SEC Preview: I finally sat down and picked wins and losses for each team in the SEC, week by week. I like to go against the grain because that oblong shaped thing takes a lot of funny bounces. You'll see.
The west is very even. I don't think there is a clear cut favorite. That includes Alabama and Auburn. The SEC East is different. Vanderbilt has no chance. Kentucky and Florida aren't very good either.
Let's start with the SEC's worst first. The Dores were horrible last year, struggling with every team. Sisters of the Poor gave them a ball game. Still, I can't scratch a "W" by any conference foe.
It might be a rough first season for McElwaine at Florida. Kentucky should beat them. The game is at Commonwealth and Towles is a better quarterback than whomever the Gators will put on the field.
I think the young 70-year-old ball coach at South Carolina will have a slightly improved bunch, still putting "Cocky" in the middle of the pack.
As for the top of the division, I'm picking Mizzou. They're not going to burn me again. They've got an easier slate than Georgia and Tennessee.
I think the Dogs will lose to Auburn and Alabama. Plus UT gets UGA at "Rocky Top" after the Bama game, which would give Richt his third defeat. The Vols might be in contention going to Missouri late but it's a loss in my book.
Looking at the wild west, I picked LSU to finish last. This might be it for Les Miles. The schedule is brutal. Play has to improve at quarterback, but will the defense drop off with Chavis in College Station?
I picked four SEC West teams to have identical 5-3 conference records; Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
My guess is the winner of this division will lose two games. There's a very good chance that it will come down to the "Iron Bowl." Jordan-Hare can be a magical place. If AU's playing for the division at home, they'll be tough to beat.
That puts Auburn in the title game with two losses vs. Missouri with three. If that scenario plays out, the SEC would likely be exempt from the College Football Playoff. The pundits will then exclaim, "The SEC is dead! Ding dong, the SEC is dead!"
It has become us (the SEC) vs. them (everybody else). And, it would be three straight years without an SEC champion after seven years of dominance.
Then the SEC coaches can start making excuses about how difficult the league is, and how we need to go to eight playoff teams.
It wasn't a factor before. During the title run, it's what made the SEC stronger. They were battle tested.
South Carolina (7-5/4-4)
Miss. State (9-3/5-3)
Ole Miss (9-3/5-3)
Texas A&M (9-3/5-3)