2012 - What to expect in the SEC West SEC WEST: Best of the West QB ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ (Sr.) Star Jackson - Alabama With Auburn benching Jr. Tyrik Rollison the race is wide open. AlabamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s (Sr.) Star Jackson gets the nod ahead of Auburn true freshman William Hamilton and LSUÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s super talented first year starter (Jr.) Russell Shepard. Jackson is back after a full season under his belt and is by far the most experienced of the bunch. He threw for 2800 yards last season and 24 TDÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s against 13 picks. HB- (Jr.) Trent Richardson ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Alabama Changes to AuburnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s offense and the early departure of sophomore Michael Ford from LSU make this an easy choice. Despite (Jr.) Xavier Barnes rushing for a 1000+ in his first 2 seasons he may struggle for attempts as he is now part of the Auburn experiment. AlabamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Richardson is poised to better the records Mark Ingram set for the Tide. Richardson waited patiently through the Ingram era and might only be around 1 year he is that good. WR (Sr.) Chris Tolliver ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ LSU Tolliver will be LSUÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s go to guy and a solid target for Shepard. AlabamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s (Jr.) Kendall Kelly is just as talented as Tolliver and has done more in his career and should be neck and neck with Tolliver. DL (Jr.) Terrance Coleman ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Auburn This will be interesting to watch with all three teams possessing a trouble maker in the middle of the line. AuburnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Coleman seems undersized compared to his competition but the Tigers blitzing schemes give him the opportunity to blow up runs and wreak havoc in the passing game. LSUÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s (JR.) Chris Davenport (6ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ 4ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 331) another trouble maker that demands a double team. Davenport sheds blocks with the best of them but an offseason injury kept him out of the weight room. Finally AlabamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s (Jr.) Kerry Murphy, a true monster. 6ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ 5ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 332 pounds. Murphy is fast and strong a regular man among boys this might be his final year for the Tide. DE (So.) John Calhoun ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Auburn No contest here Calhoun won the Lombardi award last season with 21 sacks. A true sophomore with great speed ability to shed blocks makes him a handful for TEÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s and Tackles. LB (Sr.) Courtney Upshaw ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Alabama This is a two man race if you donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t include the rest of the Line Backing crew at Alabama, LSUÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s LBÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s will have to do something special to be considered here. OLB Upshaw is a complete player speed, great play recognition, and big hits, you name heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s got it. The wild card here is SR. MLB Jonathan Evans from Auburn. Evans is like a heat seeking missile with a one track mind. His aggressiveness is also his Achilles heel. He will need to read the play better in his Sr. campaign and stay out of the training room. Secondary CB (SR.) BJ Scott - Alabama The only way Scott doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t walk away on top is if opposing teams just totally ignore the side of the field he is on. Considered undersized at 5ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ 11ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Scott is not afraid to go toe to toe and possesses great man and zone coverage with outstanding awareness. Most Outstanding HB (JR.) Trent Richardson When the dust settles AlabamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 5ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ 11ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 226 pound Richardson will be left standing. Richardson will break IngramÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Alabama single season records. We only hope heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s around for 2013. LSU LSU was left scrambling after the NFL pro draft scooped up its brightest stars. The bayou Bengals were left with (So) Eric Ferwerda at starting tail back and further down the depth chart youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll find a WR in the #3 spot. QB Shepard will have to have a strong back because he needs to carry this team. He does have a seasoned offensive line that should give him time to find a nice set of speedy targets. Defensively the Tigers should expect solid play from its line and OLBÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s. But are razor thin at MLB and SS. SS (Sr.) Karnell Hatcher (naturally a FS) will have to prove himself or end up being targeted all season. Bottom lineÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦..This team needs more time to mature and will test Coach Rynoaid all season. The Tigers could fall into the trap of being one dimensional on offense and run the risk with injuries of being a very average defensive team. Auburn Auburn has done more with less. But Coach Ramirez has put a lot on his plate this season. Starting a true freshman at QB and installing a new offense. AuburnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s fortunes rise or die with the play of their mobile QB. Kodi Burns then Rollison and now Hamilton. But neither Burns nor Rollison had to do it with the spot light so clearly on them. HB Barnes surely will see his carries drop and be expected to catch more passes underneath in the new offense as Hamilton works on his accuracy issues. Unlike LSUÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Shepard the line at Auburn is not top notch. Late last season it gave way giving up 10+ sacks in its final two regular season games. Overall itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s improved but still counts as a negative. Starting RT Freshman Chad Crews will be tested all season. LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s hope Crews and Hamilton arenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t roommates! Gone is WR Harry Adams insert a stable of untested wide outs. CB Sam Perry was the teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s active reception leader at the WR spot to start the season with 7. Redshirt Freshman Jeremy McBride and Kyle Ratliff will have to produce immediately. Defensively this is the best Auburn has been with its front seven. The front seven will have to get more pressure on opposing QBÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s than ever to protect an average secondary that doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t start a player with 90 speed. Bottom lineÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦.. We always expect a lot from Auburn because of the coach. But this is truly a rebuilding year for Auburn. The Tigers only start 3 seniors total on offensive and defense. The Tigers will take their knocks early and often hoping to put something together for the stretch run. A fourth division title seems like a pipe dream let alone a National title. Alabama The 2012 edition of the Tide is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. The offense has a top notch mobile QB in Jackson, and bruising runner Richardson at HB, a threat at FB (Sr.) Mike Marrow, a mobile strong offensive line , and a stand out WR and TE ( Kendall Kelly and Brad Smelly) . The only question could be at WR were the Tide break in some new comers behind Kelly. Defensively Alabama is dotted with 99ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s like DT Murphy and OLB Upshaw and a 98 ovr CB Scott. Not to mention 96 overall Sr OLB Jerrell Harris and Sr. MLB Chris Jordan. 97 overall FS Mark Baron anchors the safety spot as he mentors SS (So) Jared King (Freshman All-American). Bottom lineÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦.. I know some around here would call the Tide paper Tigers. ThatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s all they are at this point but dam they look good on paper. In what is usually a wide open division, Alabama is the clear favorite in the SEC west. There are no excuses for the Tide this year as both LSU and Auburn look to be in rebuilding mode.