If you’re going to make predictions, you at least ought to have the willingness to see how they stand up. With that in mind, it’s time to go back and check out how badly I whiffed on my preseason calls of the SEC programs. (Schools are listed in the same order as they were in the preseason post, with this year’s regular season won-loss totals.)
ALABAMA (11-1, 7-1)
- What I said: You want to be the one who predicts the Tide doesn’t play in the SECCG? Be my guest. I’m having a hard enough time figuring out which regular season game ‘Bama loses. It won’t be any worse than that.
- How I did: Mixed bag – Saban will be watching the championship game like the rest of us, but one loss was the worst I could see for the Tide. No doubt this is a very good team.
- Grade: B-
LSU (9-3, 5-3)
- What I said: Early CW: Expect LSU to have a down year because of the departures on defense. Late CW: don’t sleep on LSU! My CW: LSU does what it tends to do under Miles – lose two regular season games, one in an inexplicable fashion.
- How I did: It looks like everybody’s CW was correct this year.
- Grade: B+
TEXAS A & M (8-4, 4-4)
- What I said: That offense combined with that schedule should make for an easy nine wins at least. The question is whether TAMU is anything more than the new Arkansas.
- How I did: Got the new Arkansas part right; overshot the win total.
- Grade: B
MISSISSIPPI STATE (6-6, 3-5)
- What I said: MSU could very well turn out to be an example of one of those programs that improves, but doesn’t show it in the won-loss record. Six or seven wins look about right.
- How I did: Okay on the win total, not so sure about how much improvement there was over 2012. Mullen can coach, but the talent level really isn’t there to excel.
- Grade: B+
MISSISSIPPI (7-5, 3-5)
- What I said: Should be bowl eligible again. Opener against Vanderbilt will tell much about how far team’s record can go this season.
- How I did: Yup.
- Grade: A
ARKANSAS (3-9, 0-8)
- What I said: Between the empty personnel cupboard left to Bielema and the tough cross-divisional draws of South Carolina and Florida, this shapes up to be a long season. I’m having a hard time seeing how the Hogs top last year’s win total.
- How I did: Turns out they di’int. In fact, they couldn’t even meet it.
- Grade: A-
AUBURN (11-1, 7-1)
- What I said: Last year’s team gave up on Chizik and his staff, so a change is likely for the good. Reasonable goal should be achieving bowl eligibility.
- How I did: Monster whiff here about the level of improvement. Looking back, I should have given the Tigers more credit for already having the players that fit Gus’ system. But there’s no way anybody caught sight of that ginormous rabbit’s foot in his back pocket.
- Grade: D
GEORGIA (8-4, 5-3)
- What I said: Can the Dawgs get out of September with no more than one loss? If so, an eleven-win regular season and a return trip to Atlanta is likely. I’d like to say that’s what will happen, but I wonder if special teams cost Georgia a game it would otherwise win.
- How I did: Didn’t foresee the toll injuries would take, of course. And if anything, I underestimated the level of special teams suckitude.
- Grade: C-
FLORIDA (4-8, 3-5)
- What I said: IMO, hardest team in the conference to handicap. Yes, the Gators can win in double digits again. Yes, the Gators could lose four games. Keys will be keeping Driskel and the running backs healthy and maintaining something close to last year’s impressive turnover margin.
- How I did: Sure, I knew the Gators could be bad, but that bad?
- Grade: C
SOUTH CAROLINA (10-2, 6-2)
- What I said: They get the leg up on surviving a loss in the game against Georgia this year. Best thing the ‘Cocks have going for them is that they won’t see another conference team after Georgia that can challenge their secondary. SC won’t do worse than ten wins in the regular season.
- How I did: Nailed the bitch.
- Grade: A
VANDERBILT (8-4, 4-4)
- What I said: The schedule is tougher, so the Commodores won’t win nine games this year, but they should be bowl eligible for the third year in a row. Ole Miss game will give an indication of win ceiling.
- How I did: Caught a couple of breaks playing Georgia and Florida when they did, but there’s no denying this team was a little better than I anticipated. Another solid coaching job from Franklin.
- Grade: B-
MISSOURI (11-1, 7-1)
- What I said: Injuries decimated this team last season. Missouri is in better shape going into 2013. Between the OOC slate to start the season and Kentucky, there are five likely wins on the schedule. That leaves three games – Vandy, Tennessee and Ole Miss – to decide the Tigers’ bowl eligibility fate. Assuming Mizzou can dodge the injury bug that was so devastating last year, a seven-win season feels about right.
- How I did: No way I saw the quality of Missouri’s season coming. If I had a vote for conference coach of the year, Pinkel would get it.
- Grade: D-
TENNESSEE (5-7, 2-6)
- What I said: This will make the third straight year UT implements a new defensive scheme. And even though the Vols finish with their usual soft landing in November, you wonder how much gas they’ll have left in the tank after getting running that mid-season gauntlet. Bowl eligibility is about as much as you can expect.
- How I did: Easy peasy.
- Grade: A-
KENTUCKY (2-10, 0-8)
- What I said: What I wrote last year about the Wildcats – “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.” – hasn’t changed. UK has the worst personnel in the conference and that isn’t something you fix overnight.
- How I did: The easiest prediction combined with the least surprising results.
- Grade: A
Am I being too kind on myself? You tell me.