How’d I do?: looking back at my SEC preseason predictions

It’s that time again to take stock of my preseason assessments of how every conference team would do in 2014.  As before, schools are listed in the same order as they were in the preseason post, with this season’s won-loss totals.


AUBURN (8-5, 4-4)

  • What I said:  Historically, Auburn doesn’t do well when it’s a preseason front-runner, but I don’t foresee a huge drop off from last season.  On the other hand, there’s got to be some regression to the mean, luckwise.  No worse than two, maybe three conference losses.
  • How I did:  Regression to the mean?  Sure.  But there was just some plain old regression, too.
  • Grade:  C-

ALABAMA (12-2, 7-1)

  • What I said:  Let’s say the Tide will slip up and lose a regular season game, but there’s a reason everyone is putting them in Atlanta and the new CFP.  If they don’t make it, I’m blaming Junior.
  • How I did:  The Tide made it to Atlanta and to the national semi-finals, but Saban will be watching the championship game like the rest of us.  Not sure how much blame Kiffin deserves for that, but Alabama’s secondary deserves some.
  • Grade:  A-

LSU (8-5, 4-4)

  • What I said:  My default position on Les Miles – pencil in two regular season losses – feels right.  This is a very talented team, but the Tigers have a lot of experience to replace, especially at the offensive skill spots.
  • How I did:  LSU lost more than I expected, it seems.  Nobody in Baton Rouge had a clue how to jump-start the passing game.
  • Grade:  D+

TEXAS A & M (8-5, 3-5)

  • What I said:   I guess the question to ask is if TAMU is at the point where it reloads.  They’ll likely be okay on offense, but I’m still not thrilled with that defense.  I’m seeing a similar number of regular season losses in 2014.
  • How I did:  Pretty spot on.
  • Grade:  A-

MISSISSIPPI (9-4, 5-3)

  • What I said: Defense should be excellent; offense, not so much.  With that schedule, I think Ole Miss is probably looking at a four-loss regular season.
  • How I did:  Overall, Ole Miss was just a little better than I anticipated.
  • Grade:  B+


  • What I said:  I still think this is the hardest team to handicap in the SEC.  I can’t help but be impressed with what MSU brings on the defensive side of the ball, but the offense makes me nervous, mainly because of the quarterback situation.  If Mullen can coach Prescott up to the next level, the Bulldogs could be the surprise team of the West.  But I’m seeing four losses in the regular season at present.
  • How I did:  It turned out that Prescott was able to turn his game up and the team followed suit.
  • Grade:  C+

ARKANSAS (7-6, 2-6)

  • What I said:  Can it get better in Bielema’s second year?  It can’t get worse.  But I’m having a hard time figuring out where the Hogs grab that fourth win.
  • How I did:  Wrong, bacon breath.  It got a lot better once Arkansas hit its stride mid-season.
  • Grade:  D+


MISSOURI (11-3, 7-1)

  • What I said: The schedule shapes up to be Missouri’s biggest friend, with only three preseason ranked opponents.  Pinkel knows what he’s doing and Mauk is a promising quarterback.  But depth is a concern in several areas.  Four regular season losses wouldn’t surprise me, although I think three is a more likely result.
  • How I did:  Once again, a pleasant surprise.  As I wrote the year before, if I had a vote for conference coach of the year, Pinkel would get it.
  • Grade:  C-


  • What I said:  Hard to see the ‘Cocks doing worse from a win/loss standpoint than they did last season.  But will another two-loss regular season be enough to win the division?
  • How I did:  Neither Steve Spurrier nor I saw what was coming.  My biggest preseason whiff.
  • Grade:  F

GEORGIA (10-3, 6-2)

  • What I said:  The record will be improved because the Dawgs will be healthier, but the season will come down to competence in the secondary, on special teams and turnover margin improvement.  I expect this team to improve over the course of the season, but there will be two or three regular season losses, depending on how they get out of the gate.
  • How I did:  Accurate.  So why do I feel disappointed?
  • Grade:  A-

VANDERBILT (3-9, 0-8)

  • What I said:  People don’t realize it, but Franklin did Mason a big favor by redshirting a ton of kids from a very good recruiting class.  That’s going to help, although not as much as the softest schedule in the SEC will.  Vandy’s biggest problem is that the offense won’t be very good.  I can’t see anything close to another nine-win season, but bowl eligibility is certainly a realistic goal.
  • How I did:  Hoo, boy, that sucks.
  • Grade:  D+

FLORIDA (7-5, 4-4)

  • What I said:  Yes, the Gators will improve from last season’s record.  But with six preseason ranked opponents on the schedule, I’m looking at something in the neighborhood of 8-4.  And that’s only if Driskel stays on his feet.
  • How I did:  Well, I didn’t know they’d go and outright cancel a game.  So I was pretty close.
  • Grade:  B-

