First sighting: SEC standings

Yeah, it’s the first week of May and it’s way too early to be doing a projection of the 2014 conference standings, but, what the hey, it’s not like you’ve got anything better to ponder right now, eh?  Here’s the first one of those I’ve come across post-spring practice; you can read the piece for the details, but here’s how the authors lay out the records (overall, conference):

SEC EAST

  • Missouri:  10-2; 7-1
  • South Carolina:  10-2; 7-1
  • Georgia:  9-3; 6-2
  • Florida:  8-4; 5-3
  • Tennessee:  4-8; 2-6
  • Vanderbilt:  3-9; 1-7
  • Kentucky:  3-9; 0-8

SEC WEST

  • Auburn:  11-1; 7-1
  • Alabama:  10-2; 6-2
  • LSU:  9-3; 6-2
  • Mississippi:  8-4; 4-4
  • Texas A&M:  7-5; 3-5
  • Mississippi State:  6-6; 2-6
  • Arkansas:  3-9; 0-8

On the surface, those are pretty conservative looking picks.  No great leaps outside of Florida (and even that’s pretty conservative) and the only big drop is Vanderbilt (again, not exactly a call that goes out on a limb).

But there are a few intriguing bits to it.  If Mizzou and the Gamecocks both take non-conference losses, it’s hard to see how the SEC gets more than one team in the playoff (not to mention that if Auburn were upset in the SECCG, you could be looking at a scenario where the conference would be shut out).  If Saban finishes second in the West again, you’d have to figure a few heads will explode in the Tide fan base (PAWWWLLL…).

Florida has to deal with recovering from injuries, remaking its offense for the third time under Boom, draws Alabama and LSU from the West and is expected to manage a +2 in its conference record and +4 overall.  Georgia has to deal with recovering from injuries, plays an easier schedule than it did in 2013 and looks at a two-game improvement in the SEC and +1 overall.  Yeah, I know there are plenty of question marks about the defense and special teams, but they were there last season, too.

And it’s funny how the conventional wisdom on Missouri and TAMU has completely flipped in two seasons.

What do you guys think?

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34 Comments

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34 responses to “First sighting: SEC standings

  1. I don’t get Missouri. They have a returning QB that was inconsistent in relief duty. They lost a ton of talent at receiver and sustained some pretty heavy losses on the d-line.
    South Carolina wasn’t real good on defense last year and lost their best player when he decided he wanted to play. Thompson has experience but is he Shaw?
    With Florida, everything depends on Driskel. If he’s ready, they could be dangerous because Muschump will have a defense.
    Auburn goes to both Athens and T-town, and they can’t be as charmed this year.
    Alabama is Alabama. Assuming they get solid QB play, they will win the West in my opinion.
    LSU has a lot of holes to fill, but the talent is there. I trust Cameron will develop a QB.

    Now, to our favorite team … Right now 9-3 isn’t a bad prediction, but I don’t see a loss to Clemson in Athens. We reverse last year’s Palmetto State split and lose a game we shouldn’t – worried that game is going to be Arkansas. 10-2 and back to Orlando …

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I just can’t see a loss to Clemson either. I see a ten point win. As much as Slick Frankie did for Vandy just how far did he set them back when he butchered their signing class? He’s not who we thought he was. Frankie caught a lot of love early on by a lot of veteran GTPers. I watched the infamous “Throw Down” with Todd “Damn” Grantham with my Dad on the big screen. He shook his head in disbelief at the confrontation and said: ” I don’t think that was very prudent. After a tight, controversial ballgame why call a coach out on his sidelines with half your team in tow?” Cause he doesn’t back down I guess? Or he was pandering to the fans and cameras. How long before Meyer and Frankie have a run in?

    • I’m higher on Mizzou QB Maty Mauk than it sounds like you are, but losing DGB is a major strike against them. Really I think you could throw a blanket over Mizzou, Carolina and UGA at this point.

      • I like Mauk too, somehow he manage to look tentative while still beating us, but he looked pretty solid after that. However, it’s a lot easier to be a good QB when you’ve got 3 stud WR’s who are 6’4″ or more, and can outmuscle and outjump the secondary. All those guys are gone this year, we’ll see how Mauk does without those guys.

        When I look at them having to completely rebuild their WR corp, plus the losses on defense, I just don’t see Mizzou really having a shot at winning the East this year. Of course, I didn’t last year either. :)

      • I like Mauk but I think the Missouri D takes a big step back without Ealy and Sam.

      • I think that’s right. The 3 teams are going to fight it out for the East. I’m not sold on Mauk. He could be really good, but as others have mentioned, all those big, fast WRs can make a QB look better than he really is.

      • Mayor

        I like the Dawgs to win the East, the SEC and maybe the NC–if they win the first 2 games. If they lose to Clemmons in Athens look for them to lose to USCe in Colombia,SC and losses to Mizzou in Columbia, Mo. and to Auburn. 12-0/11-1 or 8-4 regular season. Not much in between. The first 2 games are key.

