2021 SEC Preview

I know I sound like a broken record, but I am picking Alabama to beat Georgia for the SEC Championship this season. I bet all 14 teams are looking forward to not playing 10 conference opponents this year. There is potential for chaos, but it is hard to predict that without seeing any games. It does suck that we have to wait a whole month for SEC vs SEC games. Arkansas technically plays 8.5 SEC games because they will host Texas this year (maybe 8.25 SEC games). We also get to see Georgia play Clemson in week 1. All of these predictions could go out the window in 2 weeks, but it’s still fun to try.

SEC West

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

Alabama
Predicted SEC Record: 8-0
Wins: at Florida, Ole Miss, at Texas A&M, at Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas, at Auburn
Losses: none
I wonder if Alabama fans get bored of all this winning. I would hate it if I was disappointed with less than 10 wins (but to be fair, I’d be excited with 5 wins for Arkansas). Alabama will have a new starting QB this year because of the departure of Mac Jones, but backup Bryce Young did see the field last season in garbage time situations. He should have plenty of skill around him to make him look like a stellar QB (as is the Nick Saban way). Also, I probably won’t pick against Alabama until Nick Saban retires. I think they will win the SEC and the National Championship once again.

LSU
Predicted SEC Record: 6-2
Wins: at Mississippi State, Auburn, at Kentucky, at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M
Losses: Florida, at Alabama
LSU was dealt a bit of a tough hand last season. After their incredible record-breaking Championship season in 2019, the Tigers lost a ton of players to the NFL then lost a few more to opt outs last season. If they can stay healthy this year, they have a chance to be very competitive in the SEC. They will also bring in a new Defensive Coordinator who I doubt will be worse than Bo Pelini was last season. This team should be much improved from last year.

Ole Miss
Predicted SEC Record: 5-3
Wins: at Tennessee, at Auburn, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, at Mississippi State
Losses: at Alabama, Arkansas, LSU
Even though Ole Miss finished the regular season just 4-5 last year, they were better than their record. They do bring back QB Matt Corral, who is very good, but he did throw 14 INTs last season (though 6 were against Arkansas). With Lane Kiffin at the helm, you know this team will be fun to watch on offense. Their defense should be better this year, but I think if they can hold most of their opponents under 35, they have a chance to win a lot of games.

Texas A&M
Predicted SEC Record: 5-3
Wins: Arkansas (Dallas), Mississippi State, at Missouri, South Carolina, Auburn
Losses: Alabama, at Ole Miss, at LSU
Before I get into it, I just have a feeling about the Ole Miss game. Texas A&M had a great season last year. They came so close to making the playoff (maybe they should’ve, they lost to Bama by the same margin that Notre Dame did in the title game). This year, they lose veteran QB Kellen Mond and will also have a very young offensive line. I don’t like that combination. I think I say this every year, but I don’t trust the Aggies to give their best for a whole season. I also just don’t like Jimbo Fisher. I don’t think we will see the same level of play that we did last year.

Arkansas
Predicted SEC Record: 4-4
Wins: at Ole Miss, Auburn (Homecoming), Mississippi State, Missouri
Losses: Texas A&M (Dallas), at Georgia, at LSU, at Alabama
For the 2nd year in a row, Arkansas will face the toughest schedule in the country. They only get 3 conference games in Fayetteville (it was only 2 until they moved the Missouri game to Fayetteville. Thanks Hunter!). This team showed us so much fight last season, and I expect that to be the same this year. QB KJ Jefferson (listed as a rFr but it will be his 3rd year here) will take over the offense and I think a lot of people are excited about that. He seems to have the whole locker room on his side. The offensive line should be much improved thanks to bowl practices (still mad at you, TCU) and a full spring practice. This team is experienced and should be ready to play. My biggest take away from last year was the defense’s inability to stop the big play. They have to do that this year, or 4 conference wins will be unattainable. I think this team will give the fans something to cheer about (in person) this season. That game vs Auburn at DWRRS is going to be crazy. If that’s the only game they win, I think I would be ok.

Auburn
Predicted SEC Record: 2-6
Wins: Mississippi State, at South Carolina
Losses: at LSU, Georgia, at Arkansas, Ole Miss, at Texas A&M, Alabama
I’m rooting for some karma to come Auburn’s way this season. Though their final record for 2020 was 6-5, they should’ve been 3-8 (yes, I’m still very angry). Gus Malzahn is finally gone and Bryan Harsin has taken over. Harsin did a great job at Boise State and has the potential to do well here. But not this season. QB Bo Nix is back and he is a pretty decent QB at home. He is not good at all on the road. He does benefit from an experienced offensive line, but that can only take you so far.

Mississippi State
Predicted SEC Record: 1-7*
Wins: at Vanderbilt
Losses: LSU, at Texas A&M, Alabama, Kentucky, at Arkansas, at Auburn, Ole Miss
I put an asterisk on the record because I think they will win more than 1 conference game. I just have no earthly idea who it will be against. This will be the Bulldogs second year under HC Mike Leach, so we should see some improvement. Especially since they got bowl practices and spring practices. Unfortunately, the Mike Leach offense is very predictable. That said, when it is done well and with the right QB, it doesn’t matter if your opponent knows you are going to throw the ball 70+ times a game. I just think Leach needs some more time to bring in players that match his scheme before it can be totally successful in the SEC.

