SEC post-spring status report

I figure this piece in the Baton Rouge paper summarizing where the 14 schools stand at this point is about as good a place as any to start a discussion about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.  Sure, there will be a few kids coming in the summer and fall who will make a difference (Ole Miss, anyone?) and somebody’s gonna suffer a key injury or two, but I’m just curious how y’all think the East and West are shaping up.

For what it’s worth and to get things started, I think the authors are slightly pessimistic about LSU (the West outside of the top three teams doesn’t look that hot to me) and somewhat optimistic about Tennessee, which has enough personnel issues this season to make six wins a real stretch.

Let me hear from you in the comments.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “SEC post-spring status report

  1. Derek

    The divisional races may come down to game 1. Bama @ TAMU, USC @ UGA. Whoever wins those will have a 2 game lead and may be too good to knock out of there. I don’t think any of those 4 are going 5-2 or 4-3 the rest of the way.

    • RP

      Agree. Florida and LSU will be non-factors this year. With USCe’s easy schedule this year we have to beat them. No way they drop 2 and let us back in if we lose.

  2. DugLite

    At the end of the Georgia write up it had “e_SClB.” What does that mean?

  3. 81Dog

    is it wrong that I’m savoring the continued suckitude of Auburn and Tennessee? While my primary concern has been, is and ever will be “how good are the Bulldogs?”, I would be lying if I didn’t admit the schadenfreude factor was a considerable boost to my spirits. Now, if South Carolina would just regress to the mean…….

    • Bulldawg165

      If you’re wrong then I don’t want to be right! I enjoy watching UT do poorly but not nearly as much as I enjoy watching Auburn’s pathetic displays for a football team. It wouldn’t bother me if UT turned it around so long as we still beat them every year, but I prefer to see Auburn lose every game of every season for the rest of my life. I hope they NEVER turn things around.

      Ditto on SC though. Geeze, can’t believe we’ve dropped three in a row to them.

      • Macallanlover

        Agree with both you and 81, enjoy both of those mouthy pretenders’ fall from grace, especially Auburn. We have tied the overall series with Auburn and can regain the lead this fall. We are two behind TN who only got that big lead because of the timing of the expanded SEC during the nineties. I will never forget their laughter about the 20 years between SEC titles for UGA, they are at 15 and counting…suck it Big Orange, you will be 20 + soon!

        I also feel A&M will see a bigger fall off than most predict with the loss of some key players, and that the SC game is the biggest one on our schedule. Would love to beat them all, but if we win against SC I think we get another shot at the SEC title. I cannot see anyone but Bama winning the West but think we might matchup to them pretty well if play them again in December.

      • WFdawg

        Sometimes I worry that my hatred for Auburn is over the top. And then I read others who hate them as much as I do and remember that I’m perfectly normal. Thank you.

  4. Thoughts on West:

    I think Texas A&M is going to win the award for “top-10 team most likely to lose 3 games.” They have a nice, soft schedule, but they lost the best OL in the country, a great WR that no one talks about and 5 of the front 7, including 23(ish) of the 31 sacks they had a year ago on a defense that wasn’t particularly strong. I see a lot of 45-35 games in their future.

    Bama is Bama. They are going to have the best offense they’ve had under Saban (last year’s was really good, by the way). The defense lost talent, but they reload more than anyone. The right side of the OL and the NT are the only “weaknesses” you can find, but those aren’t glaring.

    LSU is the true mystery. They could finish 11-1 or 8-4. They have a BRUTAL schedule, but damn they have serious talent.

    Auburn is going to be better. Malzahn’s offense will give teams issues and Ellis Johnson can flat out coach defensive football. They don’t have loads of talent, so 7-5 is a ceiling most likely, but they won’t be the pushover they were a year ago when UGA and Bama could have hung 70 on them if they cared to.

    Arkansas seems to be in for a rough go. They also have a brutal slate, but they don’t have a QB and the OL isn’t up to snuff for how Berty likes to coach. They could be in for a 6-6 or 5-7 type of year.

    Ole Miss will be fun to watch on offense, but good teams will put 35+ on the board each game out. I think 6-6 or 7-5 is the best they can hope for, though they did get a nice draw from the East.

    Miss St is in for a rough go. 5-7…6-6…something like that. They might actually be a better team than a year ago, but they have a much tougher schedule. 2014 will see Mullen on a hot seat, especially if Ole Miss lays the wood to them again.

  5. Thoughts on the East:

    As stated above, the South Carolina-Georgia game means the world the the Dawgs. They cannot lose that game. Just can’t. Much like the last two years when UGA was blessed by the scheduling gods, SoCar has the soft slate and can lose a game and hope UGA drops 2. UGA doesn’t have that luxury. The Clemson game is exciting to think about, but the SoCar game is the most important one of the season.

    Florida, to me, is a 10-2 to 8-4 kind of team. They were on the plus side of so many breaks last year, that you’d think the law of averages would take over this season. They don’t have any threats on the outside and the OL is solid, but nothing more. They will always have a good defense, though, as Muschamp can coach em up and he has talent there.

    Mizzou and Kentucky are going to be poor again, though Missouri does get Josey back at RB, and if he’s healthy, he can ball. Mizzou’s offensive line will be much better (how could it not be?) and they’ll have a SR QB with a stud WR, too. The defense lost three really good players, though, and Mizzou doesn’t reload on that side of the ball.

    Vandy and Tennessee will be interesting. I think Tenn is going to be a train wreck, but those two OTs still worry me. They’re legit NFL players, and last year they shut down UGAs pass rush with regularity. Luckily for the East, though, Tenn doesn’t have a good QB or WRs or anything else, really. They’re in for some lean years.

