After contemplating the idea of postponing the blog for a year based on my busy schedule while trying to finish out grad school, I have decided to bring it back this season. However, it may have to be an abbreviated version of the content that I provided last year. I still plan to bring you weekly predictions and insight, but it may just have to be a little toned down. I’ll do my best to still make it good enough that you will want to read it each week. Without further ado, here are my SEC predictions for the 2012 football season.
- Georgia - The Bulldogs have a lot of solid pieces returning. That combined with the easiest schedule in all of the SEC will allow them to return to the SEC Championship game.
- South Carolina - South Carolina gets running back Marcus Lattimore back from injury which will be huge this year. He is by far the best back in the SEC and maybe the NCAA. However, they will slip up in a few games they should win in prototypical Gamecock fashion.
- Tennessee - I was tempted to put UT at #2, but the news of Da’Rick Rogers being suspended today leaves too many questions for the Vols. Losing Rogers will be a big blow, as he has NFL talent at wide receiver. Junior college transfer Cordarelle Patterson will have to step up big at wide receiver for the Vols to finish above third in the East.
- Florida - Florida could very well exceed my expectations this year, but I just get the sense that they are still in rebuilding mode and have a ton of question marks on offense.
- Missouri - Missouri faces a tough early season schedule with Georgia in Week 2 and South Carolina in Week 4. They will struggle in their first season in the SEC.
- Vanderbilt - James Franklin has built a lot of momentum for the VU program, but they just aren’t quite there yet.
- Kentucky - Kentucky is still Kentucky.
- LSU - Yes I’m predicting the same SEC Championship as last year. Is that likely? Maybe not. Does that scare me from picking it anyways? Nope. New starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger will make a difference for the Tigers this year. Tyrann Mathieu being kicked off the team will be a loss, but if any team has the depth to absorb it, it’s LSU.
- Alabama - Alabama has a lot of great pieces remaining and never struggle to replace their outgoing players. It really is a toss up between the Tide and LSU but it’s really hard for any team to repeat. I have a better feeling about LSU this year than I do Alabama.
- Arkansas - How big is it for Arkansas to lose head coach Bobby Petrino? Big enough that if they still had him I probably would have them in the top two. However, I still think they have enough talent to finish third in the West which is a big accomplishment these days.
- Auburn - Auburn has as much potential as any team this year, but just doesn’t have the experience yet. They will be starting 2-3 true or redshirt freshmen on the offensive line which is never a good thing in the SEC no matter how talented they are. They also have yet to name a starting quarterback, but by all accounts it will be Kiehl Frazier under center against Clemson next Saturday. Frazier has a lot of potential, but only very limited game experience. (Update 1:45 PM: Kiehl Frazier has been named Auburn’s starting QB, as expected.)
- Texas A&M - This will be the Aggies first year in the SEC. Texas A&M has a new coach in former Houston head man Kevin Sumlin. They will be installing the high flying offense that set many records at Houston the past few years which should be entertaining. However, the Aggies will find out the hard way what it’s like to go through the weekly grind of the SEC.
- Mississippi State - Will Mississippi State ever beat anyone worthwhile other than Ole Miss? They may eventually, but at this point they don’t have the talent to compete at a high level in this conference.
- Ole Miss - It will take a while for new head coach Hugh Freeze to get this ship turned around. He’s making some strides, but it’s going to be a long process.
Want to look back at my SEC predictions from last year? Here they are: