With SEC Media Days beginning this week, we'll start looking around the league as the season approaches. We start today with the SEC West. East division coming tomorrow.
Pro: T.J. Yeldon/Amari Cooper are as good a playmaking combo as any offense could want, and A.J. McCarron plays his role as triggerman well. Charmon-y soft schedule has, at best, two teams on it Alabama doesn't wildly outclass in the talent department.
Con: Offensive and defensive lines are a bit green, and may take a few games to gel (repeat sentence #2 of "Pro").
Pro: There are a couple of veteran linemen on both sides of the ball, (center Travis Swanson, defensive linemen Byran Jones, Chris Smith and Trey Flowers) and with the new staff in year one (and let's face it, a radical change from the Petrino era), the pressure should be off a bit.
Con: There just aren't that many known playmakers on this roster right now, and some will likely have to emerge from the freshmen class.
Pro: What talent there is on this team fits Gus Malzahn's offensive style much better than Scott Loeffler's. Tre Mason in particular could be in for a breakout year.
Con: Quarterback is a complete unknown, and the best the defense can hope for is the ol' "nowhere to go but up" principle.
Pro: People seem to be completely brushing off the fact that State returns a very solid quarterback, a 1,000-yard rusher, its entire starting offensive line and six of its top-10 tacklers on defense.
Con: On the outside, this will be an entirely new group of wide receivers, and corners like Jonathan Banks and Darius Slay aren't easy to replace.
Con: Bo Wallace is still recovering from shoulder surgery, and this is a team that still doesn't have the depth to compete with the top of the conference, particularly on defense or along the line of scrimmage.
Pro: Yeah, that quarterback is pretty good. And he's got a solid running back to hand to in Ben Malena, plus Mike Evans outside. The only other team in the SEC that can't really say much about Alabama's easy schedule.
Con: Defense was a bit iffy last year, and it's replacing a bear of a playmaker in Damontre Moore. If they get by Alabama, there's time for it to gel. But the Tide in week three isn't good timing.