Florida Gators: Arceto Clark
We are just days away from the college football season, so it's time to unveil our first batch of power rankings for the regular season.
A lot goes into our power rankings. It isn't just about how strong teams are right now. We look into our crystal ball as well to get a good read on how each team will finish the season -- before it has even started.
For each school, we look at talent coming back, coaching, roster changes, how teams have looked in practice now compared to the spring and uniform style. Well, maybe not that last part, but you get the point.
Here are our season-opening SEC power rankings for 2012:
1. LSU: The gap between the Tigers and Alabama got a lot smaller after Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal, so this could be viewed as 1A and 1B. Mathieu is a big loss for LSU on defense and special teams, but there is just way too much talent for this team not to make another title run. LSU's offense still has one of the best/deepest running games around and gets an upgrade with quarterback Zach Mettenberger. LSU also might have the best offensive line/defensive line combo in the nation.
2. Alabama: The defending champs lost a lot of star power on defense, but that unit should still be pretty darn good this fall. There could be some growing pains at times, but the Tide should still have one of the league's best defensive units this fall. The offense might be better and more balanced this fall, even without Trent Richardson. There is a good stable of backs, the nation's top offensive line and quarterback AJ McCarron has a little more explosiveness and athleticism to work with at receiver.
Florida Gators, Vanderbilt Commodores, Georgia Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks, Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, LSU Tigers, Tennessee Volunteers, Kentucky Wildcats, Mississippi Rebels, Mississippi State Bulldogs, SEC, Missouri Tigers, Texas A&M Aggies, Aaron Murray, Donte Moncrief, James Franklin, Maxwell Smith, Will Muschamp, Tyler Wilson, Johnthan Banks, Tyler Bray, Bobby Petrino, Jarvis Jones, Connor Shaw, Jordan Rodgers, Tyrann Mathieu, Dominique Easley, Marcus Lattimore, Emory Blake, Jadeveon Clowney, Brian VanGorder, Chris Boyd, Hugh Freeze, Jordan Matthews, Knile Davis, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Joker Phillips, Sal Sunseri, D.J. Swearinger, Devin Taylor, DeVonte Holloman, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kiehl Frazier, LaDarius Perkins, Nick Griffin, Brad Madison, Justin Hunter, Larry Warford, Kelcy Quarles, Chris Smith, Bo Wallace, Akeem Auguste, Chad Bumphis, Christine Michael, Da'Rick Rogers, John L. Smith, Luke Joeckel, Ryan Swope, Matt Smith, Jake Matthews, Arceto Clark, Ja-Mes Logan, Philip Lutzenkirchen, Uzoma Nwachukwu, Corey Lemonier, Barry Brunetti, Johnny Manziel, power rankings 082712
On to the league's wide receiver/tight end groups:
1. Tennessee: The Vols are equipped with two of the top wideouts in the league with Da'Rick Rogers, who was second in the SEC in receiving last year, and Justin Hunter, who might be the SEC's top deep threat. It sounds like Hunter will be 100 percent this fall after his ACL injury last year. Junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson is big, fast and possesses the big-play gene. The speedy Zach Rogers is back and is so is talented tight end Mychal Rivera.
SEC, Alshon Jeffery, Donte Moncrief, Jonathan Krause, Marquel Wade, Chris Black, Latroy Pittman, Andre Debose, Emory Blake, Tavarres King, Chris Boyd, Hugh Freeze, Jordan Matthews, Nickolas Brassell, Zach Mettenberger, Avery Johnson, Patrick Peterson, Ace Sanders, Joker Phillips, La'Rod King, Marcus Lucas, Chris Conley, Malcolm Mitchell, Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett, Dorial Green-Beckham, Cordarrelle Patterson, Ricardo Louis, Jordan Reed, Shaq Roland, Amari Cooper, Eddie Williams, Damiere Byrd, Justin Hunter, Quinton Dunbar, Chris Smith, Josh Grady, Chad Bumphis, Cobi Hamilton, Da'Rick Rogers, Daryl Collins, Orson Charles, Chase Clement, Chris Gragg, Arceto Clark, Aron White, Arthur Lynch, Brandon Barden, Bruce Ellington, DeAndrew White, DeAngelo Benton, DeAngelo Smith, Duron Carter, Eric Waters, Frankie Hammond Jr., Hutson Prioleau, Ja-Mes Logan, Jamal Mosley, James Wright, Jarvis Landry, Javontee Herndon, Jay Prosch, Joe Morrow, Julian Horton, Justice Cunningham, Kenny Bell, Kevin Norwood, L'Damian Washington, Malcolm Johnson, Michael Egnew, Michael Lamothe, Michael Williams, Mychal Rivera, Nate Askew, Nehemiah Hicks, Odell Beckham Jr., Philip Lutzenkirchen, Randall Mackey, Ronnie Shields, Rory Anderson, Russell Shepard, Terrell Grant, Travante Stallworth, Trovon Reed, Tyler Robinson, Uzoma Nwachukwu, Vince Sanders, Zach Rogers
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