HOW THEY'LL FINISH
This is an article from the Aug. 11, 2008 issue
Auburn DT Sen'Derrick Marks
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Top performers from unranked teams in the conference
DE, Jr., Ole Miss
Despite starting only four of 10 games played as a sophomore in 2007, the 6'5" 255-pounder led the SEC in sacks, with 10.
C, Sr., Arkansas
The 2007 Rimington Trophy winner was the middle man on a line that cleared the way for the Razorbacks' 286.5 rushing yards per game.
WR, Sr., South Carolina
At 6 foot, 182 pounds, he caught 77 passes, scored nine touchdowns and led the SEC in receiving yards per game (80.7) last season.
CB, Jr., Vanderbilt
A versatile player who also lines up at wideout, he tied for the SEC lead with six interceptions and averaged 25.7 yards per kickoff return in '07.
JOHN PARKER WILSON
QB, Sr., Alabama
After throwing for 2,846 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, he will play under his third offensive coordinator in three years.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Tim Tebow, QB, Jr., Florida.
Expect the passing stats of the reigning Heisman winner to improve, but he shouldn't have to carry nearly as much of the rushing load as he did in 2007.
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Dannell Ellerbe (below), LB, Sr., Georgia.
The Bulldogs' top tackler last year seems to play his best in big games, as witnessed by his eight tackles and one interception in the Sugar Bowl.
TRUE FRESHMAN TO WATCH
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama.
How hyped is the 6'4" 215-pounder? Thanks to write-in votes he finished third in the election for Alabama's student-body president last spring.
COACH ON THE RISE
Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State.
Taking over a probation-ravaged program in 2004, he led the Bulldogs to wins against Auburn and Alabama last season.
COACH ON THE HOT SEAT
Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee.
He signed a lucrative extension in July, but if the Vols lose to Florida on Sept. 20—which would drop Fulmer to 5--12 in the series—expect calls for his firing to resume.
Ole Miss coach HOUSTON NUTT, who in his 10 seasons at Arkansas relied heavily on the running game, has been raving about his quarterback, sophomore JEVAN SNEAD, a Texas transfer who left Austin after one season when COLT McCOY beat him out for the starting job in 2006.... Georgia's Sept. 20 game at Arizona State will be the Bulldogs' first matchup west of the central time zone since a 10--3 loss at USC in 1960.... Alabama coach NICK SABAN fumed after his colleagues voted to ban head coaches from hitting the recruiting trail for the spring evaluation period. That didn't stop Saban from meeting recruits face-to-face. Stuck in his office, he used video conferences, which are considered phone calls under NCAA rules, to chat with high school players.... Florida sophomore wideout-tailback PERCY HARVIN is expected back in time for preseason practice following April surgery in which two holes were drilled in his right heel and a portion of bone was removed. Harvin, a junior who racked up 858 receiving yards and 764 rushing in 11 games last season, had been bothered by the injured heel since high school.