SEC Football 2014: Conference Landscape Changing After Loss of 7 Starting Quarterbacks

SEC Landscape Changing After Loss of 7 Starting Quarterbacks

4/22/14 in NCAAF   |   BlakeLovell   |   86 respect

Nov 16, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) scores a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the second half at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers won 43-38. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports2013 was the year of the quarterback in the SEC. Because of that, a league that is typically heralded for its strong defenses turned into a league that resembled an arena football game at times.

With so many talented quarterbacks under center, teams scored points. A lot of them.

But now, with half of the teams in the SEC turning to a new quarterback in 2014, the high-scoring affairs that we witnessed on a regular basis last season may long be forgotten.

Defense will likely once again rule the landscape in the SEC come August, as not only have teams loaded up with highly-skilled players on the defensive side of the ball, but the signal callers that garnered national attention a year ago have graduated or pursued their NFL dreams.

Former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel? Gone.

AJ McCarron, one of the most decorated quarterbacks in college football history? Gone.

SEC career passing touchdown leader Aaron Murray? Gone.

Connor Shaw, the tough as nails leader at South Carolina? Gone.

Zach Mettenberger, James Franklin, and Austyn Carta-Samuels? They're gone too.

Needless to say, that's quite a bit of production that won't be on the field when the season kicks off in late August. And that's exactly why the demise of the SEC defense has been greatly exaggerated.

A quarterback group like the one we saw last year doesn't come around often. Years down the road, we may look back on that group as one of the most talented in the history of college football in terms the talent within a single conference.

Everything fell into place for the offenses around the league last season. With inexperienced quarterbacks being thrown into the fray in 2014, it's hard to see teams reaching some of the ridiculous offensive achievements that they did a year ago.

That's not to say that there won't be good offenses and quarterbacks, though.

Nick Marshall returns to lead Gus Malzahn's offense at Auburn once again, and this is one offense that probably won't be slowing down anytime soon.

Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State have extremely talented QB's coming back in Bo Wallace and Dak Prescott, which should give them a leg up.

And there will undoubtedly be a quarterback or two around the league that surprises us all by exceeding expectations in his new role.

Still, the safe bet for the SEC in 2014 is defense. High-scoring games will still happen, but we might not see the same type of offensive dominance that we saw last year.

Have no fear, defensive SEC fans. It's your turn again.

How do you see the SEC landscape changing in 2014 with all the new quarterbacks? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!
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