Top performers from unranked teams in the conference
Wide Receiver :: Mississippi State
The 6' 4", 217–pound senior averaged an SEC-best 24.3 yards a catch on 35 receptions in 2006 and should improve in his second season with the Bulldogs' West Coast attack.
Linebacker :: Vanderbilt
A two-year captain, Goff has started 27 straight games. Last year he led the Commodores in tackles, with 93, and he ranks third among active SEC players, with 194 career stops.
Quarterback :: South Carolina
After a midseason benching that lasted seven games, Mitchell, now a senior, ended 2006 on a roll, throwing for four touchdowns in a victory over Houston in the Liberty Bowl.
Left Tackle :: Alabama
The 6' 4", 348-pound sophomore, who started every game as a true freshman, possesses a rare combination of power and quickness and is arguably the Crimson Tide's best player.
Quarterback :: Kentucky
Woodson, a 6' 5", 230-pound senior, completed 63.0% of his passes for 3,515 yards and 31 touchdowns last season as the Wildcats led the SEC in passing offense.
Best Offensive Player
Darren McFadden :: RB :: Arkansas
The junior, who ran for 1,647 yards in '06, enters the season as the Heisman favorite.
Best Defensive Player
Glenn Dorsey :: DT :: LSU
The top interior lineman in the country, Dorsey was a big reason that LSU allowed only 97.1 yards rushing a game last season.
True Freshman to Watch
Eric Berry :: CB :: Tennessee
The 5' 11'' 195-pounder was named the top cornerback in his class by rivals.com and scout.com.
Coach on the Rise
Les Miles :: LSU
He's stockpiling talent with back-to-back, top five recruiting classes.
Coach on the Hot Seat
Sylvester Croom :: Mississippi State
If Croom, 9–25 in three years, doesn't have a winning season with 14 starters returning, he'll probably be canned.
The Tide has 14 starters back, and Nick Saban gets Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU at home.
The SEC assistant who could have the biggest impact this season is Major Applewhite, the new offensive coordinator at Alabama. As a grad assistant at Texas, he tutored Vince Young , and he's now working with junior John Parker Wilson, who threw for 2,539 yards and completed 57.2% of his passes last year.... Barring injury, Vanderbilt wideout Earl Bennett should become the SEC's alltime leading receiver this season. Only a junior, Bennett has 161 receptions, 47 shy of the record held by Kentucky's Craig Yeast.... With 18 of 22 starters back, Steve Spurrier believes the third year of his tenure at South Carolina will be special. "We're not far off," he says. At both of his previous college stops (Duke and Florida), Spurrier won a conference championship by the end of his third season. But history isn't with him: The Gamecocks have won one conference title (the ACC, in 1969) in their 113-year history. -- Lars Anderson