Hard to believe it’s game week, gentlemen. But given the short hour we are at until the season begins, here’s a few of my conference prognostications (UGA prognostications coming later):
· The Cocks will not roll into Athens undefeated. I think they lose to UNC or UK before they play us. My bet is that they lose Thursday night. I don’t think they are going bowling. I think they have losses that are locks in Georgia, LSU, @ TAMU, & Clemson. I think 8-4 would be an outstanding season for them. But I think they lose to UNC or UK, then they’ve got @ UT, Florida, @ Mizzou. They even host UCF in between @ UGA and @ Mizzou. I just see a lot of losses for them this year.
· Florida will look like Florida has looked the last 2 years, but their D won’t be as good and their O will be a little improved. They will play us hard, but let’s hope it looks more like 2013 than 2014 in Jax.
· UT is simply overrated. Butch likes to say they were 4-1 down the stretch w/ Dobbs. Well, Butch, if you recall you actually started Joshua vs. Bama in game 7. So, he was 4-2 as a starter with wins over South Carolina (in the most epic of meltdowns in recorded history), UK, Vandy (in which UT won 24-17 and Dobbs was 11 of 20) and Iowa. THIS is why we’re supposed to believe in Dobbs and UT. I see 7-5 or 8-4 for them. I think they beat Florida, but lose to Bama, UGA, OU and someone else.
· Mizzou will take step back. Their schedule is nice (they get Miss. St. and Arky), but they also play BYU in Columbia. I predict something like 8-4 for them. They might go 9-3 as I could see them going 6-2 in conference and losing to BYU. They play @ Arky St. Who scheduled that?
· Vandy will quit football after this season. Seriously, who are they going to hire? They ought to hire that Arkansas High School coach that never punts, goes for 2 and onside kicks. I’m not joking. That could be their gimmick and shot to drive other coaches nuts.
· I think UK has a shot at a bowl. They get 3 gimmes plus Vandy. That’s 4 wins. Can they manufacture 2 wins vs. everyone else. They play Auburn in Lex on a Thursday night. Could be sneaky. They host Florida in Lex in week 3 at night. They host Louisville. They host UT and Mizzou. They just need to steal 2 of those.
· Bama – they’ll be good but not Bama of 2011-12 caliber. I’m not sure Henry is ready to be a workhorse like Lacy or Richardson. They don’t have that dangerous WR, and I’m not sure they have a QB. I actually think they’ll struggle in week one because of QB play and it could be close early. Not sure Wisky is world beaters, so it could end up a route by the end. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see it go close late.
· I think LSU is the team to beat. Something tells me it could be their time to shine again. I’m picking them to win the West. They don’t have a QB. They never have a QB. It doesn’t seem to matter when they have talent around them.
· I literally DO NOT GET the Auburn love. I think they crash and burn. I’m predicting Louisville to beat them, and the meme of the ACC’s power over the SEC will begin. I won’t mind. My hope is JHC has a pick six early in the game and Trey Matthews gets burned on a deep ball, perhaps even tipping it to a Louisville WR. They lost a ton of talent and I think Duq Williams is a team cancer and it will start to eat them alive from the inside. Jeremy Johnson might be the next Dan Marino, but I just don’t buy it. If he was that much better, then why not play him while you were going 8-5 last year.
· A&M is my other sleeper pick. If LSU doesn’t win the West, they will. Chavous will make a difference for them, and I think Kyle Allen is ready to be a star.
· Miss. St. – how do you have the best QB in the conference and you’re picked last in your division. I have no idea about these guys. Their schedule is a joke again. They play 4 patsies. Their hardest non-conf game is opening @ Southern Miss. But they can probably chalk up 4 wins there. So, they go 4-4 in the league and their 8-4. The schedule is just embarrassing. Play 1 game MSU.
· I have no idea about Ole Miss either. They get Vandy and @ Florida from the East. They can win both of those. Non-conf. is fairly week. They do host Fresno St. and go to Memphis, but they should win those. That could be 6 wins right there, and they can win some divisional games. They could go 8-4 or 9-3 and ‘look’ like a great season but not really have beaten anyone of much significance. This is a team that Arky smoked 31-0. That really happened.
· I think the injury to the RB hurts the Hogs in a big way. They host Texas Tech, which should be fun. They go @ UT and host Mizzou from the east. Probably 1-1 in that mix, but could be 2-0 or 0-2 just as easily. They might be improved but the record won’t really say it, maybe 7-5ish. 8-4 would be a huge accomplishment, maybe knock off one of the big boys in a game.
That’s my 2 cents.