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March 1, 2007
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The Southeastern Conference has long argued that it's the premier conference in college football. It doesn't take a Vanderbilt-educated lawyer to make its case.
Two of the last four SEC champions ? Florida in 2006 and LSU in 2003 ? have won national championships. Another SEC champ in that span ? Auburn in 2004 ? finished undefeated, but politics and BCS BS prevented the Tigers from playing for the national crown.
That would seem to prove the SEC champion typically is of national-championship caliber, and that winning the conference championship is more important in the SEC than in any other league.
Therefore, spring football is of keen interest for several SEC teams that have championship potential, both regionally and nationally.
Much of the spring focus at LSU will be deciding between quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux. At Florida, it will be rebuilding a dominant defense and transitioning Tim Tebow from backup quarterback to starter. Arkansas will be shaking off the effects of a controversial offseason and maximizing the ability of running back Darren McFadden, a Heisman Trophy favorite. At Auburn, it will be bolstering its offensive line. Tennessee hopes to find a group of receivers to catch Erik Ainge's passes. At Alabama, new coach Nick Saban will try to find a spark in the running game while maintaining a solid defense.
Addressing those issues this spring will go a long way in determining which team wins the SEC title in December. It may also go a long way in determining a national champion in January.
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