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SEC still led by 'Bama, Gators, then everyone else
SECond to None Footba Heal
Alabama players celebrate after their 32-13 win over Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in this Dec. 5, 2009 file photo. When it comes to college football, the SEC is SECond to none. - photo by Associated Press

    Take heart, Southeastern Conference: Tim Tebow and Mount Cody are gone.
    That's right, there will be no Tebow barreling over defenders for Florida, and no Cody clogging up the middle for Alabama.
    "The two teams that lost the most just on paper is probably Alabama and Florida," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said.
    But that was expected, since those two teams arguably had the most to lose.
    However, they're still the odds-on favorites to meet in the SEC championship game for a third straight year, with the winner likely competing for a national title — again. Florida and Alabama have combined to win the BCS championship three of the last four years; the other one went to SEC rival LSU.
    As an added treat, Florida and Alabama meet on Oct. 2 in Tuscaloosa. That at least guarantees they couldn't play as unbeatens in the SEC title game.
    Chasing the defending champion Tide in the Western Division will be two teams led by transfer quarterbacks, Arkansas and Ryan Mallett and Mississippi and newcomer Jeremiah Masoli. Not to mention an LSU team trying to get back on top and Auburn playing catch-up with in-state rival Alabama.
    "Every team on our end of it is going to improve," Saban said.
    Florida could face a challenge from Georgia and receiver A.J. Green. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier has Stephen Garcia back running his offense.
    "The East is completely wide open," Gators coach Urban Meyer said.
    There was plenty of turnover around the league in the two most high-profile positions: Head coach and quarterback.
    Tennessee replaces Lane Kiffin with coach Derek Dooley.
    Vanderbilt welcomes first-time college head coach Robbie Caldwell — thanks to Bobby Johnson's midsummer retirement — and Kentucky's Joker Phillips got to remove the in-waiting part of his title.
    With Tebow in the NFL, Mallett is the only bona fide returning star at quarterback, though Alabama's Greg McElroy still hasn't lost as a starter since eighth-grade.
    The Tide's stingy defense must replace two-time All-America noseguard Terrence "Mount" Cody and Butkus Award-winning linebacker Rolando McClain. But there's still running back Mark Ingram — the Tide's first Heisman winner — and fellow Alabama offensive threats Julio Jones and Trent Richardson.
    The Meyer-Saban battle remained intact, though, when the Florida coach changed his mind a day after announcing he was stepping down last December after a health scare.
    "The battery is recharged," Meyer said in July.

And so is the battle for No. 1 in the SEC.