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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

SEC West promises a challenge

As the 2015 college football season arrives, there is one division in college football that stands out among the rest: the SEC West. From the top with Auburn and Alabama to the overlooked teams like A&M and Arkansas, the West looks to be as competitive and deep as ever this year. Let’s meet the rest of the division.

Alabama: Year after year, Nick Saban puts the Crimson Tide in position for a national championship. This year, however, might be a little different. They are experiencing a quarterback controversy, and the losses of Amari Cooper and TJ Yeldon are sure to weigh on whoever the new signal caller might be. The defense will again be very good as it always is with Saban. They are still of the favorites to win the SEC — for now.

Auburn: As mentioned, it seems as if Auburn and Alabama stand above the rest of the division. However, Auburn is in better shape than Alabama this year. Anytime Gus Malzahn is running a dangerous offense like the Tigers have, look out. Auburn was picked during SEC Media Days to win the conference, and it very well could come down to the Iron Bowl when they take on the Tide at home to end the regular season. They have a challenging schedule, opening against Louisville in Atlanta and then road trips to LSU, A&M and Arkansas. However, this might be one of the best teams that Malzahn has had during his tenure at Auburn. 

Arkansas: The Razorbacks are a dangerous team to face this season. They have a backfield that produced two 1,000-yard rushers in 2014, but they lost one of them (Jonathan Williams) to injury. Alex Collins will take over full-time at running back, and behind the nation’s biggest offensive line with signal caller Brandon Allen at the helm, they have an offense that can wear down a defense. Speaking of defense, the Razorbacks have a very good one, even if they did lose three of their best defensive lineman. They come into 2015 hungry and ready to prove something. Even with the injury to Williams, watch out for Arkansas in 2015. They are the SEC West dark horse.

LSU: For the second straight year, it seems as if LSU enters the season not knowing who will be under center. Quarterback play has been dooming to the Tigers for the last few years, but whoever is taking the snaps, they won’t have too much pressure on them with a star running back like Leonard Fournette in the backfield to help them ease into the position. The defense will have another loaded secondary and talent all around. The biggest question will be if they can score enough points in a fast-changing SEC landscape.

Mississippi State: Last year, the Bulldogs were about as close to a Cinderella team as you will find in college football. Heisman hopeful quarterback Dak Prescott returns for his senior year under center, but beyond him, there is not a whole lot of help. Receiver De’Runnya Wilson returns, but no other offensive weapon is back, and the majority of his starting offensive line is also gone. The defense will struggle too, especially with the loss of defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. The Bulldogs will still be good, but not nearly what they were in 2014, where they started the year 9-0.

Ole Miss: This is another dangerous team. They return almost their entire defense and most of their offense, most of which are all potential first-round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. Quarterback is a question mark, but with all the talent surrounding the offense from Laquon Treadwell to Evan Ingram, their new quarterback will have no shortage of options to throw to. On defense, the Rebels have the best front line in the SEC, and maybe even the entire country. The schedule will be tough, featuring trips to Florida, Alabama and Auburn, but Ole Miss has the potential to really make things interesting in the West in 2015.  

Andre Perrard is a sport management seniorand sports reporter for The Battalion.

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