David Brandt, Associated Press
The SEC West has garnered a reputation as college football’s toughest division, and deservedly so: five of the last seven national champions came out of the SEC West, and all seven of its members finished the 2014 season above .500.
But with the SEC West’s top five teams taking losses in the postseason, 2015 looms large for the division. Its collective bragging — and, ostensibly, the bragging right of the SEC in general — hinge on the division’s contenders solving the most perplexing question before each.
As David Brandt examines for the Associated Press, that question is quarterback for many of the SEC West’s teams. Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss are seeking a clear standout at the position. But for Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M and Mississippi State, there are other glaring weaknesses that could be game-changers if they go unaddressed.
Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com
When Jameis Winston’s name is called Thursday in the first round of the NFL draft — and it will be early Thursday — he’ll be the third straight Florida State quarterback under Jimbo Fisher to go in the opening round.
Andrea Adelson went inside the Seminoles’ run, which started in 2011 with Christian Ponder, continued in 2013 when E.J. Manuel was the surprising first quarterback taken and as an almost surefire No. 1 pick, Winston takes it further.
Whether a byproduct of outstanding recruiting or superior coaching — perhaps both — Florida State’s quarterback lineage bodes well for probable 2015 starter, Sean McGuire.
Western Illinois defensive lineman J.J. Veloz called his selfless act of true-life heroism — donating bone marrow to an ailing child — an easy decision.
“When we partnered last year with the WIU chapter of Be the Match, I had never heard of Be the Match or the bone marrow registry,” Veloz said. “But the thing that made me want to register was just the thought if I were in need of a donation or one of my family members were in need. That thought made it a pretty easy decision to register.”
Veloz joins other FCS players who have been active in the Be The Match drive. Current Chicago Cub and 2009 FCS Championship Game MVP Matt Szczur played for Villanova’s Andy Talley, who spearheaded the drive.
E:60 spotlighted Szczur’s donation in 2013: