SEC East, As Picked by the Esteemed SEC Media, and Why They’re Wrong
You may notice the lack of coverage of SEC Media Days this year. Two reasons: 1) we’re STILL trying to get back into football writing mode; 2) you shouldn’t give a rat’s ass about SEC Media Days. Nick Saban said it best yesterday, when he said (paraphrasing):
You saw our spring game. You know our depth charts. Everything we talk about here, you’ve already written about.
The little man is honest, yet deplorable. The best and worst voice in college football. And absolutely right.
As proof of the uselessness of SEC Media Days, I present this tidbit: the Southern media has correctly picked the SEC champ 3 times in the past 20 years. Sorry, Alabama, you’re doomed.
The SEC East projections were nothing to shout about, but given the above statistic, a fun exercise will be to discuss how they can be absolutely right, or dead wrong.
#SECMD16 SEC East Predictions:
7. South Carolina
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) July 14, 2016
So…the bottom four is interesting in that Vanderbilt and Kentucky are on the rise, and the fallout from that is dropping three of the division’s last six champs to the cellar. But this is the SEC East. Mizzou won after being picked last in 2013, and 4th in 2014. How can everyone win this/blow this thing?
They win if: They win the close games that they showed the proclivity to…not win last year. They should’ve beaten Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas (and only lost at Alabama by 5), return their skill talent, 4 starters on the O-line, and most of a defense which should improve under Bob Shoop (sideways glance toward Daniel Palmer).
They finish last if: Josh Dobbs is still too conservative, injuries blow up the OL, and Shoop does Shoopy things. The schedule is brutal enough– they open SEC play with Florida, at Georgia, at A&M, Bama. Their confidence could be shot after an 0-4 start, making games with the bottom four from the East tough.
They’re gonna be fine, probably.
They win if: They find a quarterback, a playmaker (in the McIlwain/Kiffin ‘get our best guy the damn ball sense) and their defense remains a Florida defense. They have the inherent advantage of being completely in Tennessee’s head.
They finish last if: Luke Del Rio is no better than Treon Harris, losses of Jonathan Bullard, Vernon Hargreaves, and that dude the Falcons took in the 1st round make the defense take a step back, and their streaks against Kentucky (29) and Tennessee (11) end in succession in September.
They win if: Kirby Smart makes a seamless transition on the defensive side of the ball, Jacob Eason makes a seamless transition from high school, and Chubb/Michel make seamless transitions from injury.
They finish last if: Honestly, more feasible than the first two. The 3-4 is an awkward fit in year 1, the secondary’s great numbers from 2015 are based on the crap quality of passing teams they played last year, Chubb and Michel never make it to full speed, and no quarterback establishes himself as even average. Kirby Smart is the next Will Muschamp.
Kentucky (aka the point where you scoff, but in so doing you forget the premise of this exercise)
They win if: They navigate a hellacious road schedule (Florida, Bama, Mizzou, Tennessee) because Drew Barker and Eddie Gran (new hotshot OC) are the truth with everyone else on the offense returning. The defense is good enough to hold people under 30.
They finish last if: The brutal string of 5-7’s wears on the program and they tank. The tough road slate means winnable home games, but South Carolina and Vanderbilt just prove better. The Mississippi State game won’t be on CBS like it was two years ago.
They win if: Trump wins the Presidency. Their defense is going to be legitimately good, so the offense just has to be 2014 Missouri good. Winning the home opener vs. South Carolina buoys them forward through the SEC-East heavy first half of the season, as Florida, Kentucky, and Georgia all fall victim.
They finish last if: They Vandy. Their offense is going to be heinous.
They win if: See 2014. Charles Harris is the next Sam/Ealy/Golden/those dudes. Drew Lock goes from mediocre to efficient. The young offensive line gels.
They finish last if: The players strike again, the offense maintains the status quo, and Barry Odom is not cut out to be a head coach, SEC or otherwise.
They win if: Coach Boom is who we thought he was six years ago when he went to Florida. He actually learned from his mistakes, and he and Kurt Roper manage to piece together an amazing offense to pair with a defense that goes peak Muschamp-y.
They finish last if: Their punter is one of two featured players in Phil Steele’s spread (check). They open with losses at Vandy and Mississippi State, and can’t hold the fort at home vs. any of A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, or Mizzou. That…all seems pretty plausible.
Posted on July 15, 2016, in 100 Days of SEC Dominance, Blog, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee, Vanderbilt. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.