Who will win the SEC west in 2006?
5. OLE MISS
6. MISS STATE
Coming into the 2005 season LSU had high expectations for themselves and from the media. Their team was loaded with top recruits from all over the country, and they were said to have the number one receiving core in the nation. Before the tigers even played their first game they were faced with distractions such as a new head coach in Les Miles, a new defensive coordinater in Bo Pellini, and ofcourse the devastating natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, hitting right in New Orleans. With an early loss to Tennessee, everything seemed to be going downhill for the tigers, but after this game the young and inexperienced bunch came together and won all their games up to the SEC championship. The tigers have key players coming back such as the second team all-sec safety Laron Landry, and the 6'6 250 pound quarterback named Jamarcus Russell. Although consistency was a problem for the team last year, they are the most talented team in the SEC. With maturity and growth between the players and new coaches, the LSU tigers as well as SEC championship contenders could also be national championship contenders.
Auburn is a solid number two pick, and many people believe that Auburn will be better than LSU this year. Last year Auburn lost to LSU 20-17 in overtime, but any Auburn fan would be quick to tell you that John Vaughn missed three field goals that lost the game. Auburn's running back, Kenny Irons, rushed for 200 plus yards in the overtime loss last year, and again he could be a big problem for LSU. In recent history the outcome of the Auburn/LSU game usually determines who will represent the west in the championship, and I do not see this year being any different. Different from last year, LSU will have to play at Auburn's home field. This will be an exciting game with all that is on the line for both of these football teams. Although I believe LSU is all around the better team, Auburn will be the biggest test for LSU.
Arkansas is my number three pick and this is a controversial pick for some people who think Alabama should be over Arkansas. Arkansas' running back Darren McFadden was arguably the best freshman running back in the nation last year. McFadden brings an attitude to this team, and he will carry this offense to score enough points to win games. Arkansas' defense last year started off slow because of their youth but ended strong in the game agaisnt LSU. They have a lot of athletes on the defensive side of the ball that have the ability to shut down most teams in the SEC. I was not impressed with the second half of the season for Alabama, and that is why they are at four. Without Prothro their offense was pathetic at best, and their point production each game was very low. Alabama's defense carried the team most of the season and scored most of the points, but they could not stay dominant the whole season. With Brodie Croyle and defensive leaders gone next year, the road ahead does not look too bright for Bama.
Well, there is not much to say about MSU and Ole Miss. Most of the teams had their second string in the middle of the 3rd quarter agaisnt MSU, and It looks like this will be another second string year for Miss St. Ole Miss simply is just not athletic enough to compete with top programs, but they did have a good recruiting off season where they were in the top 20. These two teams are fairly equal, and it will be a good fight for second to last place.