SEC East

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

Georgia
Predicted SEC Record: 8-0
Wins: South Carolina, at Vanderbilt, Arkansas, at Auburn, Kentucky, Florida (Jacksonville), Missouri, at Tennessee
Losses: none
Georgia has been consistently good since before Kirby Smart became the head coach. Much like Saban, I find it hard to pick against him because I know his team on their best could beat (almost) any other team on their best day. He will hopefully get the added bonus of having his QB, JT Daniels, healthy for a whole season. It also doesn’t hurt to have a backup who has real game experience in Stetson Bennett. I expect nothing less than another well rounded and strong team for Georgia.

Florida
Predicted SEC Record: 6-2
Wins: Tennessee, at Kentucky, Vanderbilt, at LSU, at South Carolina, at Missouri
Losses: Alabama, Georgia (Jacksonville)
Florida had one of the most potent offenses in the country last season. They do lose QB Kyle Trask to the NFL but have a guy with experience in Emory Jones. Unlike Trask, Jones is a runner. We should see their rush yards increase and their pass yards decrease. This team might struggle early on as the offensive line gets used to their new QB, but I think they will have another good season.

Missouri
Predicted SEC Record: 4-4
Wins: at Kentucky, Tennessee, at Vanderbilt, South Carolina
Losses: Texas A&M, at Georgia, Florida, at Arkansas
Even though Missouri ended last season 5-5, I could make the case that 3 of the wins had a lot more to do with the losing team’s bad defense (45-41 LSU, 41-0 Vandy (they had almost no one thanks to covid), 50-48 Arkansas). Except for their loss to Mississippi State where they scored 32 points, they only reached 20 points once. This team must improve greatly on both sides of the ball this season. Like Kentucky, you never know what you are going to get from this team week to week.

Kentucky
Predicted SEC Record: 4-4
Wins: at South Carolina, at Mississippi State, Tennessee, at Vanderbilt
Losses: Missouri, Florida, LSU, at Georgia
Kentucky has a very tough home schedule this season. They will also be breaking in a new QB (new to them, at least). The Wildcats have always been a tough team to nail down because they are very inconsistent week to week. If they can get their offense and defense to play well on the same day, they can be a really tough opponent. I am interested to see how they do this year.

South Carolina
Predicted SEC Record: 2-6
Wins: at Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Losses: at Georgia, Kentucky, at Texas A&M, Florida, at Missouri, Auburn
South Carolina struggled last season, especially on defense. They have a new-ish QB in Luke Doty who did play some last season. They also have a new head coach in Shane Beamer (son of Virginia Tech great Frank Beamer). Beamer seems to bring a fun vibe to this team, but I don’t think they have the talent to compete much this season. Maybe they will prove me wrong, but I just don’t see them making a huge jump from last year.

Tennessee
Predicted SEC Record: 1-7
Wins: Vanderbilt
Losses: at Florida, at Missouri, South Carolina, Ole Miss, at Alabama, at Kentucky, Georgia
Tennessee has a new head coach this season in Josh Heupel from UCF. They are also bringing in two strong transfer QBs in Joe Milton (Michigan) and Hendon Hooker (Virginia Tech). Milton will most likely be the starter, but it’s always nice to have a good backup. Things have not been good for Tennessee recently. I think they will take a step in the right direction this season, but I just don’t think it will be very visible in the win total. Don’t be surprised to see them pull an upset or two, but I don’t see too many wins for the Vols this season in SEC play.

Vanderbilt
Predicted SEC Record: 0-8
Wins: none
Losses: Georgia, at Florida, at South Carolina, Mississippi State, Missouri, Kentucky, at Ole Miss, at Tennessee
Vanderbilt adds another new SEC East head coach: Clark Lea. Honestly, there weren’t any bright spots for Vanderbilt football last season. Sure, Sarah Fuller kicked some butt (and some PATs), but as far as everything else, it wasn’t pretty (and this is coming from an Arkansas fan). There is no way to go but up. I think the ‘Dores will get a couple of non-conference wins and might make a couple SEC teams sweat, but I don’t see a conference win this year.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in 2021 Season, Football

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

AP Top 25

1. Alabama (3-0,1-0)
2. Georgia (3-0,1-0)
3. Oregon (3-0,0-0)
4. Oklahoma (3-0,0-0)
5. Iowa (3-0,1-0)
6. Penn State (3-0,1-0)
7. Texas A&M (3-0,0-0)
8. Cincinnati (3-0,0-0)
9. Clemson (2-1,1-0)
10. Ohio State (2-1,1-0)
11. Florida (2-1,0-1)
12. Notre Dame (3-0)
13. Ole Miss (3-0,0-0)
14. Iowa State (2-1,0-0)
15. BYU (3-0)
16. ARKANSAS (3-0,0-0)
17. Coastal Carolina (3-0,0-0)
18. Wisconsin (1-1,0-1)
19. Michigan (3-0,0-0)
*20. Michigan State (3-0,1-0)
21. North Carolina (3-1,1-1)
*22. Fresno State (3-1,0-0)
23. Auburn (2-1,0-0)
24. UCLA (2-1,0-0)
*25. Kansas State (3-0,0-0)

Dropped Out: 15Virginia Tech (2-1,1-0), 19Arizona State (2-1,0-0), 24Miami (1-2,0-0)

Follow Sports Opinions of a College Girl on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: