SEC bloggers Edward Aschoff and Chris Low will occasionally give their takes on a burning question facing the league. We'll both have strong opinions, but not necessarily the same view. We'll let you decide which blogger is right.
Having won three of the past four national championships, Alabama is the favorite to win another in 2013. The Crimson Tide will almost certainly start the season ranked No. 1 in the polls, and they have a very manageable schedule. But if it's not the Tide, who else in the SEC has the best chance to win a national title this season?
Today's Take Two topic: Other than Alabama, who in the SEC is best positioned to win the national championship in 2013?
Take 1: Edward Aschoff
So if Alabama isn’t going to be the team that represents the SEC in the final BCS title game, who will it be? You know, I’ve questioned Georgia’s defense for a while. But if I had to pick today, I’d go with the Bulldogs. (Subject to change, I know). This team could score 40 points in just about all of its games this fall with all that talent coming back. Now, the month of September is rough. Getting past Clemson won’t be easy because the Tigers will be able to score on the Dawgs' young, inexperienced defense. You’ll certainly see growing pains from Georgia’s defense early, and this game could reach triple digits. The Dawgs have to find a way to leave the month of September with only one loss. Again, that won’t be easy because they have South Carolina and LSU. The good news is both are home games. Beat Clemson and split those, and it’s smooth sailing for Georgia before the game with Florida in Jacksonville -- another very tough game.
The Bulldogs are far from perfect, but so are the other teams in contention to top Alabama. I see this defense getting better as the season goes on and with Aaron Murray, a host of talented receivers and the best running back duo in the country (Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall) back, Georgia won’t have trouble finding the end zone early and often. It’s all about getting out of September with one loss because Florida is all that stands in Georgia’s way of another SEC championship, and this team won’t lose three straight in Atlanta, right?
Take 2: Chris Low
The truth is that several SEC teams are legitimate national championship contenders this season. Contrary to what some in other locales have suggested, this is far from a one-team league. I agree that Georgia should be scary good on offense this season and was painfully close to playing for the national title last season. But something tells me that this just might be the year Steve Spurrier gets South Carolina over the hump and does what nobody (other than him) thought possible when he took the job and brings an SEC championship to Columbia. And when’s the last time an SEC champion didn’t at least play for the national title? (Hint: You’d have to go all the way back to 2005.)
If South Carolina is indeed going to become the fifth different SEC school to win a national title during the streak, the Gamecocks will need some younger players to come through at running back, receiver and linebacker. But their defensive line should be among the best in the country with Jadeveon Clowney terrorizing quarterbacks from his defensive end position, and he has plenty of talent around him up front. The Gamecocks also replace a road game against LSU with a home game against Mississippi State this season. They get Florida at home, where the Gamecocks are 25-3 over the past four seasons, and until Georgia beats South Carolina again, my money’s on the Gamecocks in that contest. The Head Ball Coach has been pretty chirpy recently, which typically means he thinks he has a pretty good team. Texas A&M might be the team not named Alabama that everybody will be watching from the SEC in 2013, but don’t sleep on the Gamecocks.