The line of scrimmage is what the SEC is known for, and the big uglies rarely get the credit they deserve.
It’s a role-reversal year for Tennessee. The Vols returned the SEC’s most experienced offensive line last season with 123 career starts. This year, the Vols return just six combined starts, and they remain the only team in college football to replace the entire offensive and defensive lines.
Auburn and South Carolina are the deans for 2014. Both teams have a combined 113 career starts, good for 11th in college football. This may be Steve Spurrier’s best offensive line ever, and the Gamecocks just lose one starter. Auburn’s offensive line pushed people around in 2013, averaging over 328 yards per game rushing, and the Tigers will try to duplicate that success without their premier road grader Greg Robinson, who was the second overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
The Aggies return the SEC’s third most experienced line, losing just left tackle Jake Matthews, and Cedric Ogbuehi will slide from right to left tackle. Could Ogbuehi make three years in a row the Aggies produce a first-round left tackle?
Most project Alabama to be the SEC’s favorite to land a spot in the College Football Playoff, but the offensive line experience numbers are one of the most concerning aspects of the team, along with the secondary. Alabama returns the second fewest starts along the offensive line with 37, good for 107th in college football.
Here is how the SEC stacks up, via Phil Steele:
- Auburn 113 (#11 CFB)
- South Carolina 113 (#11 CFB)
- Texas A&M 89 (#30 CFB)
- Vanderbilt 83 (#36 CFB)
- Mississippi State 81 (#39 CFB)
- LSU 75 (#44 CFB)
- Kentucky 74 (#46 CFB)
- Missouri 72 (#52 CFB)
- Florida 66 (#61 CFB)
- Ole Miss 61 (#68 CFB)
- Georgia 54 (#81 CFB)
- Arkansas 51 (#86 CFB)
- Alabama 37 (#107 CFB)
- Tennessee 6 (#128 CFB)
Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports