William Hill Online Help Centre Close Detach
  • Change view:

William Hill Online Sports Betting - Live Football, Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Sports & Games

Michael Taylor 31st Aug 2010 - 11:10

‘Bama can reload on defence and ensure SEC domination continues

Over the past four years the NCAA's power six conferences have become the power one when it comes to the National Championship shake-up, something the SEC's best expect to continue this year.

Leading the way are the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide who were virtually untouchable under Nick Saban's guidance last year.

Mark Ingram was the driving force on offence as he ran his team to a perfect 14-0 record and himself into a well earned Heisman Trophy while Greg McElroy was good enough to put everything together.

Where the issues may lie this season though isn't on the offensive side of things, rather it's a defence that can look forward to the return of just two starters.

Rolando McClain, Javier Arenas, Terrence Cody and Kareem Jackson were all defensive stalwarts throughout their careers in Tuscaloosa and were always going to be taken in the opening rounds of the 2010 draft.

However, it's people like Marquis Johnson and Brandon Deaderick, ones that don't draw national coverage on a weekly basis that could prove the hardest to replace.

Marcell Dareus has been touted as a readymade replacement for McClain, their chances of going all the way again though rely on the likes of Mark Barron becoming a top 20 type draft prospect by the end of the year and finding adequate replacements on the corners.

Saban is certainly experienced at retooling, plus the nation's best offence is still about so there shouldn't be too many worries around Bama, the bigger issue is finding whether anybody else has strengthened enough.

The obvious way to look is towards the Florida Gators as coach Urban Meyer aims for an unprecedented fourth 14 win season.

Tim Tebow's senior season may have ended in slightly anti-climactic fashion with Alabama dethroning them as SEC champions, however they bounced back in the Sugar Bowl with a crushing victory over Cincinnati showing they still have a lot fight left.

Tebow has gone to the NFL but his influence last season seemed diminished compared to past years so it'll be exciting to see how his replacement John Brantley compares.

Brantley lacks the physicality and speed of his predecessor but his ability to operate in the pocket is in the upper echelons and his release and arm speed could once again light up Gainesville.

At the minute they're extremely underrated given Meyer's recruiting and the fact only Alabama's defence could shut them down last season, I still prefer the Crimson Tide to win the SEC at 4/6 but I'm covering myself by grabbing the 3/1 about the Gators as well (Florida also look a great bet to win the national title at 12/1.)

It's those two or nothing from the SEC for me this year and you better believe OSU are praying it's neither.

The Buckeyes have a few issues they'll need to patch up amongst their defensive backs if they're to be taken very seriously, however the optimism surrounding Terrelle Pryor is palpable.

Pryor came with a huge reputation but it wasn't until the Rose Bowl against a great Oregon defensive line that he finally gave his breakout performance - throwing for 266 yards and 2 TDs.

If he can return and keep producing then big things have to be expected from Jim Tressel's side given they have an unbelievable 16 starters returning in 2010 including by far the most accomplished offensive line in the Big 10.

Even with all this the Rose Bowl performance on New Year's Day has to be the precipitating factor in backing the Buckeyes to smash the Big 10 at 2/5, sadly though 11/2 about a National Championship is still tough to take with the SEC dominance showing no signs of slowing.

NCAA football gets going on Thursday 2 September so make sure you get your ante-post bets on now. We will also be offering game lines every week.


View AllPlay Games


View AllMichael Taylor