Our preview of Auburn this week starts a nine-week stretch -- the week of SEC Media Days will, obviously, be all Media Days stuff -- during which we'll profile eight teams that I can't make heads or tails of.
It's not that I don't have some general idea of how good I think Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are going to do. It's just that, when it comes to sorting them into "Okay, this is the eighth-best team in the league and this is in the ninth-best," I'm having an incredible difficult time doing it.
Take a look a minute at these teams:
Arkansas should get better under Bobby Petrino in the second year, but how much? (And, no, I'm not sold on them contending for the West. So don't ask.)
Auburn -- well, we've already seen the promise and problems there.
Georgia has to show that Joe Cox can replace Matthew Stafford and that anyone can just come close enough to replacing Knowshon Moreno.
Kentucky has to show they have a breathing offense and can defeat teams outside their out-of-conference cupcakes and weaker SEC foes.
LSU looked good in the Peach Bowl last year, but when else?
South Carolina has to prove Stephen Garcia can stay out of jail and be good if he does, not to mention coming up with replacements for Kenny McKinley and Jared Cook.
Tennessee's only accomplishment this year is in the "coach with the biggest mouth" category.
Vanderbilt was heavy on smoke and mirrors last year.
Don't get me wrong; I stand by my predictions here. But I'm prepared to be proven very wrong once the season gets underway. This predictions business is a risky one. This year, more so than usual.
MONDAY: Auburn Hopes to Regroup in a Hurry
TUESDAY: Inside Gene Chizik's Contract Negotiations; The Lovliest Line-up
WEDNESDAY: The Depth Chart at Auburn, Still Focused on One Position; Auburn: Where Offense is the Question
THURSDAY: Tomorrow's Tigers
EARLIER TODAY: Tracking the Tigers This Season
NEXT WEEK: Vanderbilt