  2. Merk

    I think we have a term for TAMU….regression to the mean?

    JF was a lucky SoB. Not many people can just hurl a ball into a pile of guys and never seem to throw a pick. I mean he seemed to get 1-2 miracle catches a game after running around aimlessly. I kind of feel sorry for his backup. TAMU fans are going to be really pissed when they are getting beat 45-14.

    • Dawgfan Will

      This. So much this. Manziel has tons of talent, but many of his highlight reel throws resulted more from his receiver bailing him out with a great catch in the midst of seemingly befuddled defenders. I see him having a career similar to Vick’s in the NFL: solid success, quite a few “did you see that?” moments, but never really becoming a champion.

  3. 202dawg

    Mizzou lost a butt load of talent on D, plus they booted their best playmaker on O. I’d sell…

  4. Bob

    I am not so sure about the predicitions of A&Ms demise. Summlin has done a great job recruiting and he has built some depth. They have issues like every SEC team has issues going into 2014. I think in the long run, they will be the better program than Mizzou if for no other reason than that recruiting base and the fact that the move to the SEC has helped them hugely against Texas.

    As for Johnny Football…yep, he was lucky. All good players are lucky. He also is very talented, seems to have eyes in the back of his head and routinely could make something great out of nothing. He was lucky but he was also damn good.

    • Dawgfan Will

      If they can find some semblance of a defense, I trust Sumlin’s offense to do well for them. And, as you point out, they’ve been recruiting well.

  5. Reservoir Dawg

    I think that you are on the money about it being way too early to speculate. There’s a lot of crab legs that can be consumed between now and August 28th…

  6. sUGArdaddy

    Just look at Pinkel’s record. They won’t win 10 this year. 7-5 is in their make up. Cocks lost a lot on the d line. They’ll try to ride Davis, but they’ve got one back, we’ve got 4.

    Auburn lived one charmed life. Mason had a banner season and stayed healthy. Marshall also got banged up at the right time. Can he stay healthy being relied upon to run more?

    Early on, our schedule and weaknesses might help us. Worrying about Hutson on th road and unsure about pass protection, you can see us trying to ride those 4 horses in Columbia. That might be the best recipe for success anyway. Mizzou cought us at a miracle moment. We had no players left, and if Douglas doesn’t fumble before half we still win.

  7. Rp

    Agree with most above that Mizzou got nuthin after all three stud WR’s plus both pass rushers and their stud CB are gone. SCJr scares me with Davis and that Oline. The question is how much does the absence of Shaw affect the running game. He was an integral part of it. I am having nightmares about Mason starting a night game at SC. Its hard to see a W for that one unless Gurley goes superhuman for 4 quarters.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      ^ Bingo. Shaw had 16 for 75 carries vs Davis 15 for 150 against us. Gurley had 30 for 132. Shaw 154 carries for the year vs Davis 203. Toward the end of the season Davis had worn down a lot and hardly had 50 yards rushing in his last 3 games. The way he plays can he hold up? Clemson held him to 22 yards rushing. Really wasn’t another back at uSC that was able to step in and help. Gurley in his last 3 games rushed for 288. I would dare say Gurley is a much more durable back and he has played with as much heart as any Georgia back ever has.

  8. FCDore

    If we go 2-2 versus our awful non-conference schedule, as this suggests, we have bigger problems than what Poach Franklin did to our recruiting class.

    You guys know better than anybody that Auburn got more than its share of lucky bounces last year. I think there will be a little reversion to the mean for the Tigers, as well.

    • Gonna be interesting to see with Auburn. Last year they needed the lucky bounces to win. This year, they just might be good enough to win even if the ball bounces against them in big games. Their D is still a little iffy, but if they do improve on that side of the ball, they’re gonna be a handful.

    • PTC DAWG

      What are you reading that implies 2-2? Not that it matters, it’s way too early for this stuff.

  9. Cousin Eddie

    I see UGA winning vs. Clempson, and USCe, just because the way the Dawgs got stopped last time they went to Columbia I see the team ready to go this trip. Mizzu will be a ground game and I like Mr. Gurley vs whoever they run out there. UF will be a tough Game, Muschamp know that game is very important to his future, regardless of how the season goes. Auburn will not be so lucky this yr. I see UK beating a banged up looking ahead UGA team. If for no other reason than they have to stump there toe on something silly.

  10. AusDawg85

    Sell Mizzou and Auburn. Bama controls their destiny, although the West could end-up with 3 one loss teams going to a tie-breaker. As usual of late, winner in Columbia controls the East. If the o-line is serviceable and Bobo picks-up the play-calling from where he left off in the 4th Q last year, we should squeak out a win (but our DB’s should keep them close too…doh!). TAMU and UF on the outside looking in.

