Mike Zarrilli

2013 SEC football previews, from the bottom to the top

Can the nation's toughest football conference make it eight in a row? A look at each of the teams that'll have a chance this year to do it. Stay tuned here for a new team preview every weekday.

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14 Total Updates since May 22, 2013
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  • Articles 14
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Alabama is playing a different game

It takes luck to win a national title. And lord knows it takes quite a bit of luck to win three in four years. But in terms of recruiting, development, and strategy, Nick Saban and Alabama are playing a different game than everybody else in college football. With just a little bit more luck, the Tide might accomplish what has never been done before. For more Alabama, visit Tide site Roll Bama Roll.

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Don't write off LSU just yet

For just the second time in the Les Miles era, LSU is looking at a preseason ranking worse than 11th. It'll still be ranked, but elite play is not expected of the Tigers this time around. But with a strong-as-ever running game, a strangely underrated secondary, and a good-as-always special teams unit, Miles' Bayou Bengals might make us feel pretty silly for doubting them. For more Tigers, visit LSU site And the Valley Shook.

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Florida vs. aesthetics

After a two-year absence, Florida returned the land of college football's elite in 2012. It did so with what was possibly the least aesthetically pleasing style of play in the country. Can the Gators pull off this no-margin-for-error act again with a less experienced defense? For more on the Gators, visit Florida site Alligator Army.

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The Georgia Bulldogs and timing

The timing was almost perfect for Georgia in 2012. Can the Dawgs and their amazing offense overcome a green defense and a brutal early schedule to put themselves in position for another national title run? For more Bulldogs, visit Georgia site Dawg Sports.

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Can A&M get even better?

How do you beat your best season in decades, especially now that your new conference is gunning for you? An all-world quarterback, a navigable schedule, and a rush of new talent sounds like a good start. For more on the Aggies, visit Texas A&M site Good Bull Hunting.

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The Gamecocks and the Clowney effect

A thin South Carolina defense was thinned out even more by graduation, the offense will be relying pretty heavily on an untested sophomore running back, and special teams could be a liability without the star punt returner? Yes, but ... Jadeveon Clowney! For more Gamecocks, visit South Carolina site Garnet and Black Attack.

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Ole Miss is never boring

It is rare for a team to considerably improve or regress in one year. Well, it's rare for teams not named Ole Miss. The Rebels do it every damn year. Don't pretend like you know what might happen in Hugh Freeze's second year, following huge improvement and a stunning recruiting class in Year 1. For more on Ole Miss football, head over to Red Cup Rebellion.

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If the Hogs go up, who goes down?

Arkansas made a hell of a statement by stealing annual Rose Bowl coach Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin and the Big Ten. But Bielema inherits a relatively thin roster, and it might take him a little while to navigate through the zero-sum SEC West.

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A blank canvas for Tennessee

New Tennessee head coach Butch Jones inherits a team that will be strong in the trenches and who-the-hell-knows just about everywhere else. Former coach Derek Dooley left him a cupboard that was far from bare, but will Jones be able to engineer enough of a turnaround to get the Vols to their first bowl in three seasons? For more Vols, visit Tennessee site Rocky Top Talk.

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Mizzou vs. the second impression

Missouri headed into 2012 with momentum and optimism. Seven losses and countless injuries later, the Tigers were forced to lick their wounds and hope that their second impression in the SEC goes a lot better than the first. Will it? For more Tigers, visit Mizzou site Rock M Nation.

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Vandy enters uncharted waters

The last time Vanderbilt went to back-to-back bowls before last season? Never. The last time the Commodores finished with back-to-back winning seasons? 1974-75. Before that? 1958-59. Vandy isn't supposed to win or attract four-star recruits, but nobody told James Franklin. For more Dores, visit Vanderbilt site Anchor of Gold.

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Mississippi State and moving backward

Dan Mullen has taken Mississippi State to three straight bowls, something that hadn't happened since the 1990s (and, before that, hadn't happened at all). But his team has regressed for two straight years; can a seasoned squad begin to turn things back around against a schedule that isn't quite as back-loaded? For more Bulldogs, visit Mississippi State site For Whom the Cowbell Tolls.

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Auburn fans, please be patient

Auburn's hire of Gus Malzahn made as much sense as any hire this past offseason. Now how quickly can he re-establish the bona fides of a program that has recruited well but, barring one spectacular outlier, has trended downward for most of the last seven years? For more Auburn, visit Tigers site College and Magnolia.

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Kentucky building for 2014

New Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has passed his early tests with flying colors, recruiting well and drawing 50K to the Kentucky spring game. But the real tests begin in the fall, and the Wildcats likely have a few more to fail before they can become interesting and viable on the field. For more UK, visit A Sea of Blue.

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