Published: August 28, 2008 2008 NCAA Football Preview
Southeastern Conference capsules
2007 record: 9-4 (5-3 SEC).
Players to watch: QB Tim Tebow, WR Percy Harvin, LB Brandon Spikes, RB Emmanuel Moody, S Major Wright, DE Jermaine Cunningham.
Overview: The Gators will add more speedy playmakers to one of the nation's best offenses, such as Moody and Chris Rainey, and receivers Carl Moore and Deonte Thompson. Scoring shouldn't be a problem, but can a much-maligned defense come up with stops?
Key games: Sept. 20 at Tennessee; Oct. 11 vs. LSU; Nov. 1 vs. Georgia (Jacksonville).
2007 record: 11-2 (6-2 SEC).
Players to watch: RB Knowshon Moreno, QB Matthew Stafford, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, DT Jeff Owens, LB Dannell Ellerbe, CB Asher Allen.
Overview: The Bulldogs have all the tools to make a run at a national title: a balanced offense, experienced defense and standouts such as Stafford and Moreno. But a brutal schedule stands in their way. Winning the SEC East will be tough enough.
Key games: Sept. 20 at Arizona State; Nov. 1 vs. Florida (Jacksonville); Nov. 15 at Auburn.
2007 record: 8-5 (3-5 SEC).
Players to watch: LT Garry Williams, DE Jeremy Jarmon, RB Tony Dixon, WR Dicky Lyons, FS Marcus McClinton, LB Braxton Kelley.
Overview: The Wildcats must make up for the loss of two key players who were taken in the NFL Draft: quarterback Andre Woodson and linebacker Wesley Woodyard. It doesn't help that quarterback Curtis Pulley was kicked off the team in early August.
Key games: Aug. 31 at Louisville; Oct. 25 at Florida; Nov. 8 vs. Georgia.
2007 record: 6-6 (3-5 SEC).
Players to watch: WR Kenny McKinley, LB Jasper Brinkley, CB Captain Munnerlyn, LB Eric Norwood, TE Jared Cook, RB Mike Davis.
Overview: Spurrier has a new quarterback and running back, and coordinators on defense and special teams. The good news is, most of the tough games are later in the season. That should give quarterback Tommy Beecher time to develop without hurting their bowl chances too much.
Key games: Sept. 13 vs. Georgia; Nov. 15 at Florida; Nov. 29 at Clemson.
2007 record: 10-4 (6-2 SEC).
Players to watch: RB Arian Foster, WR Lucas Taylor, SS Eric Berry, LG Anthony Parker, LB Rico McCoy, DE Robert Ayers.
Overview: Tennessee got past Florida and Georgia to win the SEC East in 2007, but that likely won't happen this season. Quarterback Jonathan Crompton finally gets his chance as a starter, and playmakers Foster and Taylor should help. But there are depth issues on defense.
Key games: Sept. 1 at UCLA; Sept. 20 vs. Florida; Oct. 11 at Georgia.
2007 record: 5-7 (2-6 SEC).
Players to watch: QB Chris Nickson, WR George Smith, LT Thomas Welch, CB D.J. Moore, SS Reshard Langford.
Overview: The outlook in Nashville is bleak. Earl Bennett, the SEC's career leader in receptions and receiving yards, is gone, leaving Smith to bear the load alone. Nickson needs to bounce back from a subpar junior year for the Commodores to have any shot at a bowl game.
Key games: Oct. 18 at Georgia, Nov. 8 vs. Florida, Nov. 22 vs. Tennessee
2007 record: 7-6 (4-4 SEC).
Players to watch: QB John Parker Wilson, RB Terry Grant, LT Andre Smith, C Antoine Caldwell, LB Rolando McClain, SS Rashad Johnson.
Overview: If the Crimson Tide can avoid problems off the field and Saban's recruits develop, the results should be better than last year's 7-6 record. Alabama probably isn't ready to win the SEC West because of an inexperienced defense.
Key games: Aug. 30 vs. Clemson (Atlanta), Nov. 8 at LSU, Nov. 29 vs. Auburn
2007 record: 8-5 (4-4 SEC).
Players to watch: C Jonathan Luigs, TE D.J. Williams, RB Michael Smith, QB Casey Dick, DE Adrian Davis, DT Malcolm Sheppard.
Overview: Petrino brings his exciting passing system to Fayetteville, but there might not be anyone to run it. Dick presided over a passing unit that was ranked 112th in the nation last year, and his receivers need to improve a lot.
Key games: Sept. 13 at Texas; Oct. 11 at Auburn; Nov. 28 vs. LSU (Little Rock)
2007 record: 9-4 (5-3 SEC).
Players to watch: RB Brad Lester, DT Sen'Derrick Marks, LT Lee Ziemba, LB Tray Blackmon, LG Tyronne Green, DB Aairon Savage.
Overview: The Tigers return their entire offensive line but will have to learn a no-huddle spread offense while breaking in a new quarterback and new receivers. Auburn's defense relies on speed, starting with Blackmon.
Key games: Sept. 20 vs. LSU; Oct. 23 at West Virginia; Nov. 29 at Alabama.
2007 record: 12-2 (6-2 SEC).
Players to watch: RB Charles Scott, RB Keiland Williams, WR Demetrius Byrd, DE Tyson Jackson, LB Darry Beckwith, DT Ricky Jean-Francois.
Overview: The defending national champion must deal with the loss of quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, who was kicked off the team in May. A versatile running game and solid offensive line will help. The defense shouldn't decline much, but there is inexperience in the secondary.
Key games: Sept. 20 at Auburn; Oct. 11 at Florida; Nov, 8 vs. Alabama.
2007 record: 8-5 (4-4 SEC).
Players to watch: QB Wesley Carroll, RB Anthony Dixon, WR Jamayel Smith, CB Jamar Chaney, FS Derek Pegues.
Overview: Carroll and Dixon hope to revive an offense that was ranked 113th in the nation in 2007. The Bulldogs' strength is their defense, and it will need to lead the way if they expect to duplicate last season's eight victories, including a victory in the Liberty Bowl.
Key games: Sept. 13 vs. Auburn, Sept. 27 at LSU, Nov. 28 at Ole Miss.
2007 record: 3-9 (0-8 SEC).
Players to watch: QB Jevan Snead, LT Michael Oher, WR Mike Wallace, DE Greg Hardy, DB Jamarca Sanford, DE Peria Jerry.
Overview: Reviving a program that went winless in the conference last year will not be an easy task for Nutt. There are reasons for optimism, though, with Texas transfer Snead under center, a solid receiving corps and an experienced defensive line.
Key games: Nov. 1 vs. Auburn; Nov. 22 at LSU; Nov. 28 vs. Mississippi State
-- MIKE McCALL
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