    Vandy will be Vandy. They’re going to play teams tight, then get blown out, then upset someone. Like they always do. It seems playing in Vandy is always difficult for UGA, so that’s a game to get through and move on. That WR they have is a stud, but at QB they’re very average and they lost their best RB.

    UGA (11-1)
    SoCar (9-3)
    Florida (9-3)
    Vandy (7-5)
    Mizzou (6-6)
    Tenn (5-7)
    Kentucky (5-7)

  6. The other Doug

    East

    SCAR- I see 9-3 or 10-2 good schedule, but they won’t replace Lattimore or the guys who left on D. Plus I don’t think Connor Shaw is good enough. Tough kid who gives it all he has, but he can’t throw.

    Florida- This one is a mystery. If the offense doesn’t dramatically improve I see 8-4. Defense will be solid, but they won’t create enough turnovers.

    UGA- I don’t like the early part of the season, but if we get by USC we win out. 11-1.

    UT- Train wreck.

    Vandy- 7-5 or 8-4. Big game against Florida. They beat UT.

    Mizzou- A lot of work to be done, but I see 6-6.

    UK- Who cares?

    West

    Bama reloads 12-0 and enjoys a “soft” schedule.

    Auburn 6-6

    TAMU- 9-3. Manziel has a rough year.

    LSU- 11-1 or 10-2

    Ole Miss 5-7

    I’m clueless about the rest of the West.

  7. Cojones

    My thoughts are that the weak sisters last year will not remain as such and by predicating last year’s record on your selection is folly. Ain’t nothin’ the same!

    Yeah, Tenn and Aub were shit bad, but if that’s us, what would we be thinking our chances are? They have good coaches and players. Why wouldn’t we expect them to have upset in their head every game and treat last yr/2 yrs as an anomaly? These are not the teams that expect to lose while getting better. They expect to be representin’ (along with Ark) this next year and don’t have a thing to lose by playing their hearts out.

    Sometimes we get those “negative waves” feeling about certain teams and Vandy plus Ken are mine while setting there waiting to be overlooked. This is the friggin’ SEC folks and shit happens every game. We can’t overlook any SEC team on the schedule even though we feel we are really on a team parity with Ala. Other teams feel that way also(because they are used to it). Include A&M in with us in that thinking.

    This shapes up to be a great competitive year for the SEC. Nothing will clear the ole chrstal ball like a summer of work followed by Fall Practice. Only then will we have solid ideas and feelings about our team and others. It’s at this point that the pundits begin to win their well-deserved reputation as fairy tale imaginators and attempt to muddy the waters with their stories to help the Big10 and ND. I half expect them to deliberately car crash some Big10 or ND players to write their skirt-uplifting stories.

    • Macallanlover

      No, it is you that is behind the times, my friend. Haven’t you been reading the media firestorm coming from other conferences and the national media that the SEC conenders are unworthy because of the OOC schedules? Tune into the Delany disciples/puppets and the Talking Heads. And don’t forget the whiney HC of the Cocks as he says UGA didn’t face tough competiion the last two years. Forget that SC has fewer SEC titles than any of those “pushovers” we played those other seven SEC games against each season.

  8. uglydawg

    Mac, that “media firestorm” will be either super-fueled or quinched after Georgia/Clemson and Alabama/VT. And as far as last years OOC scheduling goes…show us the strong opponents that would have made a difference. Was not Notre Dame ranked higher than any other non SEC team….and got the sheeiiit kicked out of them? Nebraska?….I guess we could point to FL’s loss to Louisville, but the two SEC teams that played in ATL stood up pretty well to non-conference juggernuts. Remember Nebraska players saying, after they got their asses kicked, that Georgia wasn’t all that good? Jealousy and sour grapes.
    If the Dawgs can shake off what I believe is becoming a mental block against beating SC, (if Georgia loses to them this year, it’s going to become a monkey on the back like the Gators were…were!) they will have a great chance to run it..On the other hand, if Georgia wins the WLOCP this year, that old monkey’s back on Florida where it belongs.. But like Cojones said, all of these teams can potentially rise up and beat you, and it’s never too far of a stretch to imagine it happening (the game against Kentucky last year scared me). EAST…GA, SC, Vandy, Fl
    WEST…Bama, A&M, LSU, O’Ms.

    • Bobby

      I really don’t think Dawgs have a mental block against SoCar. I think they had a “Marcus Lattimore” block. Now that that problem has gone pro, I think everything will revert to normal.

      SoCar has plenty of talent, but they are going to be hurting real bad w/o an amazing runningback to rely on. Look at how they have faired when Lattimore got injured over the past couple of seasons.

  9. uglydawg

    Mac, re-reading my post it occured to me that it could be interpreted that I believe YOU are making the contention that the SEC is overrated. Of course I understand you are mocking the media, Delaney and Spurrier. Just wanted to be clear.

  10. IveyLeaguer

    FWIW, I believe Tennessee and Auburn are potentially dangerous games, and will be next year as well.
    ~~~

    • Why UT? No passing game to speak of, questions at running back and a defense that’s gone from 4-3 to 3-4 and back to 4-3 in three straight seasons. Vols have serious personnel issues.

      Auburn may be better, but it’s not like they don’t have a bunch of holes either. And before everybody gets all excited about Gus’ offense, remember that they didn’t exactly set the world on fire in 2011.

      • Dog in Fla

        wow…Tulane, Vanderbilt, Rutgers and 96 others outgained him. At least he was ahead of Tennessee, Florida and Ohio State.

  11. Nashville West

    I remember when it was an insult to say that “you can’t spell Outback Bowl without UT.” Nowadays they would be happy in the Tidy Bowl…