During his weekly ESPN.com roundtable discussion with fellow NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay picked Alabama as the ‘SEC favorite right now’ and said Texas A&M has been the league’s ‘most impressive team on the field’ through the first three weeks of the season.

I think (Alabama) is the team to beat because it has the most talent top to bottom in the entire conference. I get the concerns. Alabama has to figure out the quarterback situation with Blake Sims and Jake Coker and get efficient and mistake-free play from that position, and the secondary (mainly at CB) must get better. But the skill-position talent should offset the inexperience at QB — wide receiver Amari Cooper is a star, and the backfield features three future NFL running backs in T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry — and I’m confident that this defense will continue to improve over the course of the season because it has too much talent and depth.

McShay has the Aggies second due in large part to Texas A&M’s road trip to Tuscaloosa later this season.

Kevin Sumlin is just a great offensive coach, and he’s always done an excellent job of developing QBs, so it’s no surprise they are thriving with Kenny Hill, even after the departures of Johnny Manziel and receiver Mike Evans to the NFL. But there were two reasons that made me nervous about picking the Aggies: 1. The defense, while much improved from a year ago, still has too many holes and too many inexperienced contributors; and 2. They have to play Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

McShay’s four SEC Champion contenders include:

  • Alabama
  • Texas A&M
  • Auburn
  • LSU

He also mentioned Ole Miss and Mississippi State as sleepers. For the record, Kiper likes Alabama as the favorite and LSU No. 2.

Par the course, the SEC East hasn’t received much love this season nationally with three teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25.

The reason? The West has five in the Top 10.