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2010 SEC Preview - Unit Rankings
Kentucky RB Derrick Locke
Kentucky RB Derrick Locke
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 8, 2010


2010 CollegeFootballNews.com Preview - SEC Unit Rankings


Preview 2010

SEC Unit Rankings


EAST
- Florida Preview | Georgia Preview | Kentucky Preview
- South Carolina Preview | Tennessee Preview | Vanderbilt Preview

WEST
- Alabama Preview | Arkansas Preview | Auburn Preview
- LSU Preview | Ole Miss Preview Mississippi State Preview
   
- 2010 SEC Preview | 2010 SEC Unit Rankings | 2010 SEC Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-SEC Team & Top 30 Players | Get SEC Tickets
- 2010 SEC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish

SEC East Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. South Carolina
4. Tennessee
5. Kentucky
6. Vanderbilt

SEC West Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. Alabama
2. Ole Miss
3. Arkansas
4. LSU
5. Auburn
6. Mississippi State

Offenses

1. Alabama
Hand off, rinse, repeat. The Alabama offense ran 601 times last year to just 346 passing attempts, and why not? With a big, strong, talented line paving the way, Mark Ingram rumbled his way to the Heisman Trophy while also finishing as the team’s No. 2 pass catcher. Throw in ultra-talented backup Trent Richardson, and the Tide has the makings of another devastating ground attack. But the passing game isn’t just along for the ride, even though that might be the perception of QB Greg McElroy’s job. The senior was the perfect fit (at least he was after a midseason funk) keeping the interceptions to a minimum and keeping the chains moving. Unlike last year, he’ll be able to open it up a little bit more with Julio Jones leading a receiving corps that would be among the most productive in America in just about any other offense. The line gets three starters back and will be every bit as dominant as last season’s was, but it has to do a better job in pass protection after allowing 20 sacks.

2. Arkansas
3. Florida
4. Georgia
5. Auburn
6. Ole Miss
7. LSU
8. Mississippi State
9. South Carolina
10. Kentucky
11. Tennessee
12. Vanderbilt

Quarterbacks

1. Arkansas
Ryan Mallett might be the best bomber in college football, and the sky’s the limit with his experience and with all the talent around him. Tyler Wilson and Jacoby Walker are good backup prospects who need more seasoning and more time, but as long as Mallett is healthy, the Arkansas passing game will be among the most efficient and effective in America.

2. Ole Miss
3. Florida
4. South Carolina
5. LSU
6. Alabama
7. Auburn
8. Kentucky
9. Georgia
10. Mississippi State
11. Tennessee
12. Vanderbilt

Running Backs

1. Alabama
Virginia Tech and Wisconsin have legitimate claim, but Alabama should have the most talented group of backs in America. Mark Ingram is a special talent who can catch, run inside, and bust big plays on the outside, and this year he’ll prove that he really was unquestionably worth the Heisman Trophy (and didn’t just win it because no one outside of the Pacific Time Zone saw Toby Gerhart play). Trent Richardson is a devastating No. 2 and would start for almost anyone else.

2. Auburn
3. Georgia
4. Florida
5. Ole Miss
6. Kentucky
7. Vanderbilt
8. Tennessee
9. Arkansas
10. South Carolina
11. LSU
12. Mississippi State

Receivers

1. Arkansas
Considering Arkansas was 112th in the nation in passing in 2007, things have made a total about-face. With three great starters in Joe Adams, Greg Childs, and Jairus Wright, and with an All-America tight end in D.J. Williams, the Hogs are loaded. The top five receivers from last year are back and they’re all fast, they can all produce, and they should all go ballistic with Ryan Mallett throwing for them.

2. Alabama
3. LSU
4. Georgia
5. Florida
6. Tennessee
7. South Carolina
8. Auburn
9. Ole Miss
10. Mississippi State
11. Kentucky
12. Vanderbilt

Offensive Lines

1. Georgia
Offensive line coach Stacy Searels has an embarrassment of riches to work with. If this isn’t the nation’s best offensive line, it’ll be in the top three if, and it’s a huge, glaring if, everyone stays healthy. Fortunately, the adversity of the past few years has led to enough versatility among several key players to allow the coaching staff to move the pieces around when needed without much of a drop-off. It would be nice, though, to see what this group could do when everyone is right. Even so, this is a special group that will make life easier for the new starting quarterback. If Trinton Sturdivant is 100% and he’s a backup, the line is going to be amazing. Even with some shuffling and some early problems, the line was a brick wall in pass protection allowing just 12 sacks on the year. There are two sure-thing all-stars in Clint Boling and Ben Jones, and Chris Davis and Cordy Glenn aren’t far off.

