The first version of ESPN’s Football Power Index was released Thursday.
Alabama was ranked No. 2 overall, while defending national champion Clemson was ranked No. 1. Ten SEC teams ranked in the top 20, including Tennessee at No. 18.
Along with the release of the rankings, the FPI predicted which teams will have the best offenses, defenses and special teams. The SEC’s top five offenses were somewhat surprising.
Here’s how the FPI predicts the top five SEC defenses:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Florida Gators
3. LSU Tigers
4. Auburn Tigers
5. Georgia Bulldogs
No surprise that Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the SEC, but that unit, led by presumed DC Pete Golding, will need to improve. Last year’s coordinator Tosh Lupoi left for the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason. The Tide lose key leaders like Quinnen Williams and Mack Wilson, but there’s plenty of experience and talent returning, not to mention the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
Florida’s defense is projected No. 2 in the SEC led by Todd Grantham. The Gators’ DC just spurned the Bengals, and he received an extension and raise from UF. Florida, like Alabama, loses key players like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Cece Jefferson and Jachai Polite, among others.
LSU, Auburn and Georgia should all have strong defenses.