Good news, college football fans. No longer will you have to be satisfied watching replays of the games on the SEC Network to get your football fix. SEC Football Media Days will begin Monday and run through Thursday. With that, we'll warm up with 10 questions about the SEC -- five today, five on Sunday.
Who will finish last in the SEC West?
The question sounds like a criticism, but it's more of a compliment. There are seven quality teams in the division. One of them has to finish last. The guess here is that will be
The Bulldogs return quarterback Dak Prescott from last year's Orange Bowl team, but not a great supporting cast. Both lines have to be rebuilt, and we know it all starts up front.
Even if the Bulldogs returned a lot of experience, duplicating last year's success would be tough. Wins over LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn vaulted State to No. 1 in the country. All three of those teams should be better this year, as should Arkansas. Missouri replaces Vanderbilt on the schedule.
The non-conference schedule is weak. But it would not be shocking if State had to beat Ole Miss in the season finale just to be bowl eligible.
What are the chances of the SEC winning another national championship?
A lot tougher than you might think. With three teams in the top 10 -- Alabama, Georgia and Auburn -- you'd think they would be pretty good. LSU, Tennessee and Missouri are sleeper candidates.
But here's the problem: Those top three teams all play each other in the regular season. There's a good chance the SEC Championship Game will be a rematch -- Georgia vs. Alabama or Auburn or Tennessee vs. Alabama. Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Arkansas can beat anybody.
It's very unlikely that the selection committee will pick a team that doesn't win its conference. It's quite conceivable that the SEC champion will have two losses.
There are no givens, but let's say the odds are good that Ohio State will win the Big Ten and the Pac 12 and Big 12 champs will have one loss each. Would the selection committee take a two-loss SEC team over a one-loss ACC team such as Florida State, Clemson or Georgia Tech? Probably so. But if the ACC champ is undefeated, it would be a travesty not to give that team the benefit of the doubt.
Who will be the SEC's biggest disappointment?
The trendy pick is South Carolina, because the Gamecocks stumbled to six losses last season, return only four starters on offense and are unsettled at quarterback. First of all, I'll never count out Steve Spurrier. Besides, with so many people projecting South Carolina to fall, they don't even fit the profile of "disappointment."
The Tigers have already started slipping since losing to Alabama in the national championship game in the 2011 season. They lost three games each in 2012 and '13 and lost five last season. They're still unsettled at quarterback. Yes, they were a very young team last year. But unless they can throw the ball effectively and regain their dominance on defense, the Tigers could struggle to keep pace in the SEC West. They will have to beat South Carolina and Florida, neither of which is a given, to have a winning SEC record.
Who expected Auburn to go 3-9 in 2012 or Florida to go 4-8 in 2013?
The cheesey non-conference schedule of McNeese State, Syracuse, Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky will prevent such a drastic collapse. But if the Tigers go 3-5 in the SEC, that would be 7-5 for the regular season. That hasn't happened since 2008.
Who will be the SEC's biggest surprise?
Tennessee may be the most improved, but that doesn't mean the Volunteers will surprise anyone. Ditto for Arkansas, unless the Razorbacks jump up and win the West. No, the best candidate that fits the profile is
The Gators would have finished 8-5 last year if the Idaho game had not been cancelled due to weather. They lost in overtime to South Carolina -- a game they seemingly had won -- and lost to LSU and Florida State each by less than a touchdown.
Will Muschamp did not leave the program devoid of talent. Yeah, the offense was a mess. But with Jim McElwain as head coach and Doug Nussmeier as offensive coordinator, the Gators should at least define some semblance of an offensive personality.
The Gators have enough playmakers on offense to score points if they can piece together an O-line and establish a quarterback. Granted, those are two very big "ifs." They don't have to play Alabama or Auburn. This team could win 10 games.
Which SEC player has the best chance of winning the Heisman?
Bovada, an online betting site, lists seven players as candidates: Georgia's Nick Chubb at Auburn's Jeremy Johnson at 10-1, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott at 12-1, LSU's Leonard Fournette at 14-1, Alabama's Derrick Henry at 16-1, Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell at 66-1 and Tennessee's Jalen Hurd at 100-1.
What's interesting is how the odds have moved. A month ago, Chubb was by himself at 9-1, while Johnson was tied with Prescott at 12-1 and Fournett. So Johnson was edged up, while Chubb was moved down.
I'd go with Johnson. Only two running backs have won the Heisman since Wisconsin's Ron Dayne in 1999. Both played in the national champion game -- Southern Cal's Reggie Bush in 2005, Alabama's Mark Ingram in 2009.
The rest of the winners were quarterbacks. Almost all were on national championship contenders. The few exceptions -- Florida's Tim Tebow, Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel -- had dominant seasons.
Johnson is the only SEC quarterback, as of now, who fits the profile of a highly productive (at least potentially) player on a national championship contender. If Sony Michel and Keith Marshall are healthy and effective, Chubb's production could go down as the coaches try to keep him fresh for the whole season.
So there you have it. Five more questions coming Sunday.
-- Guerry Clegg is an independent correspondent. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org