Is Vandy really the 6th best in the East?

(VM/Stan Jones)

People in this country really do love their football. There is no all-day media session broadcast live on the ESPN network family before the college golf season. No hoards of journalists, bloggers, social media experts, and just casual fans descending on a spot before the college bowling season kicks off (rolls off?). Football on the other hand is a whole different animal.

SEC media day is like the slow (and honestly petty mundane) start to the party which becomes the college football season. Of all the items which are discussed during media day, such as watch lists and all SEC performers, perhaps the most interesting (and usually controversial) item is the preseason predictions. This year was no exception.

Certainly with 222 voters the consensus of the SEC folks is that LSU will beat Georgia in the SEC Title game and win the league this season. Though I am sure there will be some Alabama fans who would like to pick a whole in this particular prediction I have no problem with it. What I do have a little bit of a problem with is the Commodores being projected as the sixth best team in the SEC East.

Looking objectively at the division you would have to expect that Georgia and South Carolina will be the class of the SEC East this year, and then Florida should slide into third place behind those two in some order. Similarly you would expect that Kentucky will struggle mightily in 2012 and thus a seventh place finish for them in league (remember there are now seven teams per division) would be expected.

The fourth through sixth places in league, though, I think you can throw a blanket over, and I am somewhat shocked that Vandy is projected as in the worst the group with Missouri and Tennessee. Missouri is only one year removed from giving up over 37 points on four occasions in the defensively challenged Big 12, and no one has any idea how the school will react to the tough grind which is the SEC season. In addition the Tigers' two games from the West are Texas A&M in the always difficult to play College Station, and some team by the name of Alabama.

Tennessee ironically enough also has Alabama as one of its cross division games, the other is Mississippi State, but the Volunteers on paper look to be no better than the team that imploded to a 1-7 conference record one year ago. I can only think that the voters concentrated on Vanderbilt's losses on defense rather than the fact the offense has the potential to be dominating at times this year. As with all things in life only time will tell, but James Franklin and his staff now have some excellent bulletin board (do those still exist?) material with which to fire up the players on Saturdays this fall.

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