ESPN’s SEC Nation sneak peek is in the books and it didn’t disappoint.
In advance of Thursday’s SEC Network debut, the all-star lineup assembled by ESPN Senior Vice President Justin Connolly and producers delivered intriguing dialogue and touched on several power topics concerning the 2014 season.
Hosted by Joe Tessitore with analysts Paul Finebaum, Tim Tebow, Kaylee Hartung and Marcus Spears, here’s a quick glance at some of Tuesday’s highlights:
On a single question you want answered in the SEC this season
- Finebaum: “Is the Alabama dynasty over?”
- Spears: “Will the truth be served at LSU?”
- Tebow: “Last year, the SEC had 5 QBs in the Top 12 in passing efficiency. They’re all gone. Who steps up at QB?”
On South Carolina-Georgia’s SEC East battle in September
- Tebow: “Dylan Thompson’s an X-factor. South Carolina has the talent to play for a national championship.”
- Spears: “Whoever has a bigger impact on their respective teams — Dylan Thompson, Mike Davis, Hutson Mason and Todd Gurley — will have a better season.”
- Finebaum: “Is South Carolina going to be South Carolina?”
On Florida rebounding from a 4-8 season
- Spears: “Florida’s offense is built to compete now with (Jeff) Driskel and Kurt Roper.”
- Finebaum: “I like the swag we’ve seen from Will Muschamp. He said we’re going to win and win now … and he’s going to have to …”
- Tebow: “They’ll be competing for the SEC East.”
On Georgia with Jeremy Pruitt and Hutson Mason
- Tebow: “They’ve got talent over with two great linebackers. My question for Georgia is what they’re getting on offense … We know Todd Gurley’s a beast but what are they going to get at the quarterback position.”
- Finebaum: “Pruitt saw an opportunity and inspired that program … but I’m not sure he made the best move.”
On Auburn winning another SEC Championship
- Tebow: “Auburn’s not going to sneak up on anybody this year and can’t count on kick 6’s to win games. The more Nick Marshall improves, the more dynamic this offense will be.”
- Finebaum: “As Tim said, they will not sneak up on anybody. I think they’re going to struggle in some big games. They could lose at Kansas State on a Thursday night, Mississippi St.’s a tough one and the two revenge games of the millennium — Georgia and Alabama.”
- Spears: “Nick Marshall has to make better decisions. Not making the correct decisions cost him a national champions last year. Gus Malzahn has drilled in his head to make the correct read on each play.”
On trendy picks — Ole Miss and Mississippi St.
- Tebow: “I think the winner of the Egg Bowl is going to have a 9-10 win season. With both teams returning so many starters, it’s different that most years.”
- Spears: “All the talk I’ve heard about Mississippi St. like I’ve never heard before falls on the shoulders of Dak Prescott. He’s the player that gives people the notion that Mississippi St. can have success. Ole Miss is a better football team in my honest opinion.”
- Finebaum: “One of these teams is going to have beat Auburn.”
On Mizzou’s chances at repeating in the East
- Tebow: “Gary Pinkel is very good at organizing a team with not a lot of great talent and putting them in position to succeed. I don’t know from top to bottom if they can compete for 12 straight games.
- Spears: “Losing Kony Ealy and Michael Sam will make it very difficult to generate a pass rush.”
- Finebaum: “There’s reason to believe … they’ve got a pretty good schedule.”
On Vanderbilt winning nine games, again
- Tebow: “He’s a very good coach … but there are so many unknowns.
- Finebaum: “Vanderbilt just doesn’t have it this year. Mason can and will do it, but not this year.”
- Spears: “What makes you believe Derek Mason can’t come out and do the same thing James Franklin did?”
SEC Network’s opening night programming on Aug. 28
- 4 p.m. ET — SEC Nation live from Columbia, S.C.
- 6 p.m. ET — Texas A&M at South Carolina
- 9:15 p.m. ET — Temple at Vanderbilt