TENNESSEE (7-6, 3-5)

  • What I said:  I’m having a hard time finding a sixth win on this team’s schedule.  But they upset South Carolina last year, so who knows?
  • How I did:  That’s pretty much what happened.
  • Grade:  A-

KENTUCKY (5-7, 2-6)

  • What I said:  As the Beatles once sang, I have to admit it’s getting better.  But not that quickly.  Overall win total can improve a little from 2013’s, but without Arkansas on the schedule, the ‘Cats are going to have to steal a win from the likes of Vandy or Tennessee to get off the conference schneid.
  • How I did:  The ‘Cats benefited from the collapses of South Carolina and Vanderbilt.  But reality set in over the last six games of the season
  • Grade:  B-

So what do you think?  Too easy on myself?  Too harsh?

It wound up being a weird year, that’s for sure.


Filed under GTP Stuff, SEC Football

37 responses to “How’d I do?: looking back at my SEC preseason predictions

  1. Smitty

    Easy to assess why you feel disappointed on the Georgia prediction. We lost to tech…..


    • ugafidelis

      The losses to SC and Tech were hard to swallow, but I can chew them. The loss to FU was a hobnail boot that broke my heart and crushed my soul. I may never be the same…


  2. Russ

    Your prediction about the Dawgs is what makes the wailing and gnashing of teeth around here so hard to take. Pretty much everyone was predicting 2-3 losses and that’s exactly where we wound up. Sure it could’ve been better, but not many people expected better.


  3. Olddawg 55

    I think you did a fair job…lots of surprises including Georgia. Recheck your Vandy comment…they didn’t make a bowl so how are they 9-4???


  4. While the 2-3 losses were predictable before the season, now looking back, they were SOOO winnable. That’s the difference and the cause of the pain. Or at least speaking for myself it is. Easier to deal with those losses in mid-August than late Dec – early Jan.


  5. Bulldawg165

    I’m interested in the “minus” you gave to the “A” for your Bama and Texas A&M predictions. They both seem pretty spot on, Bama especially. What’s the reason for the downgrade?


    • Just felt like Alabama was going to play for the national title again. And TAMU lost one more game this year than last year.


      • Cojones

        You got huevos, Senator. Anyone sporting a big name and are unafraid of getting undressed in public (as any serious prognosticator fears), my hat’s off to your low-ego predictions. I have the same respect for those playing in the Fun Office Pools yall created. Not afraid to show that you don’t pretend to know everything is a big plus in character.

        Fancy myself as a good picker until the Pool sobers me up. I note that luck (good and bad) have a lot to do with many picks and for that reason thought you were too rough on the self-analysis. You done great in my book. You should take a bow. Would like to see the “experts” here take a crack at it.


  6. Daniel Simpson Day

    If “Accurate” and “Spot On” are an A-, I’m glad you weren’t of my professors. Too hard on yourself.

    On another note, it’s always interesting to see our preseason prognostications matched up with our post season state of mind. I kinda felt that if we would have had the option of a 10 win season with all our question marks etc, we would have jumped on it. Looking back, I’m thinking I should drink more koolaid.


    • Cojones

      Thought we should run the board at season’s beginning. Looking at each game and opponent’s liabilities right alongside ours has a way of making you drink the kool-aide and want for more. That was unfair to our D. Afraid I’ve become a kool-aide sot. I blame opponents for getting ready for us and playing their A-game of the year.

      My kool-aide dipsomania remains intact for 2015. Anyone recommend a rehab?


      • How about a few more brownies or does that make you drink more Kool-Aid?

        I do think you have a point about opponents that play their best game of the year against us:
        Clemson – lots of Georgia kids who want to beat UGA more than USCe
        USCe – lots of Georgia kids (and a head coach) who want to beat UGA more than Clemson
        UT – some Georgia kids and they think the UGA game is the only where Butch finally lays the last brick in the wall
        UF – rivairy game where we didn’t match their intensity and we got beat
        Auburn – lots of Georgia kids – rivalry game where they didn’t match our intensity (I thought that was interesting this year)
        tech – they would rather go 1-11 with the one against us than 11-1 with the one against us – the ultimate little brother syndrome

        We had 6 games this year that could be called real rivalry games. I could go on, but the bottom line is that we have a lot of games that we have to be at our best emotionally for. It’s not an excuse for losing, but it is a reality.


    • Russ

      I’m a koolaid drinker and always think of a way that we can win it all. Losing the games we lost sucked, but I’ve finally learned to not let it spoil my enjoyment of an otherwise fine season. Next year, I think we have a great chance for a memorable season of 15 games.


    • WF dawg

      The Senator is against grade inflation.


