Here’s an early look at SEC win totals, courtesy of South Point Hotel and Casino (last year’s records in parentheses):
- Florida: 7.5 (4-7)
- Georgia: 10.5 (13-2)
- Kentucky: 5.5 (7-6)
- Missouri: 7.5 (7-6)
- South Carolina: 7 (9-4)
- Tennessee: 5.5 (4-8)
- Vanderbilt: 4 (5-7)
- Alabama: 11 (13-1)
- Arkansas: 6 (4-8)
- Auburn: 9 (10-4)
- LSU: 7 (9-4)
- Ole Miss: 6 (6-6)
- Mississippi State: 8.5 (9-4)
- Texas A&M: 7 (7-6)
My first thought on seeing that is a general perception that the conference is still mediocre outside of Alabama and Georgia. There are only three teams listed with projected win totals better than the 2017 results — Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas (Missouri’s 7/7.5 is a wash to me) — and all three can be categorized as being in positions where there’s nowhere to go but up. (And even with that, I still think it’s a stretch to predict Arkansas, which has significant personnel issues and a new coaching staff, will wind up bowl eligible.)
My second thought is a corollary to the first: if the 2018 season does play out like this, it’s gonna be one boring year for the SEC.
Other random thoughts:
- Vegas is definitely less sanguine about South Carolina’s prospects than most prognosticators I’ve read. The ‘Cocks do have an advantage in coaching stability over several divisional rivals this season, but the talent base isn’t that great overall and they’re embarking on an offensive journey that goes against the grain of everything Boom’s done since he became a head coach. In some ways, this will be the most interesting experiment of 2018, mainly because I wonder what happens if things go south with the hurry up.
- Auburn at 9 wins seems a little questionable until you remember that the Tigers open with Washington and play Alabama and Georgia on the road.
- For all the talk about Pruitt and Mullen, Joe Moorhead is flying under the radar for the most part. Ironically, Mullen left him with a decent amount of talent to work with this season and it will be interesting to see how Moorhead puts it to use. The Bulldogs have Auburn at home, by the way, and if that game breaks in MSU’s favor, they could finish as high as second in the division.
- I don’t think TAMU signed Jimbo to that ridiculous contract to win seven games a year, but what do I know?
- Tennessee’s conference schedule, particularly at mid-season, is brutal, but I can see a path to six wins if Pruitt can hold things together after October. If the Vols can beat West Virginia in the opener, maybe more than six wins…