This is a slow time for college sports, but it's no excuse for the extended period of time that has gone by without a post on this blog, so for that I apologize. Today, however, I do have some news for you regarding our defending National Championship football team.
The news is not quite as positive as that quote might lead you to believe, seeing as those accolades were left out of context. Here's a list of the different SEC schools and their number of projected stars:
SCHOOL NAME - FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS (TOTAL)
Arkansas - 5 (5)
LSU - 4 (8)
Tennessee - 3 (5)
Florida - 2 (6)
Kentucky - 2 (6)
Alabama - 2 (5)
South Carolina - 2 (3)
Vanderbilt 2 (3)
Auburn - 1 (3)
Mississippi State - 1 (2)
Ole Miss - 1 (2)
Georgia - 0 (2)
A few things struck me when I completed this list, but nothing jumped out at me more so than the fact that these media-types believe that the two Mississippi schools have about the same ammount of star power as perrenial powerhouses such as UGA and Auburn. Arkansas and LSU are clearly the big winners and Florida is really more towards the middle of the pack than the cream of the crop.
Our very own Percy Harvin was one of just five underclassmen that got the nod, while Darren McFadden was the only player to be a unanimous selection. Only three others came close and they were all on the defensive side of the ball: Jasper Brinkley (LB, South Carolina) with 75 votes, Simeon Castille (DB, Alabama) and Glenn Dorsey (DT, LSU) with 78 votes each. And now, on to the predictions!
Florida ran away with the East, winning with a majority of the votes. Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina, in that order, were the others receiving votes, but they combined for less than 50% of the total. One has to wonder how the same voters that thought that the Bulldogs have less top-tier talent than either school in Mississippi also think that they'll contend in a deep Eastern division or why the darkhorse Wildcats and apparently talented Comodores were completely shutout from the race in this tally, but I can find no obvious explanation. Personally, I think that the Vols pose the greatest threat to our Gators this season by far, but I wouldn't be shocked if UK finds a way to finish second in the East this season.
Finally, LSU would win the conference in a landslide were it a democratic excersize and not a sporting event. Good thing that perception and paper don't determine outcomes, otherwise we would have been on the shortend of the blowout stick in the most recent BCS championship game. One more note, the media seems to favor the West in the championship game to the point in which Arkansas and Auburn (another team that this group believes has few stars and yet will be dangerous enough to compete for the most difficult conference championship in all of college football) are virtually in the same tier as the Gators in the final voting. Oh, and UGA got a couple of votes in the championship round, too... go figure.
Again, in my humble opinion, people are greatly exaggerating the Gators demise. I ask everyone to think back to Chris Leak's first start for Florida and the Tigers only defeat on route to a National Championship or everything but the end of last year's contest if you require additional proof. All in all, I think that the confidence in LSU within the SEC community (as well as in USC on the national stage) is going to come back to haunt the media and fans as it has so often in recent years. Let our boys play with that chip on their shoulder all year and I'll take them against anyone, anyday. Man, I can't wait for college football!