2019 SEC Preview

The SEC ego is a bit bruised after last year’s National Championship game. The conference as a whole is not as competitive as it was 5 or so years ago and the gap between the top few teams and the rest of the pack seems to be growing. I expect to see Alabama and Georgia in the SEC Champ game for a second year in a row and both teams have a strong chance to make the Playoff. I really only see LSU having the chance to upset the balance, but they will need some luck to do that.

SEC West

1. Alabama (8-0)
2. LSU (7-1)
3. Texas A&M (5-3)
4. Auburn (3-5)
5. Mississippi State (3-5)
6. Ole Miss (2-6)
7. Arkansas (1-7)

Alabama
Predicted SEC Record: 8-0
Wins: at South Carolina, Ole Miss, at Texas A&M, Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, at Mississippi State, at Auburn
Losses: none
Alabama got decleated in the National Championship game against Clemson last year. That means the Tide will be angry and probably have a chip on their shoulders. Their biggest asset is having QB Tua Tagovailoa back to lead the offense. Though his backups are untested since Jalen Hurts transferred to Oklahoma, I’m pretty sure they are all pretty good because they are at Alabama. WR Jerry Jeudy will be the main target for Tua and should put up some big numbers. The defense is not a concern to me because Nick Saban is the head coach. I expect Alabama to be Alabama, even if that sounds like a broken record.

LSU
Predicted SEC Record: 7-1
Wins: at Vanderbilt, Florida, at Mississippi State, Auburn, at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M
Losses: at Alabama
Joe Burrow is probably the best QB LSU has had since Mettenberger. He is the main reason I think the Tigers have a real shot this season. They return 16 starters and should be pretty even skill wise on both offense and defense. I think they will end up losing two SEC games, but I don’t know which one it will be. Honestly, it is all up to the play of the QB.

Texas A&M
Predicted SEC Record: 5-3
Wins: Auburn, Arkansas, at Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina
Losses: Alabama, at Georgia, at LSU
Texas A&M is one of two SEC teams (the other is SCAR) that has to play Clemson, Alabama and Georiga. This team struggled on the road last year and will have to face Georgia and LSU away from Kyle Field this year. They do have an experienced QB in Kellen Mond and that should be a big help. Their schedule is tough, but is broken up pretty well with their two bye weeks. They have a chance at another 9-win season.

Auburn
Predicted SEC Record: 3-5
Wins: Mississippi State, at Arkansas, Ole Miss
Losses: at Texas A&M, at Florida, at LSU, Georgia, Alabama
I feel a little bit bad for Auburn. They have to play Georgia and Alabama every year. This year they do get to be the home team for both games, but I don’t think that will make too much of a difference this season. Gus Malzahn is on and off the hot seat multiple times a year. This might be one of the worst yet. The Tigers will have to break in a new QB, and even though Bo Nix is very highly touted, he doesn’t have any SEC experience yet. I don’t have high hope for Auburn this season.

Mississippi State
Predicted SEC Record: 3-5
Wins: Kentucky, at Arkansas, Ole Miss
Losses: at Auburn, at Tennessee, LSU, at Texas A&M, Alabama
The Bulldogs had a strong 2018 season. The biggest concern going into this season is on defense. They lost three great players and they will need last year’s backups to step up. On the other side of the ball, Miss State gets Penn State grad transfer Tommy Stevens. He should do well in this system under his old position coach Joe Moorhead. This team is always good to pull an upset or two in conference play, and they could have another 8-win season.

Ole Miss
Predicted SEC Record: 2-6
Wins: Arkansas, Vanderbilt
Losses: at Alabama, at Missouri, Texas A&M, at Auburn, LSU, at Mississippi State
Ole Miss is no longer under a bowl ban and will have their full allotment of scholarships back this season. This is a very young offensive team with a tough schedule, but they will have a chance to make it to six wins and a bowl game. They return all but one starter on defense, which is good because they have experience, but also not so good because this defense gave up 41 points per game last year. They should be improved, but I still don’t think they will be great.

Arkansas
Predicted SEC Record: 1-7
Wins: Missouri
Losses: at Ole Miss, Texas A&M, at Kentucky, Auburn, at Alabama, Mississippi State, at LSU
Chad Morris’s first season as the head Hog was not a great one. Actually, it was one of the worst seasons in Razorback football history. As a Razorback fan, I’d like to look at the positive side, that being that there is no way but up from here. As we head into week one of the season, a starting QB has yet to be announced. There are some good options but a lack of a single starter really hurt the offense last season. The defense should also get better with some leaders coming back. I think they will get past the two-win mark of last season, but I think a bowl will be a bit much to ask for in year two for Coach Morris. An end of season conference win in Little Rock would be a huge boost to the team and the fan base.

