I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to be heading towards the Classic City tomorrow. Jonathan owes me $80, which is a huge boost since I lost my debit card about two days ago. It'd suck huge ones to put a $3 Jack and Coke on a tab that is being charged at 8%. That shit does not spell fun.
Before I begin, I'd like to point out this article
which I found via Dawgbone.net
. Let me say that I couldn't disagree more with damn near anything this asshat says. He makes 5 predictions in the SEC and I think maybe 2 have a legitimate shot. He believes Auburn goes undefeated (wrong answer), UGA vs. UF will determine the SEC East rep in the SEC title game (*DING*), UK will be much better than advertised (wrong answer), Stafford could start by the season's end ("plausible" says the Myth Busters), and MSU will upset USC on August 31 (wrong answer). Anyway, feel free to disagree with me, but I just don't see where any of that came from specifically.
I promised a couple of days ago that I would include a preview of all the teams in the SEC and where I think they'll finish. I've done a little bit of reading, but no where near the amount I should to make a completely informed decision, so I'll just go with the gut
on this one.
Also, before you want to dismiss my "feeling based" ramblings, I'd invite you to take a look at this post which previewed the SEC last year
. While this preview won't be nearly as long, I will stand by it until I'm proven wrong. Then, I'll place the blame somewhere else other than on my own head.
Let's go West...alphabetically of course and the big, bold letters indicate division champ:
Alabama -- Mike Shula's crimson machine doesn't really seem to be generating that much talk. It's not like they lost a TON in last year's graduating/draft class, but they did lose Croyle, which is big enough...I guess. The good news is they return their entire offense, minus the kicking game, in Tyrone Prothro. The kid is f*cking amazing, but will their new QB (anyone know his name?) live up to the expectations of getting him the ball? Who knows, but I don't expect 'Bama to be back this year...and Shula goes the way of the Dodo as well. The one thing that MIGHT save him is that I expect the Tide to beat Auburn this year. Call me crazy...do it.
Predicted Record: 8-4
Arkansas -- I have always thought Houston Nutt was overrated as a coach. He gets the most out of his guys, but he has still been able to impress me as far as taking a team and making them play above their level. He gets them to their level and expects them to do the rest. The one thing I will give them is that they always tend to upset someone in a big game at some point throughout the season. This year, maybe it's LSU, but I'm not sure. Darren McFadden is a monster and Nutt will be forced to play his new recruit that he loves so much, Mitch Mustain. Nutt will once again rely on his "this is a young team" excuse that he loves so much, but he has one more year, maybe two, before he's canned. Hell, I hope they win the West if you want to know the truth. I remember 2002 very well.
Predicted Record: 6-6Auburn
-- Shit I hope Tommy Tuberville has a great season and gets offered the A&M job. I can't fucking stand the guy. He whines, cries, and seems to dodge the fact that it's not really him being such a damn good coach, but more of him hiring excellent assistants. I mean seriously. Anyone remember Auburn before Al Borges? Now Auburn returns a fantastic running back in Kenny Irons, a good signal caller in Brandon Cox (who looked like the worst idea ever at Tech last year...my how the times have changed), and they always have a good defense. Hiring Will Muschamp in the offseason didn't hurt either. Expect the Tigers to be good, but the SEC is the SEC and I don't see them going undefeated and challenging for the Nat'l Title.
Predicted Record: 10-2
LSU -- Les Miles overcame a lot last year, blah blah blah. I get it. The wins against Alabama and Florida were huge. However, I just don't see Les Miles as being the next guy in Tiger Lore. He just doesn't seem to "get it." I don't know what it is, but the guy just doesn't impress me. The LSU fans make LSU football what it is, which is intimidating as hell at Tiger Stadium. Everywhere else, it's just kind of hit or miss with those guys. The team had a reason to play last year, but this year it seems like the QB controversy, no "superstar," and no hype will keep LSU on the backburner and they'll have to win some tough games in order to get in the hunt for the SEC title. I think they'll finish second in the West, only because no one else has the kind of talent LSU does.
