The most underrated team in the SEC is…

This week we are discussing the most underrated teams in college football. TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join staff writer Kevin Causey and special rotating guests in our weekly roundtable discussing all things college football.

So far this week we have examined the underrated teams in the ACC and the Big Ten. Today we explore the SEC.  Joining us in this conversation is TSS writer and the man behind The Next Wave Football, Ryan Palencer….

Question: The coaches poll has been released, other outlets are releasing their Top 25 polls (SI, Athlon) and we are in the middle of releasing our poll. Which SEC team is the most underrated heading into the 2015 season?

Ryan Palencer:
On Twitter @RyanPalencer

It’s Mississippi State.

For a team to have a serious Heisman candidate, and still be predicted to finish last by some in their own division in their conference has to be the most underrated. While Dak Prescott and Mississippi State play in the buzz saw of the SEC West, it’s still hard to see them finishing last. Prescott also brings back versatile receiver De’Runnya Wilson. Much of the running game disappears with the departure of Josh Robinson, but there is still a ton of talent on offense.

Coming off a 10-win season, the Bulldogs return only seven starters. The biggest question of these is rebuilding the offensive line. Chris Jones and Ryan Brown will have a ton asked of them on the front of an extremely young defensive unit. While 2015 will certainly be a drop off for Mississippi State, finishing last in the West would be too big of a slide to believe.

Bart Doan:
On Twitter @TheCoachBart

I suppose by default since I picked Arkansas to win the SEC, I have to say them, but losing Jonathan Williams to a season-ending injury before the actual season began really sticks in mine (and the Hogs’) craw. You hope for the best for him, especially given how dispensable the NFL seems to make the running back position these days.

At any rate, give me Missouri in the East, because in spite of to replace from a pass catching standpoint, you’ve got to start believing in their ability to continually reload in the SEC and contend. Maty Mauk should blossom this season, and the defense will be good regardless.

Also, the linebackers are some of the best in the SEC. Give me Nate Brown to step up catching the ball, Mauk to develop closer to an elite quarterback, and long disrespected Mizzou to make it three straight East titles.

Kevin Causey:
On Twitter @CFBZ

We have 11 SEC teams in our Top 50 countdown. That leaves just three teams in the SEC not in the countdown. Kentucky, Vanderbilt and…..Florida. Florida? Are the Florida Gators really the 12th best team in the SEC?

Florida under achieved during the Will Muschamp era. There is no question about that. Past performance predicts future performance to a certain extent but things are changing at Florida with the addition of Jim McElwain. This is a young team but they are still very talented. Per 247 Sports, they finished 21st in recruiting last year. In 2014, they finished 9th. In 2013, they finished 3rd. There is talent in Florida. They have Kelvin Taylor at running back. They have Vernon Hargreaves at corner. Florida has one of the best defensive lines in the conference and one of the best defensive backfields. The offense will take time but the Gators will be strong on defense from the start.

The Gators won’t be world-beaters in 2015 but they also won’t be an after thought. The Gators will show in 2015 that they are on the way back. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Gators finish in the top two of the SEC East.

Terry Johnson:
On Twitter @SectionTPJ 
Ole Miss is the most underrated team in the SEC.

Make no mistake about it: the Rebels were one of the top programs in the country last year. Sure, the team lost four games last season. However, Ole Miss also posted some very strong wins in 2013, including victories over Alabama, Mississippi State, and Boise State, which all finished in the top 16.

There’s no reason to think that this trend won’t continue again this season. After all, defense wins championships, and the Rebels will have another rock solid unit this fall. Seven starters return from last year’s star studded squad, which led the SEC in scoring defense, interceptions, and third down conversion percentage.

With that type of defense, Ole Miss will be a contender in the West Division. While they may not win it, the Rebels will definitely finish in the top half of the division, which is higher than where the media predicted they would.