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Tide will continue to roll over SEC west foes

Published 10:13am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week 2 of our SEC Preview will feature the SEC West. With realignment, we may have the SEC North by Northwest in a few years so enjoy this division while we have it.
1. Alabama – It’s pretty difficult to pick anyone but ‘Bama in the top spot when the Tide returns so much weaponry.
It’s even more difficult when the usually arduous schedule seems more navigable than a Lake Martin slue on a Wednesday morning.
If Alabama can survive the trip to Texas A&M in week three, it looks to be smooth sailing to Atlanta.
A.J. McCarron may have to increase his bench press to create a larger torso just to get more championship tattoos inked on it.
2. LSU – It will be trendy to have the Bengal Tigers down this list and the Texas A&M Aggies in this slot (or higher).
However, I just don’t see where the LSU losses come from outside of Alabama and maybe at Georgia.
Crazy Les Miles’ crew lost tons and tons of talent to the draft, but have enough in the arsenal to continue their winning ways.
I just don’t predict a drop off like many others believe.
3. Texas A&M – Johnny Football this, Johnny Football that … SEC defenses have a way of catching up to their offensive nemesis eventually – especially when said nemesis loses one of his key offensive linemen in the NFL draft.
Meanwhile, the Aggies’ defense reminds me of a vampire with a mustache: its bite is ticklish.
The schedule isn’t too brutal, but losses against ‘Bama and at LSU will keep them in the No. 3 slot.
4. Ole Miss – After the first three teams, there is a huge drop off in talent and production.
I hesitantly put Ole Miss in this spot only because they have so much momentum from 2012.
From Sept. 14 – Oct. 19, Ole Miss will face Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU.
If the Rebs can just go 2-3 in that grouping, the rest of the schedule is winnable.
5. Mississippi State – The difference between Auburn being in this spot versus the Bulldogs will be the game against the two in early September.
Until I see AU get decent QB play, I am going to assume that MSU senior QB Tyler Russell takes care of business in that contest.
Therefore, I like the Bulldogs to garner this slot.
IF AU finds a decent QB before this game, I would swap the two teams in a heartbeat.
6. Auburn – The Tigers are the toughest team to predict in the SEC this year. Gus Malzahn has the fans fired up, but does he have a QB with any firepower?
“It’s a new day,” but Lord knows it has to be after only winning three games last year.
Auburn has some talent, but it is less than you think (and certainly less than Bama, A&M and LSU).
Again, the key will be the game against MSU.
If Auburn wins that one their bowl game outlook will look more “January-ish” and less “December-y”.
7. Arkansas – Another puzzling team to predict.
New coach Brett Bielema may look like he belongs at a Delta kegger in the Animal House sequel, but the guy can definitely coach football.
Arkansas and Auburn were both so bad last year it is tough to surmise what effect those catastrophes will have on this year.
Therefore, I base putting Arky last on their schedule that features LSU, Bama, A&M, Florida and South Carolina.
Robinson is a sports columnist for The Outlook. For columnist Andy Graham’s SEC West preview, see Wednesday’s edition of  The  Outlook.