CFP Contenders in the SEC: Where does LSU football rank?

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Apr 18, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6) looks to pass during the spring game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

1. Auburn

Coming out of the SEC Media Days, the Auburn Tigers are now the favorites to bring home the SEC Championship. Auburn fans may be a little cautious heading into the 2015 season, as in the past the team has failed to turn high rankings and favorable predictions during the offseason into on-field success.

However, the Tigers feel confident that they can buck the trend this year and make all the offseason predictions come true.

Following last season, Auburn head coach Guz Malzahn fired his defensive coordinator and replaced him with former Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp.  In 2014 Auburn, ranked 63rd in the nation in total defense, surrendering 26.7 points per game and consistently failing to put adequate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Malzahn hopes that by hiring Muschamp, he will inspire a change in the culture of his defense and fix their problems from the year before.

Another big factor this season will be how well junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson plays in his first season as the starter. Johnson has the build of a NFL quarterback (6’5″, 240-pounds) and physically resembles Cam Newton, the last quarterback to lead Auburn to a national title in 2010. In his past two seasons as the backup quarterback, Johnson made two starts and threw for an impressive 73.1 completion percentage and nine touchdowns.

"“I’ve got to lead, I’ve got to lead by example,” Johnson told “Not just the quarterback room, but also the whole team, offense and defense.”"

There is no guarantee that winning the SEC title would give Auburn, or any other SEC Champion for that matter, an automatic invitation to the College Football Playoff. Regardless, the level of competition in the conference should give any 2015 SEC Champion the proper validation to make it into the elusive playoff.

Next: Alabama