SEC East

1. Georgia (8-0)
2. Missouri (5-3)
3. Florida (5-3)
4. Kentucky (3-5)
5. Tennessee (3-5)
6. South Carolina (2-6)
7. Vanderbilt (1-7)

Georgia
Predicted SEC Record: 8-0
Wins: at Vanderbilt, at Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, at Auburn, Texas A&M
Losses: none
There is not a ton of analysis here. QB Jake Fromm will be back for his junior season and he will have a ton of weapons to work with including RB D’Andre Swift. This team is well coached and returns a lot of starters. Expect another strong season from the Bulldogs as they look to return to the Playoff.

Missouri
Predicted SEC Record: 5-3
Wins: South Carolina, Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee
Losses: at Kentucky, at Georgia, at Arkansas
The biggest factor for Missouri this season is the arrival of former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant. He is going to have to fill the big shoes of Drew Lock. I’m not really sure how well he will fit into the Missouri system, but if he can stay healthy he can be a game changer. They have a good chance of being competitive in the East this season. Expect the Tigers to put up a lot of points again this season.

Florida
Predicted SEC Record: 5-3
Wins: at Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, at South Carolina, Vanderbilt
Losses: at LSU, Georgia, at Missouri
Some people think Florida is going to be very good this season. I am not one of those people. QB Feleipe Franks (whose name I have definitely been misspelling forever) is pretty good, but I don’t think he is good enough to take the Gators to the promised land, especially when there is only one returning starter on the OLine. Besides Georgia, I think the East will be competitive this season. I am especially interested in seeing how they play against Kentucky after losing for the first time in more than 30 years. They open the season against Miami, so we should get a feel for the Gator’s season pretty quick.

Kentucky
Predicted SEC Record: 3-5
Wins: Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee
Losses: Florida, at Mississippi State, at South Carolina, at Georgia, at Vanderbilt
Kentucky loses their two best players from last season. On defense they lose Josh Allen and on offense they lose the best RB in team history in Benny Snell. They return their QB who is also a threat to run. I expect this to be a rebuilding year for the Cats. I am excited to mark this stadium off my list when I go to Lexington in October for the Arkansas game.

Tennessee
Predicted SEC Record: 3-5
Wins: Mississippi State, South Carolina
Losses: at Florida, Georgia, at Alabama, at Kentucky, at Tennessee
This year’s Tennessee team is pretty experienced. They return almost their entire offense including veteran QB Jarrett Guarantano. This offense was bad last season. They averaged about 20 points per game in SEC play. A year of playing together will be beneficial, but I don’t think they can improve too much. Their defense was middle of the pack last year but still gave up 36 points per conference game. The Vols should make a bowl this season.

South Carolina
Predicted SEC Record: 2-6
Wins: Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Losses: Alabama, at Missouri, at Georgia, Florida, at Tennessee, at Texas A&M
South Carolina faces possibly the toughest schedule in the country. They draw Alabama as their rotating West opponent and also have to play rival and defending national champs Clemson. They do have QB Jake Bentley back for his senior season and they return 14 starters. This team will probably end up being better than their record shows. A bowl isn’t out of reach, but it will be a tough season.

Vanderbilt
Predicted SEC Record: 1-7
Wins: Kentucky
Losses: Georgia, LSU, at Ole Miss, Missouri, at South Carolina, at Florida, at Tennessee
Vanderbilt is always one of the toughest teams to preview. They tend to be a competitive team that fights hard in every game, but they just don’t have the same talent as the rest of the SEC. This year they bring in grad transfer QB Riley Neal from Ball State. They have to start the season off against one of the top Playoff contenders with Georgia. Derek Mason knows how to get the best out of his players, but I’m not sure their best will be enough to turn many heads this season.

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Posted in 2019 Season, Football

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AP Top 25

1. Clemson (0-0,0-0)
2. Alabama (0-0,0-0)
3. Georgia (0-0,0-0)
4. Oklahoma (0-0,0-0)
5. Ohio State (0-0,0-0)
6. LSU (0-0,0-0)
7. Michigan (0-0,0-0)
8. Florida (0-0,0-0)
9. Notre Dame (0-0)
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11. Oregon (0-0,0-0)
12. Texas A&M (0-0,0-0)
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15. Penn State (0-0,0-0)
16. Auburn (0-0,0-0)
17. UCF (0-0,0-0)
18. Michigan State (0-0,0-0)
19. Wisconsin (0-0,0-0)
20. Iowa (0-0,0-0)
21. Iowa State (0-0,0-0)
22. Syracuse (0-0,0-0)
23. Washington State (0-0,0-0)
24. Nebraska (0-0,0-0)
25. Stanford (0-0,0-0)

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