SEC story lines

dshirley@macon.comAugust 22, 2013 

The past few days we have looked at the top story lines from around the Southeast for the upcoming college football season.

Today, we wrap it up with the SEC.

1. It’s all about Bama: Can anyone in the SEC stop Alabama? Heck, can anyone in the country stop the Crimson Tide? Good money says no, and that’s why Alabama is favored to win its third straight BCS national title. The Crimson Tide’s strongest competition likely will come from their own conference in teams like Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and maybe Texas A&M (see No. 5).

2. Dominant Dogs?: Georgia came up just short of upsetting Alabama in the SEC championship game last year and playing Notre Dame for the national title. That said, no team can just assume it’s going to make gradual improvements the next year over what it did the previous one. As coaches like to say, it’s a whole new year. And while Georgia has plenty of weapons on offense and plenty of talent on defense, the defense is filled with new faces taking on important roles. We’ll have to take a wait-and-see approach about Georgia's national title hopes.

3. Schedule balance: Why are there questions about Georgia? Mainly because of the Bulldogs’ schedule in the first month with three top-12 teams – Clemson, South Carolina and LSU – in the first month. For years, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has mocked Georgia’s schedule. With no true round-robin setup, that is silly because there are always going to be teams with advantages in who and where they play. Spurrier would not trade schedules with Mark Richt this year.

4. Superstar alert: Jadeveon Clowney made a lot of noise during the summer, calling out some quarterbacks on South Carolina’s schedule. But when a player is as talented as Clowney, he can really say whatever he wants until someone shuts him up. No one has done that yet, and it’s hard to see anyone doing that this year. It would not be a surprise to see Clowney become the first defensive end to win the Heisman Trophy.

5. Manziel’s future: Speaking of making a lot of noise in the offseason, that is all Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has done. After autograph-for-pay allegations, it’s still unclear if Manziel will play this season or how much he will play. If he does play the entire season, the Aggies could be in the championship hunt … if he avoids a sophomore drop off. If he doesn’t play or is suspended for some games, things could get ugly for the head coach Kevin Sumlin’s team.




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