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Football in the South

Marcia McCoy, Writer

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Football in the south is something that can get people’s feelings hurt  and championships won. With Clemson’s win over Alabama in last season’s national championship game, with playoff contenders emerging in the Pac-12 and with all the coaching talent the Big Ten has compiled, it’s arguable the idea of the SEC as the nation’s premier conference is a thing of the past.

The SEC had a down year in 2016. While Alabama made the CFB Playoff, every other team in the league finished the season with at least four losses. But that was 2016, and the outlook for the SEC in 2017 looks a little brighter. The Crimson Tide is once again the preseason favorite to win it all, with LSU and Auburn returning enough talent to rank as top 10-15 teams. It’s a tight battle at the top of the East Division between Georgia and Florida. The Bulldogs get the nod over the Gators thanks to 11 returning starters on defense, and the emergence of quarterback Jacob Eason. However, the addition of quarterback Malik Zaire as a graduate transfer should provide a boost under center for coach Jim McElwain. Outside of the top contenders, South Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Arkansas headline some of the dark horse teams to watch in 2017.

The SEC east is improving, but the top challenger to Alabama is either Auburn or LSU. Auburn landed Jarrett Stidham as a transfer from a junior college/Baylor, and the sophomore should be the missing piece for an offense that averaged 31.2 points per game last fall. In addition to Stidham, Auburn’s attack features a promising group of receivers, one of the SEC’s top offensive lines, and the one-two punch of Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway at running back.  In addition to Stidham, Auburn’s attack features a promising group of receivers, one of the SEC’s top offensive lines, and the one-two punch of Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway at running back.

According to Claire O’Neal, she stated her favorite SEC team is Alabama Crimson Tide. She then goes on to say that she believes that they will win the championship in Atlanta because “they are number one and with Nick Saban as a coach, how could they not win?”

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Football in the South