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Who will win the SEC championship?

August 28, 2013
  • Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is looking to become the first quarterback to lead his team to three national titles.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is looking to become the first quarterback… (Vasha Hunt / Associated…)

Writers from around the Tribune Co. predict which teams will play for the SEC championship and which one will prevail. Feel free to join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

Picking the SEC West is easy. Alabama could lose to Texas A&M again and still win the West on its way to the SEC and national title games. TAMU plays a tougher schedule and will have a tough time getting out of the division with only one loss. That means Alabama needs only to beat LSU at home claim the West.

The East should be a fight among South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. I don't see much of a difference in the teams except how they are built. South Carolina and Florida are great defensive teams that hope to get just enough offense to win. Georgia will be one of the nation's best offensive teams but is very young on defense. 

For me it comes down to Georgia having the best quarterback in senior Aaron Murray, a probable first-round NFL pick. Advantage Georgia also for getting South Carolina and LSU at home. Title game: Alabama over Georgia.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

OK, so maybe Alabama’s rebuilt offensive line won’t hold up. Maybe the loss of cornerback Dee Milliner will be felt. Maybe AJ McCarron will elope. Maybe …

You really have to justify not picking the Crimson Tide to at least win the West. Even with reports that Johnny Football will suit up Sept. 14, I still can’t envision Texas A&M beating Alabama again. And how many underclassmen fled LSU? 11?

The East is more interesting, with Georgia, Florida and South Carolina the obvious threats. I’ll take the team with the best quarterback of the bunch — that’s Murray of the Bulldogs. The SEC coaches picked him over the reigning Heisman Trophy champion, so they know how good he is. That would set up another Georgia-AlaBama conference title game, and another Tide trip to the BCS championship game.

Jeff Barker, Baltimore Sun

I like new teams with new stories. I wouldn’t have been enamored of, say, the Casey Stengel-managed New York Yankees, who won five straight World Series from 1949 to '53.

Alabama has won three of the last four BCS championship games, and I find myself scouring the landscape for a worthy successor within the potent SEC.

Surely, the pick must be Georgia, which ran out of time in last season’s conference championship game a mere five yards away from the end zone in a 32-28 loss to the Crimson Tide.

My premise is this:  Alabama is obviously loaded (again). But good players take advantage of second chances. Georgia quarterback Murray is a year older and has had ample time to reflect on the sting of that defeat. The Bulldogs could hardly be hungrier.

Plus, Murray has plenty of help. So I’ll pick Georgia over the Tide in a rematch.

Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

Georgia players and coaches won’t have to look far for motivation heading into the 2013 season. The sting of that 2012 SEC Championship Game loss to eventual national champion Alabama is still fresh on their minds and should provide enough of a spark. However, it won’t be easy as the Bulldogs open on the road against No. 8 Clemson and then face South Carolina. A strong start could help Georgia get back to Atlanta for a rematch with Alabama.

Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban’s team is heavily favored to capture another SEC crown and win its third straight BCS championship. Alabama returns 13 starters from last season, led by quarterback McCarron. McCarron is looking to become the first quarterback to lead his team to three national titles. It won’t be easy. The SEC West is loaded with contenders, including LSU and Texas A&M. In the end, Alabama has the talent and experience to survive the division schedule and win the SEC title game.


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