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2009 Talent Analysis Part V- The Conferences #1 SEC

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As evidenced by the numbers in Part III the SEC truly stockpiles talent at a level that is unmatched by any other conference. I hate to say that as I can envisionLee Corso making a similar proclamation while shaking his Ticonderoga Pencil at the screen. I hate to jump in line with ESPN under any circumstances but unfortunately in this case its true. The numbers don't lie. As a result the SEC schools tend to get beat up less in the polls when they do lose and are much more likely to get into the BCS Championship with a loss (or two) than teams from any other conference. Here’s a closer look at the programs.

Elite Talent
Florida at 6.2- Urban Meyer inherited a good talent base to start with and has rapidly built a powerhouse on the existing foundation. For the foreseeable future the Gators will remain a perennial National Title contender.
Georgia at 7.8- Mark Richt can recruit but unlike Meyer continues to struggle putting together a full season on the field. With no real evident program health issues the only conclusion is that his staff is struggling to coach these kids up and get the most out of them on Saturdays.
Alabama at 8.4- Nick Saban is on the same track as Urban Meyer just two years behind. He will be on par with Meyer in another 1-2 years as another perennial title contender. The horrible truth is he’s probably worth what they are paying him. Just don’t ask where the 30+ kids he signs each year are stashed.
LSU at 9.4- With the talent on hand there was really no excuse for Les Miles to lose 5 games in 2008. The loss of Bo Pelini as DC was a major blow to his staff following the 2007 title run and I expect further coaching and program health issues to be the standard LSU settles into under Miles. I anticipate a 2-3 loss minimum and the occasional "unexplainable" loss for the remainder of the Miles tenure in Red Stick.

Great Talent
Auburn at 16.2- The 2008 offensive struggles were directly related to coaching issues that spilled into program health as the spread experiment failed miserably. This leaves a sink or swim scenario for Gene Chzik but the talent base is there.
Tennessee at 18.6- Obvious coaching issues and program health in 2008 led to the dismissal of long time Vol front man Phil Fulmer. I’m relatively confident that Lane Kiffin is not the guy to right the ship. Expect further futility for the forseeable future.
South Carolina at 18.8- At this point I’m convinced that the Cocks are truly cursed. If Holtz & Spurrier can’t win an SEC title there it just can’t be done. I’m also perpetually flummoxed by Spurrier’s inability to field a decent Quarterback to run his system.

Good Talent
Arkansas/ Ole Miss- Both in the mid 20’s, I’m now convinced Houston Nutt is a good coach. His teams compete at a high level in a conference where he’s out gunned on a weekly basis. He still has a crazy drunken uncle aspect to him, but its almost likable at this point. Petrino is shady as all hell but I won’t be surprised if Ryan Mallet flourishes in year two of his system to add yet another fringe contender to the SEC West.

The Rest
Mississippi State, Kentucky and Vandy round out the rest with numbers in the 30’s, 50’s and 70’s respectively. Former Florida OC Dan Mullen might be able to bring the Bulldogs back to a Jackie Sherrill circa late 90’s level of decent but don’t expect much from Kentucky or Vandy any time soon. With that said both tend to play above their expectations a few times a year which is a testament to both coaching staffs.