    Oklahoma has easiest path to playoffs. OSU, Stanford/Oregon, FSU…things could get very tight for a 2 loss SEC team. No way we get 2 teams in…no way.

    I bought UGA (hey…55-1 odds!), Bama, tOSU and LSU in Vegas.

    • Mayor

      The winner of the USCe-UGA game NEVER wins the East. The loser has a better chance historically. See 2011 and 2012.

  11. Macallanlover

    Again, nuts to pick this specifically but that looks about right to me with what we know in early May. I think Mizzou and SC have a slight edge in the East and could be co-favorites, and think UGA is the best team to crash their party but has more question marks. I feel Aubie is in the mix in the West but feel they are not the clear leader, seems too much is being placed on the performance of Marshall. They can become very mediocre if he gets dinged up or injured, and in that offense he is full view of some nasty defensive players. Overall, looks like there will be major drama in both divisions. I agree with others, we should take Clemson down in Athens but the trip to Columbia will see us needing to pull an upset this year.

  12. BigDawg

    We have great athletes on D and in the secondary… I’m just excited to see what they can do when they just “play football” instead of running through 10 different progressions trying to figure out where they are supposed to be before and after the ball is snapped

  13. RocketDawg

    Man Spurrier is some of your heads as well….I think that Mizzou and Scar are getting WAY too much preseason credit. The loss of Shaw is going to be big for the Chickens, if you will recall Mizzou had them beat until Shaw came off the bench and willed them to victory. Mizzou was nothing special last year and only went to the SECCG because we were picking people out of the stands to play on Offense. The drubbing that they took from Auburn is proof of that. Speaking of the Cheaters from the Plains, they HAVE to take a step back this year purely on luck don’t they? Or is that deal with Lucifer still good? I am not convinced that Nick Marshall can beat anyone with his arm, their offense is for the most part the same at the Nerds in a different package. I am also not so sure that Bama doesn’t lose 2-3 regular season games as well with their QB situation in flux. People don’t give AJ McCarron enough credit for what he did there. LSU I think is in trouble as well with no proven QB on the roster. TAMU will be a dumpster fire this year unless they get the defense sorted out. Florida should be better or Moosechimps is going to be in the unemployment line.

    For our boys in Red and Black it all comes down to the defense and special teams. Even with half of our team on the sidelines last year all of our loses came down to poor defense and special teams. If we can get average play from both there isn’t a team on the schedule I feel can beat us.

  14. Cojones

    RocketDawg has conjured up the right questions and I agree with his thinking along with several other’s thinking on here. I don’t understand how SC can be observed for positive posibilities from unproven players while our proven players who were injured were not figured into last year’s record and they should be playing this year. There is a huge difference in experience and talent at each position. Why can’t Hutson be touted with the same reasoning used for the SC QB? I Think Mauk is a QB to be respected, but the team is what beats you or not. Mizzou = NOT! When injury sidelines your team’s most prolific players, why do the pundits get amnesia? FU should be considered the same way as UGA; their injured players will be back as a team. FU should be the sticky wicket in our path this year. Auburn should be a great game and Marshall may be an SEC-decider. In Athens.

    One of the two losses projected here for SC and Mizzou has to be UGA. Picking 3 losses for LSU at this time is stupid. After the possibility of an injury-recovered FU beating them, tell me who else. New players will make all the diff in the West, not as much in the East. I think Ark is a bloviation of Bielema’s mind. The Dawgs will only be stopped by themselves as some have already alluded. If we stay healthy, no one will beat UGA this year.

  15. Dawgaholic

    Can’t believe none of y’all have caught on to the fact that this idiot thinks Mizzou will lose to UCF at home but go 7-1 in the conference. Pass whatever he’s drinking.

    Looking at his OOC predictions shows he is either anti-SEC or knows little more about SEC football than a casual fan that looked at last year’s standings.

  16. Ed Kilgore

    Per the Mizzou love: Phil Steele’s tables show Mizzou last in the conference and tied for next-to-last in the nation in the number of returning starters (9)–and that was before they lost DGB. I don’t care how good Mauk looked in the spring, that’s a problem. Methinks observers are overcompensating for last year’s underrating of the Tigers.

    • Macallanlover

      Maybe, I don’t think any team is a solid choice in the East, but we have both SC and Mizzou on the road so in a close race, I put them as slight favorites at home against the most proven challenger (UGA). Doesn’t mean anyone is conceding anything to do them, I think there is little difference in the odds of any of those 3 prevailing. UGA. SC, and Mizzou are the three most likely at this point in the year but lots of bridges to be crossed before we know what any of them can do. I hate playing SC early, wish we could switch them with GT on the schedule if we have to continue playing that Home and home OOC game. Columbia very hot that time of year and they get crazy about trying to earn respect against the Dawgs.