GENE PHELPS: Mags predict rags for Ole Miss, MSU

This summer's college football preview magazines offer little hope for Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans.

It's the same nearly every season. You plunk down your $6.99, open Athlon, Lindy's or The Sporting News and see the headlines:

– Gators poised for title.

– Auburn owns the West.

– Vols back on track.

– LSU's got BCS talent.

– It's Tide's time.

– Hogs in bowl hunt.

– Georgia's still loaded.

– Spurrier makes it finer in Carolina.

Thankfully, we don't see:

– Rebels tabbed for fifth, maybe sixth.

– Bulldogs are No. 6, but could be No. 5, if Rebels falter.

Kentucky and Vanderbilt receive the same treatment every year in the East. It's all about Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Spurrier-driven South Carolina. In the West, it's Auburn and LSU, then flip a coin between Arkansas and Alabama.

Then it's Ole Miss and State, or State and Ole Miss. The same goes for the Wildcats and Commodores.

The Sporting News does predict the addition of Brent Schaeffer at quarterback and BenJarvus Green-Ellis at tailback will kick start Ed Orgeron's Ole Miss offense. They also noted the second-year coach's talented recruiting class.

“The Rebels aren't going to win the West, but they're not going to win three games again, either,” TSN says.

After back-to-back 3-8 seasons, MSU's Sylvester Croom is being predicted to feel some heat, not love, if the Bulldogs don't show some improvement.

Croom's got some good company on the heated seat – Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer, Arkansas' Houston Nutt and Kentucky's Rich Brooks.

This writer believes Croom deserves more time, and guesses he'll get it. Brooks and Nutt will not be afforded the same fate if their teams don't produce.

As for UT's Fulmer, I simply say: One twenty eight and thirty seven. No way.

As for the predictable, why not Auburn and Florida.

Auburn's got the O-line and the running back, Kenny Irons, and the OC, Al Borges. On defense, the Tigers will have that aggressive LSU-Saben look with new coordinator Will Muschamp.

Florida's got the QB in Chris Leak, the coach in Urban Meyer and some of the nation's top-recruited players. How could you not win in Gainesville?

So, after digesting all this information, and more, in three preview annuals, here's my early take on the SEC.

– Florida in the East with Tennessee as the wildcard.

– Auburn in the West with LSU as the wildcard.

– Ole Miss and State better than predicted. We hope.

Gene Phelps (gene.phelps) is sports editor for the Daily Journal

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