What do Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Auburn, Mississippi, and Mississippi State have in common?
They will all need to decided on a starter at quarterback - arguably the most important position on the field - heading in to the 2010 season. South Carolina has the most experienced starter returning in Stephen Garcia. LSU's Jordan Jefferson has shown signs of capability in an offense desperately lacking identity and will need to step up heading into his junior season. Arkansas's Ryan Mallett is sitting out the spring with a broken foot which gives the Hogs time to develop a quality backup option. Alabama, who won the national championship, returns Greg McElroy and is also looking to develop depth at the position. Those teams are fine.
Of all the other teams, Florida is in the best position to succeed. John Brantley is a highly-touted player who played a little mop-up last season backing up Tim Tebow and has a solid coaching staff in place. Florida still needs receivers and an SEC quality back/running game option to balance the offense. Allegedly, this offense will be more "balanced" with Brantley at the helm, but Florida also said the same for Tebow's senior year and that didn't happen. (In fairness, having watched Tebow's Senior Bowl, that may have been a function of who was starting more than desire of the coaching staff.)
Georgia needs to choose wisely.
Joe Cox started for one year and threw for a bunch of yards, touchdowns, and INTs. He was also wildly inconsistent, hitting only 56% of his passes. Georgia has three competitors for the position this spring - Freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger (who was recently arrested for underage drinking) as well as sophomore Logan Gray who actually played in 2009. Gray seems to be the odd man out in this as word from multiple places is this will come down to Murray and Mettenberger.
Murray is said to have an edge because he's got more all-around skills to work with - he's an athlete who can make plays with his arm and legs while Mettenberger is more of a traditional pocket passer. Couple all of that with Mettenberger's seemingly questionable judgment and I can see why Mark Richt is looking Murray's way. As for Gray, he may end up at another position when the smoke settles on spring practice. No matter what, Richt needs to choose wisely this off-season or 2010 will be his last in Athens. That seat is smoking hot!