Onto Day 2 of SEC team rankings!!! Today we look at which teams should have the best passing offense in the SEC.
1) Arkansas Razorbacks
QB: Tyler Wilson
The Hogs have hands down the best looking passing offense in the SEC, and maybe the nation. Ryan Mallet departs, but his backup proved to be not only talented, but ready to step up under pressure. Tyler Wilson takes over full time in 2011, and just like Mallet, he’ll have a dizzying array of weapons at his disposal. These include Joe Adams, Jairus Wright and Greg Childs. Gator fans may remember Childs for catching a bomb in the Swamp in 2009. Arkansas also has running back Knile Davis, who can catch some in the flat and go a long way. The offensive line should be stout again, giving Wilson all day to make a big play. This will be an offense for even the best defenses to watch out for.
2) Florida Gators
QB: John Brantley
It’s very hard to do this, because it’s exactly the type of talk that will lead to a collapse. The Gators have embraced the underdog role, and putting their passing offense at #2 undoes all that. But go look at the personnel. Charlie Weis, the mastermind behind New England’s Super Bowls, a former High School Player of the Year at QB, and enough speed at wide receiver to form an Olympic relay team. If anybody can shake Brantley out of his slump, it’s going to be Weis, who has made future Hall Of Famers out of nobodies. Or it will be Chris Rainey, Deonte Thompson, AC Leonard, Omarious Hines or Frankie Hammond with a big catch and run. Watch out for Quinton Dunbar, who had a monster spring. The big issue will be whether or not the new offensive line can block long enough.
3) South Carolina Gamecocks
QB: Stephen Garcia
Assuming Garcia stays sober the whole season, he’ll have a field day picking apart defenses between Tori Gurley and Alshon Jeffrey. And of course Marcus Lattimore can do some damage on screen plays, which count as passing yards. Jeffrey will take Julio Jones’ place as the SEC’s top receiver, and Tori Gurley has a chance to take AJ Green’s place at #2. Carolina probably won’t run as much next year, since most teams will be playing the run more now that Marcus Lattimore is no longer a secret. So look for huge things out of Spurrier’s airmail attack.
4) Tennessee Volunteers
QB: Tyler Bray
Lost in a woeful spring game for Bray was his outstanding performance in the entire spring. Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers are two of the most underrated players in the entire nation. If Bray can have a 2011 like he did a 2010 season, UT’s passing game will be fearsome. The only major question mark is the offensive line. It was awful a year ago. Can Derek Dooley and company turn that around? They’d better because if they don’t, one of the most fun offenses to watch to the neutral fan will be reduced to nothing.
5) Alabama Crimson Tide
QB: AJ McCarron/Philip Sims
Alabama probably won’t pass a whole lot, but when they do, it’s something to watch out for. Darius Hanks will take Julio Jones’ spot, and Marquize Maze will help out some. Perhaps a bigger question is who plays QB? Will it be AJ McCarron or Philip Sims? Or a rotation? The two very well may rotate, but like Ryan said way back, rotating QB’s usually do not work for long. The difference here is that Jim McElwain is not retarded like Stevio, and plus Alabama has dangerous receivers. Alabama has a pretty good offensive line, too. But inconsistency will plague this team with two different flavors at QB, dropping them to the middle of the pack.
6) Georgia Bulldogs
QB: Aaron Murray
AJ Green may be dearly departed, but UGA still has Murray, a highly underrated QB that can sling it with the best of them and can make plays with his feet if need be. That dual threat doesn’t sit well with other SEC teams. To take Green’s spot, Georgia will use Tavarres King, who is dangerous in one on one coverage more than people think. The other big option is Orson Charles, a tight end who played high school ball with Murray. The running game has been reduced to Isaiah Crowell and nothing else, so look for Mark Richt to lean heavily on this passing attack to keep his job another year.
7) Mississippi State Bulldogs
QB: Chris Relf
MSU passes even less than Alabama, but when they do, it can be deadly. Chris Relf is a running QB that can throw, not the other way around. Because of this, defenses always think run whenever he touches the ball. And because of this, when he throws, especially to Chad Bumphis, big things can happen. Bumphis is an explosive Percy Harvin/Dexter McCluster-esque player who can make guys miss. And Arceto Clark is a fearsome weapon, too. Look for MSU to pass a little bit more in Year 3 under Dan Mullen, now that his guys have things figured out. And look for it to work very well.
8) Auburn Tigers
QB: Kiehl Frazier/Barret Trotter
The Tigers lose more than anybody in the country, which is why their passing offense drops way down. They do have a little firepower returning on offense, with Emery Blake and Terrell Zachery. Those two, along with tailback Mike Dyer, will keep the offense above disgraceful. But the offensive line is a mess, and it will not be easy to replace Newton to say the least. This passing attack will be decent, but that’s a steep dropoff from the touchdown machine it was a year ago.
9) LSU Tigers
QB: Jordan Jefferson
Can Steve Kragthorpe truly resurrect the abysmal offense that belonged to Louisiana State University in 2010? That’s been one of the top questions since he was hired as offensive coordinator of the Tigers. He’ll be working with a guy that can always take off when he needs to, which is a huge positive- when something goes wrong, just run away. He will have two receivers just waiting to explode into the top 5 in the country- Reuben Randle and Russell Sheppard. They are fast, can catch, and can break tackles. That’s a terrifying trio of talents. If Kragthorpe can get something big out of Jefferson, this passing offense will shoot up the rankings.
10) Mississippi Rebels
So many question marks surround the Rebels passing offense. Who’s playing QB? Who’s going to step up out of nowhere and become Ole Miss’ big receiver? Jeremiah Masoli tried, but failed to jump start the Rebels a year ago. Now he’s gone and so is Nathan Stanley. Raymond Cotton figures to start at QB. Brandon Bolden may take some pressure off at running back, and he may take some screen passes in third and longs. Melvin Harris is the Rebs best returning receiver, and will probably be relied on heavily- maybe too heavily. This pass offense will suck, period.
11) Kentucky Wildcats
QB: Morgan Newton
The Wildcats lost all the pieces of an explosive 2010 offense. The QB, Mike Hartline, the running back Derrick Locke, and the multipurpose man, Randall Cobb all leave. With so many question marks surrounding the Cats, the passing offense will sputter. Newton isn’t bad, but he desperately needs receivers to step up and make big plays for him. If this doesn’t happen, it will be a miracle if UK can win 5 games the entire season.
12) Vanderbilt Commodores
QB: Larry Smith
Larry Smith returns with no weapons at his disposal under new head coach James Franklin. If you can get a 2400 on your SAT, and can catch passes, please call Mr. Franklin. If this fails to happen, Vanderbilt will have a Vanderbilt type season. Because the Dores have exactly no firepower returning in the passing game. Warren Norman and Zac Stacy are dependable runners, but watch defenses play the run and dare Smith to throw. Which he cannot do without receivers.