Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Take Two: Who will be SEC's top offense?
By Chris Low and Edward Aschoff
SEC bloggers Chris Low and Edward Aschoff will occasionally give their takes on a burning question or hot debate facing the league. We'll both have strong opinions, but not necessarily the same view. We'll let you decide which blogger is right.
Today's Take Two topic: If you could pick an offense in 2013, which one would you take -- Alabama's or Georgia's?
Take 1: Chris Low
To me, the three best offenses in the SEC next year should belong to, in alphabetical order, Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M. You couldn’t go wrong with any of the three. If I were picking one, though, I’d take the Crimson Tide. It starts with senior quarterback AJ McCarron, who knows that offense inside and out, also knows the league, and doesn’t make mistakes. In the past two seasons, he has thrown 46 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. He also has been at his best in each of the past two BCS National Championships. There’s no substitute for having a veteran quarterback who delivers in the big games.
It’s true that the Crimson Tide will be missing three starters from that vaunted offensive line, but they return the top left tackle in the league in junior Cyrus Kouandjio. And is there a more explosive one-two punch returning at running back and receiver than T.J. Yeldon and receiver Amari Cooper? As freshmen, Yeldon rushed for more than 1,100 yards, and Cooper amassed 1,000 yards in receiving. They combined for 24 touchdowns. Not only that, but McCarron also will have a healthy Kenny Bell and Chris Black to throw to next season, meaning defenses will have to make some tough choices. The Tide also are adding some new pieces, in particular freshman tight end O.J. Howard, who’s already on campus and will go through spring practice. So if you’re looking for an offense that will be both balanced and explosive, and guided by a quarterback who specializes in winning, it’s hard to beat what Alabama will put on the field in 2013.
Take 2: Edward Aschoff
If I had to pick a returning offense to have in 2013, I’m going with Georgia’s. This unit averaged 467.6 yards and 37.8 points per game, and just about all of the working parts return. For starters, I’d get arguably the SEC’s top returning quarterback in Aaron Murray. Last season, he became the first SEC player to throw for 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. And with a host of receiving weapons returning, my money is on him making it four straight seasons with 3,000 passing yards.
Trusted receiver Tavarres King might be gone, but Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett are both back. Mitchell has the talent to be the best in the league, and he’s sticking with offense, while Bennett should be back to normal after going down with an ACL injury last fall. Remember, he was one of the top receivers in the league before his injury. Chris Conley could be up for a breakout season at receiver. The coaches are excited about Justin Scott-Wesley’s potential and speed, and junior college transfer Jonathan Rumph has big play written all over him. Oh, and the running tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall (2,144 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns) returns, and should be even better. The entire starting offensive line is back as well, so I’ll take my chances with the Bulldogs’ offense in 2013.