With the regular season concluded, title game excepted, it’s time to go back and see how badly I whiffed on my preseason assessments of the SEC programs. (Schools listed in the same order as they were in the preseason post, with this year’s regular season won-loss totals.)
LSU (10-2, 6-2)
- What I said: Les Miles broke through the two-loss barrier last year. He looks good for a repeat of that. Mathieu’s departure will hurt, but not as much as the pundit class would have you believe. And Mettenberger won’t matter unless he’s a turnover machine.
- How I did: It turns out that with regard to Les Miles’ coaching skills, 2011 was an outlier. This season saw the return of ol’ Two-Loss. I think the rest of what I had there was pretty accurate.
- Grade: B
ALABAMA (11-1, 7-1)
- What I said: Neck and neck with LSU.
- How I did: I said one loss, and one loss it was. That being said, this was the easiest prediction to make for any team in the conference.
- Grade: A-
ARKANSAS (4-8, 2-6)
- What I said: I’m bearish. Petrino meant more to this team than many admit and is almost impossible to replace as a playcaller. There’s no way this defense is as good as Alabama’s or LSU’s. The schedule says the Hogs are a lock to win at least eight; the question is whether the ceiling is nine wins or ten.
- How I did: That Arkansas schedule is laughing its ass off at me right now. My only consolations are that I did point in the right direction and that’s more than a lot of pundits can claim.
- Grade: C-
AUBURN (3-9, 0-8)
- What I said: Chizik did a decent job last year, all things considered. But with new coordinators on both sides of the ball, a new quarterback, a power offense that has to find a replacement for its best power running back and a schedule with five of the preseason’s top fourteen teams in the country on it, getting back to eight wins will be a challenge.
- How I did: Well, yeah. But I never thought Auburn would get skunked in the conference.
- Grade: C+
MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-4, 4-4)
- What I said: MSU should do no worse than come out of the gate 6-1. Then comes a brutal four-game stretch when the Bulldogs are probably looking at going 1-3, and then a finish against Ole Miss.
- How I did: Basically, these guys finished about where I expected. They just took a slightly different route than I anticipated.
- Grade: B+
MISSISSIPPI (6-6, 3-5)
- What I said: If Ole Miss doesn’t win a game before September’s out, it likely won’t win a game all year.
- How I did: Wrong, bacon breath.
- Grade: F
TEXAS A & M (10-2, 6-2)
- What I said: Too many new variables for TAMU to challenge the top teams in the SEC West. If everything clicks, eight wins is doable. If not, no bowl game for the Aggies.
- How I did: “If everything clicks”? Johnny Football does not think that phrase means what I think it means.
- Grade: D+
GEORGIA (11-1, 7-1)
- What I said: If the Dawgs beat Missouri, you can make a reasonable case for an eleven-win season and a return trip to Atlanta.
- How I did: Yep.
- Grade: A
SOUTH CAROLINA (10-2, 6-2)
- What I said: I have a feeling the ‘Cocks get by Arkansas this year, so the season could come down to how they fare against LSU. Ten wins look likely.
- How I did: Much to Steve Spurrier’s chagrin, this proved accurate.
- Grade: A
FLORIDA (11-1, 7-1)
- What I said: Overall, the trend lines are positive, but it’s hard to get excited about the Gator offense. Eight or nine wins look about right.
- How I did: Behold the power of turnover margin! Look for regression to the mean to make a triumphant return in next year’s predictions.
- Grade: B-
VANDERBILT (8-4, 5-3)
- What I said: You’ve probably heard by now that Vanderbilt has never played in bowl games in two successive seasons. Can the Commodores do it this year? It’s going to be a close call. They won’t sneak up on anybody, but they get a few favors from the schedule (no Alabama, Arkansas or LSU from the West, for example). And they’re experienced. Depth is the thing to watch. A couple of key injuries and Vandy’s season could unravel.
- How I did: Basically, the Commodores didn’t slide and several of their conference mates did. Well played, James Franklin.
- Grade: C-
KENTUCKY (2-10, 0-8)
- What I said: Remember that Seinfeld episode when Elaine is horrified by the realization that she’s turned into George? Well, Kentucky has turned into Vanderbilt. It’s hard to see where the ‘Cats get a conference win, or beat Louisville. Three wins, tops.
- How I did: This was the second easiest preseason prediction to make.
- Grade: A-
TENNESSEE (5-7, 1-7)
- What I said: The schedule alone should make Tennessee bowl eligible. I can see the Vols winning as many as eight, assuming no more implosions are on the horizon. You have to wonder how smooth the change to a 3-4 scheme on defense will be, though.
- How I did: I should have trusted that first comment less and that last one more. SOD should have, too.
- Grade: D+
MISSOURI (5-7, 2-6)
- What I said: I want to say eight wins again for the Tigers, but two things hold me back. One is depth. Missouri has issues keeping key personnel healthy. The other is the schedule. There’s only one FCS school and one mid-major on the OOC slate. And with three preseason top ten teams there, the margin for error isn’t that great.
- How I did: Injuries hurt the Tigers more than I expected. The schedule proved tough, but they shouldn’t have blown a lead at home to Syracuse.
- Grade: C
I don’t think I graded myself on a curve, but let me know what you think.