By Phil Bush
SEC Digital Network
ATLANTA - Volleyball is back for the Southeastern Conference. It is indeed a brand new game this year, with Missouri and Texas A&M coming into the league to play a FULL conference schedule. While we are not ready for conference play yet, what is going to be interesting is the number of new people associated with the conference in terms of coaches and players.
Tennessee has been picked to repeat as conference champions. Not a surprise here, but the road to the championship, while it may go through Knoxville, will certainly make multiple stops along the winding road that is the SEC.
Texas A&M and Missouri both come from the Big 12, which has been amongst the nation’s strongest for a lot of years in a row. The conference level RPIs will be interesting to watch this year. With the Pac-12 still arguably in the lead slot, the Big 10 being improved from the Import of Nebraska from the Big 12, and the SEC being improved by Texas A&M and Missouri, I think it will be anyone’s guess as to which conference are in “lead” spots.
However, one of the interesting items is going to be how strong the SEC is playing prior to the regular season starting. Depending on the week and the math, by the end of this weekend alone, the SEC will have met 17 teams from the Top 25 and those also receiving votes. I’ll keep track of this and provide a final update at the end of the pre-conference schedule for how all the teams did. The point is that the SEC has taken the approach to play the best to get ready for the rigors of the SEC schedule.
The fact of the matter is, no matter your record going into SEC play, what those who know will be watching is the head-to-head match-ups. Who you played and how you did against those teams will set a standard. Based on early-season rankings: Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and Missouri are all right there right there as the season gets going .That's six of 13 with national-level recognition as the season starts.
Also, there are two fascinating stories regarding transfers this year- both named Taylor:
Taylor Simpson started out at Nebraska, then went to Florida State, and now to Missouri
Taylor Brauneis transferred from Louisville to Florida.
I will report back after this upcoming week as to how these players are doing in their new roles and with new teams.
Next Week’s Topics:
· The SEC against the Top 25 and beyond
· Freshmen making an impact