SEC scouting report: What to expect for football season 2012


2011 record: 12-1 (8-1 in Southeastern Conference, second in SEC Western Division)

The Buzz: Alabama lost a lot of talent from last year's national championship team, but coach Nick Saban and his staff have no trouble reloading the roster with fresh playmakers. AJ McCarron took a huge step forward with his play in the BCS Championship Game. The line is solid. Expect the Tide to be competing for SEC and BCS titles this season.


2011 results: 11-2 (6-2 in Southeastern Conference, third in SEC Western Division)

The Buzz: How will the players and coaches respond to the loss of former coach Bobby Petrino, who was forced to resign? John L. Smith's hiring provided some stability. Tyler Wilson could be the key to the team achieving its goal of competing for the SEC title. His performance last season earned him early Heisman Trophy hype.


2011 results: 8-5 (4-4 in Southeastern Conference, fourth in SEC Western Division)

The Buzz: Auburn returns seven offensive starters, nine defensive starters, its starting kicker and its starting punter. Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen will bring strong leadership to the offense, while linebacker Daren Bates is back after leading the team in tackles. Running back Onterio McCalebb could be a go-to runner for the Tigers.


2011 results: 7-6 (3-5 in SEC, third in East Division)

The Buzz: Florida is poised to make a big leap in coach Will Muschamp's second year if it can get settled at the quarterback position. Sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel are similar and the competition is tight, so Muschamp says he'll use both. Settling the quarterback debate could go a long way to improve an offense that has been one of the worst in the SEC for two seasons.


2011 record: 10-4 (7-1 in Southeastern Conference, first in SEC Eastern Division)

The Buzz: Georgia's potent defense and talented offensive playmakers should help the program make another trip to the SEC championship game. However, the Bulldogs will need new starters on the offensive line to step up in a big way to surpass last season's success.


2011 record: 5-7 (2-6 in SEC, fifth in SEC Eastern Division)

The Buzz: Kentucky ranked among the bottom three in the SEC in nearly every major statistical category on offense and defense last year. With a schedule that includes trips to Florida, Arkansas and Missouri, don't expect this to be the year when the Wildcats get out of the SEC basement.


2011 record: 13-1 (8-0 in Southeastern Conference, first in SEC Western Division)

The Buzz: LSU faces many challenges, including the loss of star playmaker Tyrann Mathieu, but you can never count out coach Les Miles. He has averaged just 2.6 losses per season during his seven-year run leading the Tigers, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

Mississippi State

2011 record: 7-6 (2-6 in Southeastern Conference, fifth in SEC Western Division)

The Buzz: Dan Mullen has always been known as a great quarterback coach. He did wonders with Tim Tebow, so developing Tyler Russell and integrating him into a new passer-friendly system will be crucial to Mississippi State's success on offense. Will that be enough to improve on last season's seven wins?


2011 results: 8-5 (5-4 in Big 12, fifth in the Big 12)

The Buzz: Missouri is making a big jump to the SEC. As long as quarterback James Franklin returns to the lineup following offseason surgery, the Tigers should have the firepower to be competitive against most SEC teams and earn a bowl invitation.

Ole Miss

2011 record: 2-10 (0-8 in SEC, sixth in SEC Western Division)

The Buzz: Ole Miss has a favorable early schedule, which might allow the Rebels to gain some confidence early. But competing in a division with national title contenders LSU, Alabama and Arkansas, it will likely be another tough year for the Rebels and first-year head coach Hugh Freeze.

South Carolina

2011 record: 11-2 (6-2 in SEC, second in SEC Eastern Division)

The Buzz: South Carolina and Georgia should square off again for a spot in the SEC championship game. Georgia is our slight favorite, but the Gamecocks' talented lineup has the potential to slip past the Bulldogs.


2011 record: 6-7 (2-6 in SEC, sixth in SEC Eastern Division)

The Buzz: Tennessee lost little from a young team and embattled coach Derek Dooley hopes for improvement in his third season. With seven new assistants on staff and a favorable schedule, there's room for the Vols to move up in the division this season.

Texas A&M

2011 results: 7-6 (4-5 in Big 12, tied for sixth in Big 12)

The Buzz: Texas A&M is about to a make a huge jump into the Southeastern Conference, but it has enough experienced returning players and the talent on its offensive line to post a winning record.


2011 record: 6-7 (2-6 in SEC, fourth in SEC Eastern Division)

The Buzz: The Commodores had close losses to Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee in 2011. A year later, Vanderbilt returns an experienced team that should be better from the struggles of last season. With some of their tougher games at home and a top-30 recruiting class coming in, the team could see improvement in coach James Franklin's second season.

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