oh the SEC...it's a league that was built on 2 things, great defence (just look at the rosters of most NFL teams and they are littered with SEC players on D) and running the goddamn ball (no conference has more NFL runningbacks), but in this day and age of modern college football we are forced to rely on a passing attack from time to time to win us a few big games. it's no real stretch to say that the two best QBs this year are at the 2 worst schools in the conference with Andre Woodson at Kentucky and Chris Nickson at Vanderbilt, they'll both put up alot of good numbers but it won't matter because both schools will suck, but hey there's always the NFL for these two.
after that we have alot of young and extremely talented, yet unproven QBs like Matt Stafford of UGA, Florida's Tim "me run you over like a tank" Tebow, and John Parker Wilson of Bama. we also have a number of players that couldn't make the scout team at most schools in Michael Henig of Mississippi State, Cody Dick of Arkansas, and whoever the fuck is the QB at Ole Miss. and lastly we have a group of senior QBs that could make of break their teams this season in the quest for that almighty SEC championship...and that's the group i am most interested in. each of these four players has shown the ability to win big games as well as choke them away and with all 4 of these schools possibly in the running for a league title this year, these 4 players will probably have the greatest impact on how this SEC season plays out.
our first player of note is Brandon Cox of Auburn. going into last season i had high hopes for Cox, he had played well in most of Auburn's big games in 2005 and became a legend with his 4th and forever game winner against UGA. the tough yet easily crippled Cox played his way through much of last season with a banged up leg that resulted in alot of sacks and picks that hurt the Tigers and actually resulted in a blowout against the hated Dogs at home, ruining Auburn's chance at a BCS bowl. this season Cox has a young offensive line and a host of new receivers that could result in a very long year for the veteran QB. the Tiger's always reliable running game should take some of the pressure off Brandon, but when they face UGA, LSU, and Florida he's going to be expected to stand in the pocket and make some big plays or else we might be looking at a 9-4 season this year. i've always liked Cox because he's an accurate passer but he tends to force the ball when under pressure and doesn't have the strongest arm ever. if he can step up and have at least 2 big games against LSU and Florida then i like Auburn to make it back to Atlanta, but if he struggles then we're probably going to the Peach Bowl bitches.
our second senior under fire is Blake Mitchell of South Carolina. Blake isn't the most talented QB ever but he's been under Spurrier's tutelage for 2 seasons and now that this is his third year in the system he's expected to be able to put the 'Cocks over the hump and win those big games instead of losing them close. unfortunately for Mitchell he no longer has all-conference wide out Sydney Rice to chuck it to. South Carolina has some descent receivers and a good defence and even a solid running game, so Blake's the real x-factor in whether we're gonna see South Carolina make their first ever trip to the SEC championship and to a BCS bowl game. don't be surprised if Blake gets benched midway through the year in exchange for one of the younger QBs that the ole' ball coach actually recruited to run his offence.
our next candidate for the blame game is Eric Ainge of Tennessee. Eric is a big, strong kid who'll probably end up being an NFL bust but nevertheless he's got the talent to be an NFL quarterback bust or not. Ainge has a big arm, but doesn't always make good decisions and without Robert Meachem to throw to this season he doesn't have a solid number one. i predict Ainge will actually have a good year considering he's playing for draft position, will he play well enough to win Tennessee the East? i don't know about that.
our final player whose fans will be cheering/cursing and calling for the backup QB is LSU's Matt Flynn. Matt has one high profile start under his belt when he lead LSU in a slaughter of The U during the 2005 Peach Bowl, when starter JaMarcus Russell was injured. now JaMarcus bolted for the NFL and he's left Flynn as the keeper of LSU's National Title dreams. it's hard to really know what the expect from Matt. he hasn't played much and when he has it was in spot work during blowouts. The Miami game is the only real game he's shown what he can do and it's really hard to say if that was a young man playing out of his mind or a future star getting his first chance to shine. i think Flynn will probably be fine, but he faces a really tough test early when Virginia Tech and their top rated defence come into Death Valley and try to wreck LSU's title shot. if Flynn loses that game or to Auburn don't be surprised if the young backup and former recruiting star Ryan Perrilloux gets to finally take over.