Predicted Record: 9-3
Mississippi State -- Man I really like Sly Croom, but I just don't know if the Faux Bulldog faithful have the kind of patience to let him fix what Jackie Sherril fucked up. He's definitely not getting the monetary support and he's yet to win that defining game that has turned the program around. You would think the game two years ago when they beat Florida would do it, but it hasn't and they need another option. Maybe a win against Alabama would get the spark to drive momentum into getting a good recruiting class. I don't know, but a class act like Croom deserves a chance to really show his ability. I just think it's a shame he won't get it at MSU.
Predicted Record: 6-6
Ole Miss -- Man I gotta be honest. I don't think these guys are going to be worth shit. They have some studs on defense, but on offense you've got Brent "Screw Ainge" Shaeffer who hasn't had NEARLY the time he needed to learn the playbook and gel with his team. This is another wasted season for Ole Miss, who is full of great people and good looking women, but just can't seem to get that whole "football" thing down. I think firing Cutcliffe will come back to haunt them.
Predicted Record: 5-7
Now the East..shit, this will take a while:
Florida -- I don't get it. I just don't get it. How Urban Meyer can field a team whose offense got gradually worse throughout the year can be ranked so high this year boggles my mind. History has showed that in the second year of his system his teams are better offensively, but history also showed that he COACHED IN SHITTY CONFERENCES. Sometimes teams can look indestructible on paper only to fold against bigger and badder foes who have the fundamentals down first (see: Boise State vs. UGA). I still think Florida is loaded with talent from top to bottom, but their schedule is brutal. Meyer can get all the WRs in the world, but until Leak starts actually running in the offense (instead of sliding down), he just isn't going to be effective in the spread. Tim Tebow looks to be a talent and could see a LOT of playing time by the season's end. I always predict us to win in Jacksonville and I will do it again.
Predicted Record: 9-3Georgia
-- Let the bias show. I really like this very young Dawg team. Our freshmen are ready to contribute meaningfully and once we get the offense ironed out (it's not going to be as complicated as people make it seem), the rest will fall into place. Our defense is salty and the running back stable, which is probably the best in the nation, will keep the heat off whatever QB has growing pains. While I don't see us going undefeated, I do see us having a chance to win every single game on our schedule. Speaking of which, our schedule is a CAKE WALK. Watch that come back to haunt me.
Predicted Record: 10-2
Kentucky -- UK has sucked in the past. They'll suck again.
Predicted Record: 4-8
South Carolina -- Steve Spurrier was a helluva ball coach. But he can't seem to undo the damage that was left of South Carolina. With no O-Line, no defense, and no playmakers on offense, they will be slightly better than last year. I think they upset a few teams again, but lose the games they should probably win. They'll be average at best. Sorry, but it's the truth...I think.
Predicted Record: 7-5
Tennessee -- I've heard NOTHING about Tennessee in the offseason. That's good and bad. It's good in that there's not much hype, which leaves the Vols with an uphill climb to regain their confidence, but it's bad because that means not that many players were arrested in the offseason. The addition of David Cutcliffe will help in leaps and bounds in terms of getting the QB situation stable, but I still don't see a solid workhorse or WR to get the job done. UT's always had a capable defense, so I don't expect that to change, but make no mistake when I say that the Vols are just as overrated this year as they were the last...and they're not even really that "rated" to begin with.
Predicted Record: 8-4
Vanderbilt -- I secretly cheer for these guys. I wasn't all that much into football when Vandy was ruining our homecomings and making a total mockery of UGA, so my desire to hate the 'Dores really isn't there. I like Bobby Johnson (see: Steve Martin) and I think he's quite able to put a good QB on the field each and every game. They're going with a more athletic quarterback this year and apparently he was rated a 3-star prospect coming out of high school. Let's just be honest and saying that is a huge plus for Vandy. If the QB can scramble out of bad situations and create openings downfield by doing so, they might surprise some people. They ain't winning the conference any time soon, but hell, let's all hope they make it to a bowl.
Predicted Record: 6-6
More importantly...SEC Champ -- Dawgs!!! (Auburn has a legitimate shot though)
Well, there you have it. I hope it wasn't too long or boring, but it is what it is. We'll revisit all this mess on Sunday when I make it back from Athens.
Until next time kids.