  7. Senator, as usual, good stuff here. Regarding our favorite team, most people who looked at the program objectively in August said 2-3 losses before the season. I thought we would lose to USCe and split Mizzou/Arky. No one in their right mind predicted the Columbia East dumpster fire especially the week 1 face plant against the Aggies. I missed on the split and am glad to admit I missed it. I never would have expected our team to go to Jacksonville and lay the egg it laid against the Gators. I also thought we would lay an epic woodshed beating on the NATS, but I didn’t think they would be as good at QB as they were (we should have beaten them anyway).

    With 20/20 hindsight, the season clearly could have and should have been better, but everyone who doesn’t lift the trophy on the 2nd Monday of January will feel that way.


  8. Irishdawg

    No one expected Georgia to look so good in the games it won, which is where the disappointment lies. And losing to Tech and a shitty Florida team.


  9. AusDawg85

    Season over. Football dead. All is lost. What shall we do now?!

    Oh yeah…signing day! Then Spring Practice! G-Day! Fall Practice! Whew…


    • Cojones

      Attaboy! Never-ending football summer. Wonder whether they will dedicate themselves to conditioning again this summer? Who is the leader now?


      • I’m hearing they are working together more as a team this offseason. I mean, really. 😉


        • Cojones

          Puff, we float that one every summer, but we were better at it last summer and will blow the lid off after this summer’s conditioning. It’s the truth. Honest. 🙂


  10. In related news, the F+ rankings are updated through the games played as of 1/3/2015. Georgia played 5 teams in the top 25 and went 3-2. Those losses to Florida and South Carolina are real stinkers considering they finished #37 and #47, respectively. That pretty much explains your frustration – all three losses were against teams that measured worse than the Dawgs.


  11. FisheriesDawg

    Thinking back in hindsight, this “THE SEC IS DEAD!” nonsense is kind of silly. We knew the SEC was going to be down this year due to the loss of so many quarterbacks, and that’s exactly how it panned out. The only real outliers from the beginning of the season were South Carolina and LSU tanking. Otherwise, we’re only talking about minor variation from expectations with no team stepping up to take the conference from Alabama in the end.

    I do wonder if the lack of a truly elite team in the league this year is due to the early effects of the SEC’s limitation on signing classes. Are roster management limitations going to give the rest of the country a chance heading forward?


  12. Will Trane

    Dawgs deserve a top 10 final ranking.
    Say again, think they are the second best team in SEC after regular season and the bowls.
    Most disappointing teams…Ole Miss, MSU, South Carolina, Florida, and Auburn. All supposedly had the players and the coaches.
    None of them faced the injuries and suspensions UGA did.
    A very good 10-3 team. Even after all the bitching I did about the former OC.
    Can not wait to see who the new OC and OLC are or how CMR structures his offensive staff.


  13. I tweeted this out Aug 26:


    Bama: 10-2 (close)
    Aub: 9-3 (close)
    LSU: 8-4 (close)
    Miss St: 8-4 (off)
    Ole Miss: 8-4 (close)
    Texas A&M: 7-5 (yes)
    Arkansas: 6-6 (yes)


    SoCar: 10-2 (holy hell way off)
    UGA: 9-3 (sobs)
    UF: 8-4 (close)
    Mizzou: 8-4 (off)
    Tenn: 5-7 (close)
    Vandy: 5-7 (way off)
    Kentucky: 3-9 (way off)


  14. W Cobb Dawg

    To harsh on your grading brother Bluto. Pretty darn good predictions I’d say.


    • Dog in Fla

      (Fact: Bluto could teach Chuck Norris how to be a hard grader without even bothering to show up to class, Caterpillar)


  15. GoldToe

    5-1 vs ranked teams, that shows the potential of the team..

    But going 0-2 to 6 and 7 win teams in UF & SC is unexplainable, both games should not have even been close.

    Had a 99.8 chance of beating GT with 18 seconds to go and lost (was most improbable loss of 2014 according to ESPN).

    UF running for 400+ yards, while only 6 pass attempts, and the offense falling apart in same game, and the fake punt for td, I can’t figure that one out.


  16. GoldToe

    “but the season will come down to competence in the secondary, on special teams and turnover margin improvement”

    1- pass defense ended up top 5 in nation
    2- turnover margin went from -7 to +16

    What ended up hurting most was
    1- rush defense regressed from 43rd to 63rd
    2- pass offense fell from 15th to 90th
    3- receiving drop off went yards per game
    wesley 62 in 2013, 9 in 2014
    conley 59, to 50
    bennett 49, to 31
    lynch 38, blaz 20
    gurley 44 to 9
    davis 23 to 5
    Rome 12 to 5
    Marshall 22 to -2

    I don’t see how Hutson survived with the drop in productivity.