With college football right around the corner, it’s time to start looking ahead and making predictions on who will win awards and earn various honors. The nation’s top conference, the SEC, released its preseason coaches all-conference teams on Thursday.
To no one’s surprise, Alabama leads the conference with 16 players on the list (five on the first team). After that, LSU and Georgia both had eight players selected, while Tennessee and Florida had seven each. Even though Alabama is a strong favorite to win the conference again, it’s still astounding to see that many of their players on the preseason all-conference teams – double the amount of the next closest teams.
Here’s a look at the first-team offense and defense:
QB – Aaron Murray (Georgia)
RB – Todd Gurley Georgia)
RB – T.J. Yeldon (Alabama)
WR – Amari Cooper (Alabama)
WR – Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt)
TE – Arthur Lynch (Georgia)
OL – Jake Matthews (Texas A&M)
OL – Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama)
OL – Gabe Jackson (Mississippi State)
OL – Antonio Richardson (Tennessee)
C – Travis Swanson (Arkansas)
DL – Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
DL – Dominique Easley (Florida)
DL – Anthony Johnson (LSU)
DL – Chris Smith (Arkansas)
LB – C.J. Mosley (Alabama)
LB – A.J. Johnson (Tennessee)
LB – Denzel Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
DB – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama)
DB – Craig Loston (LSU)
DB – Andre Hal (Vanderbilt)
DB – Loucheiz Purifoy (Florida)
The one name you don’t see on this list? Johnny Manziel. The A&M quarterback is on the second team and Murray is the guy the coaches think will be the conference’s top quarterback. One would think this could have been influenced by all that’s gone with Manziel over the past few months and especially considering that his eligibility is still in question.
Regardless, Murray is a great choice to be the league’s top QB in 2013. He’s coming off a tremendous junior campaign in which he threw for 3,893 yards and 36 touchdowns and there’s no reason to think he won’t put up those kind of numbers again this year. But it’s still a little surprising to see the reigning Heisman trophy winner not be his own conference’s top preseason QB. I guess that speaks volumes about how much talent is really in the SEC. In nearly any other conference, regardless of the offseason circumstances, Manziel would have been listed as the number one signal caller.
Are preseason rankings and predictions really that big of a deal? Absolutely not. But they do tell you a lot about the conference. When you look at all the talent on the SEC’s first team offense and defense, you know it’s a safe bet that most of the guys will be playing on Sunday.