2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. Auburn
5. Mississippi State
6. Ole Miss
7. Arkansas
8. LSU
9. Tennessee
10. Kentucky
11. Vanderbilt
12. South Carolina

Defenses

1. Florida
Former Arizona Cardinals secondary coach Teryl Austin will take over the defensive coordinator duties from Charlie Strong, who took off to take over the Louisville head coaching gig, and he has a little bit of work to do. There might not be the star power of last year’s defense with LB Brandon Spikes, CB Joe Haden, S Major Wright, and ends Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham are gone, but there’s no reason to cry poor for a D that should still be great after finishing fourth in the nation in total and scoring defense, 12th in run defense, and second in pass defense. The excitement surrounds the freshmen with a loaded haul of defensive linemen, led by end Ronald Powell, coming in, and safety Matt Elam in the secondary, but they’ll mostly work as key backups. The tackles are loaded with, arguably, the best depth in America, and there are enough solid linebackers to assume the overall production of the last few years won’t fall off the map. The corner situation is a wee bit of a concern, and it could actually be a bit of a problem with no sure-thing pass rusher up front to hit the quarterback. Austin will make sure all the speed and athleticism across the defense swarms, is ultra-aggressive, and puts a premium on taking the ball away.

2. Georgia
3. Ole Miss
4. Alabama
5. LSU
6. South Carolina
7. Auburn
8. Tennessee
9. Mississippi State
10. Kentucky
11. Vanderbilt
12. Arkansas

Defensive Lines

1. Ole Miss
As long as Ted Laurent is a steady reserve in the tackle rotation and if the front four can hold up, the line will be among the best in America. Few will do more to get to the quarterback, and few will be stronger against the weaker running teams. There are at least two NFL players up front, and there are possibly three if Wayne Dorsey plays as expected to go along with Jerrell Powe and Kentrell Lockett.

2. Florida
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Georgia
6. Arkansas
7. South Carolina
8. Auburn
9. Mississippi State
10. Tennessee
11. Vanderbilt
12. Kentucky

Linebackers

1. Georgia
The Georgia linebacking corps should be entertaining. The call has gone out for the defense to come up with more big plays, and this group will have the opportunity with Justin Houston, Cornelius Washington, and Akeem Gamble on the outside wreaking havoc on quarterbacks. The 130 tackles and steady, underappreciated play of Rennie Curran will be missed, but the production will be matched by several good young prospects.

2. Ole Miss
3. Auburn
4. Florida
5. Alabama
6. LSU
7. Tennessee
8. Vanderbilt
9. South Carolina
10. Mississippi State
11. Arkansas
12. Kentucky

Secondaries

1. South Carolina
The secondary had to undergo some major changes and came up with a tremendous year allowing just 11 touchdown passes and no more than two in any one game. Three fantastic starters return (Chris Culliver, Akeem Auguste, and Stephon Gilmore) to a pass defense that was second in the SEC and eighth in the nation and was 26th in pass efficiency defense, and it should be terrific once again with speed, skill, and NFL-caliber prospects.

2. LSU
3. Tennessee
4. Florida
5. Alabama
6. Georgia
7. Kentucky
8. Vanderbilt
9. Auburn
10. Mississippi State
11. Ole Miss
12. Arkansas

Special Teams

1. Georgia
The return game should be explosive and the coaching staff is making a concerted effort to improve the coverage teams. The kicking game is peerless and should win the Dawgs at least two games with a huge advantage in punter Drew Butler and placekicker Blair Walsh. The kicking game is the best in America with Butler the nation’s top punter last year by far, averaging close to three yards per kick more than the No. 2 punter, and Walsh in the mix for this year’s Lou Groza.

2. LSU
3. Florida
4. Kentucky
5. Auburn
6. South Carolina
7. Mississippi State
8. Vanderbilt
9. Tennessee
10. Ole Miss
11. Alabama
12. Arkansas

EAST
- Florida Preview | Georgia Preview | Kentucky Preview
- South Carolina Preview | Tennessee Preview | Vanderbilt Preview

WEST
- Alabama Preview | Arkansas Preview | Auburn Preview
- LSU Preview | Ole Miss Preview Mississippi State Preview
   
- 2010 SEC Preview | 2010 SEC Unit Rankings | 2010 SEC Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-SEC Team & Top 30 Players | Get SEC Tickets
- 2010 SEC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish