because Ole Miss has a pretty impressive roster coming back. Plus a three year starter at QB. I don’t think a lot of ppl are giving Ole Miss enough credit for what they have.. Georgia and LSU could have problems if they don’t find a QB that can run their offense. I would argue that Ole Miss has probably the most complete team heading into spring right now. The only concern that Ole Miss has is their OL and the only reason I say that is because they will be replacing 3 guys. But the OL should be much improved, but they will be a younger group. The left side should be one of the best in the country with LT Laremy Tunsil and LG Aaron Morris. Tunsil is the best LT in the SEC and Morris is an All-SEC type player.

  • Easy there Ole Reb… Mizzou will have Maty Mauk back there to toss it around to DGB, Hunt, Sasser, White. All of which played a lot last season. Hansboro and Murphy are back and carried the ball a lot last season, not to mention Steward as a bigger change of pace back.

    Defense we’ve got Markus Golden, Shane Ray, Harold Brantly back on the DL and Hobson and Penton returning as Sophomore CB. Plenty of talent returning in CoMo this fall.

  • If the Gamecocks start the season 5-0 WATCHOUT. :-)

    • I predict a 4-1 start for SoCo..

    • Watch out? Why? Because the apocalypse is upon us?

      • Hahaha!!! You know why UGA fans are all jokes…Because if UGA doesn’t win the SEC East or be predicted to win the SEC East its “The Apocalypse is upon us” oh no! oh no! “That guy is an (Idiot) (Homer) (Not an SEC writer) (He does’t know)”. I forgot that all UGA has to do show up to the field and they AUTOMATICALLY win. No questions asked. All other teams dont bother showing up. -The UGA Fan Mentality. Hilarious they’re all the same. So fun to watch their season CRASH and BURN.

        • It was said in good fun, but I guess that can be lost without a “:)” or a “;)”. Anyway, you seem very sensitive there, Sally. Might want to check your panties.

      • ;) telling the truth

    • I think what “Bubba” is saying is… If we make it past A&M, UGA and Mizzou (in the first five games), we easily could run the table the rest of the way. Of course, we always find a way to lose one game we’re not supposed to.

      • No division in college football can claim to be more exciting than the SEC East. Missouri has an electric game plan and defending championship, and 41-31 Cottonbowl win. South Carolina well coached with a recognized roster, only div. team to beat Missouri OT, and a big bowl victory . Georgia, also talent and coaching and sometimes an interesting central figure in their line-up. Vanderbilt smart execution. Tennessee new coach and can we really believe what the media says about their recruiting? Florida, perhaps the last to leave the sinking ship ‘Defense Wins Championships’, and also on the front line of having other in-state programs trying to chip away at SEC supremacy. Kentucky always showing flashes of execution.

        • The SEC East is the most exciting? How about represent our conference in a National Championship one year and then start talking. Last time the East did (Florida), they lost to an SEC West team.

  • Any time SDS predicts anything good about Mizzou, Ole Miss fans belly ache and are quick to point why they are better. I wonder why that is? I kind of wish the Rebels were our cross divisional rivals, instead of Arkansas. I would love to see the series records after 10 years of games. After seven games (all-time, one game as a SEC member), we have lost just one to the Rebels. Just a friendly reminder to the Hotty-Toddies.

    • Ole Miss fans aren’t worried about Mizzou, believe me. I’m not worried about the past. All I am saying that if Mizzou wants to continue to have the kind of success they had last season, they are going to have to start recruiting a lot better. Mizzou had a great season and congrats to them. But just because a team has one good season doesn’t mean that they will continue be good in the SEC. It all starts with recruiting in this league. I would much rather see Ole Miss play Mizzou every year also as their cross division rival instead of Vandy.

      • Mizzou will do just fine with our recruits and player development. I respect your opinion, but get used to us out-performing our recruiting rankings. I’m curious to see how this stands up over time. In the meantime, research Pat Ivey, Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year, voted by his peers. See what NFL thinks of him as well. I suggest you find another sore to pick at…. or just give us a lil respect.

        • I do respect Mizzou, they have always had a good program. Mizzou and Ole Miss have a a lot in common in my opinion. At least as for as the football program is concern. But what I am talking about as for as recruiting, even thou Mizzou does really well with the recruits they get, it’s still hard to maintain success in this league, I know because Ole Miss was the same way. They would bring in good classes, but not great classes. Ole Miss has always had up and down season. I thin Mizzou is capable of bringing in the types of classes that Ole Miss has started to bring in the last couple of seasons. But all I am saying is that it is hard to maintain a high level of success in the SEC without having elite talent and depth. That goes for any school, and that’s why teams like LSU and Bama are always at the top of college football.

        • It’s tough to argue with Army on the point. Think what we could do allday with better recruits. Mizzou has a lot of 4 stars leaning their way. We just need another good season

        • And coaching doesn’t hurt. I think Saban certainly has distanced himself from the other coaches but Les Miles? A complete mess but certainly has LSU in there each year. Pinkel seeems to be competent, Freeze is still unproven. Recruiting seems to be his strong suit but it’s another animal to turn great recruits into great SEC football players.

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