Florida Gators: Matt Smith
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
Nine SEC players were named on the list of 50. The Rimington Trophy is awarded annually to the top center in college football.
The last SEC player to win the Rimington Trophy was Florida's Maurkice Pouncey in 2009.
The nine SEC players making the watch list this year were:
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2014 SEC STANDINGS
12:00 PM ET Troy 13 Georgia 3:30 PM ET 6 Texas A&M SMU 3:30 PM ET Florida 3 Alabama 4:00 PM ET Indiana 18 Missouri 7:00 PM ET Northern Illinois Arkansas 7:00 PM ET Mississippi State 8 LSU 7:30 PM ET 14 South Carolina Vanderbilt