Welcome to the Madness.
The NCAA tournament cranked up Tuesday night and begins in earnest on Thursday.
We here at the SEC blog love our college hoops and will pay tribute to the Big Dance with our own little SEC football tournament.
Edward and I will both seed all 14 SEC football teams based on how we think they would be seeded going into the 2013 season, and then we’ll “fill out our brackets” all the way through the championship game.
We’ll have different sites and everything, including doubleheaders in the first round. The top two seeds will get byes into the second round, meaning the No. 3 seed will face the No. 14 seed, the No. 4 seed facing the No. 13 seed and so forth in the first round.
Talk about a football smorgasbord. Consider it a precursor of sorts for the four-team national playoff, which begins in 2014.
I’ll kick it off with my bracket, and then the ATL Kid will follow later this morning with his. Sort of like Jimi Hendrix closing the show at Woodstock, I figure the defending champion in the SEC picks contest gets the honor of closing our brackets show.
So after careful consideration and consultation with the selection committee, I’ll unveil my seeds:
2. South Carolina
4. Texas A&M
9. Ole Miss
10. Mississippi State
In Nashville Tenn.
No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 14 Kentucky: Mark Stoops has already made some gains on the recruiting trail, but the Wildcats aren’t ready to win a game like this. Winner: Georgia
No. 6 LSU vs. No. 11 Missouri: The “Bayou” version of the Tigers lost a slew of starters on defense, and while they’re still plenty talented on that side of the ball, Missouri finds a way to pull the first-round upset. Winner: Missouri
In Kansas City, Mo.
No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 13 Tennessee: The Vols can’t possibly be any worse on defense than they were a year ago. But trying to corral Johnny Football makes a lot of defenses look bad. Winner: Texas A&M
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 12 Arkansas: Finding more pop in the passing game is a must for the Gators, who will again be a load on defense and too much for the Hogs to handle. Winner: Florida
In Tampa, Fla.
No. 7 Vanderbilt vs. No. 10 Mississippi State: Don’t sleep on James Franklin and the Commodores. They’re serious about making a run in the East race. Winner: Vanderbilt
No. 8 Auburn vs. No. 9 Ole Miss: The most hotly contested first-round battle goes into overtime, but Ellis Johnson’s defense forces a clutch turnover to save the Tigers. Winner: Auburn
In Orlando, Fla.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Auburn: They could play the Iron Bowl in a parking lot in Des Moines, Iowa, and the rivalry would still be as fierce as ever. The Tigers hang tough, but AJ McCarron’s three touchdown passes are too much. Winner: Alabama
In New Orleans, La.
No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 5 Florida: Johnny Manziel gets another shot at that Florida defense after being shut down in the second half last season in College Station. This time, he gets it done in the clutch. Winner: Texas A&M
In Houston, Texas
No. 2 South Carolina vs. No. 7 Vanderbilt: The Gamecocks’ Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t send any helmets flying in this game, but he does make life miserable for the entire Vanderbilt offense. Winner: South Carolina
In Charlotte, N.C.
No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 11 Missouri: The Tigers’ Cinderella run comes to an end, as Aaron Murray surpasses 120 touchdown passes for his career with two long scoring tosses to Malcolm Mitchell. Winner: Georgia
In Miami, Fla.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Texas A&M: These two teams are becoming fast rivals, and the two quarterbacks put on a show. But in the end, Manziel foils the Tide once again. Before the mass uproar commences in Tuscaloosa, at some point, Alabama is going to lose again in a postseason/championship game. Winner: Texas A&M
In Arlington, Texas
No. 2 South Carolina vs. No. 3 Georgia: South Carolina has owned Georgia the past three years, but the Bulldogs bite back this time. Jordan Jenkins outshines Clowney and registers the game-saving sack in the fourth quarter. Winner: Georgia
In Atlanta, Ga.
No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 3 Georgia: If you love offense, then you’re stoked about the championship game. Manziel has carried the Aggies to this point, while the Bulldogs have thrown the ball and run the ball with equal success. Both defenses have trouble stopping the other offense, but Murray leads the Bulldogs on a last-minute drive -- and this time -- there are no tipped passes inside the 10. Georgia 35, Texas A&M 31.