Playing for second place?

So, if you go by FanDuel’s 2019 SEC championship odds, here’s how the two divisions’ order of finish projects:

SEC West

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Mississippi State
  4. Auburn
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Ole Miss
  7. Arkansas

SEC East

  1. Georgia
  2. Florida
  3. Kentucky
  4. Missouri
  5. South Carolina*
  6. Tennessee*
  7. Vanderbilt

(* tied)

A few observations:

  • The two leaders have significant gaps between themselves and the projected second-place teams, something I expect to see repeated at SEC Media Days.
  • TAMU and South Carolina are both dinged for brutal schedules, which isn’t surprising.
  • The years when Auburn isn’t taken seriously are the years when I worry about Auburn.
  • Missouri can’t play for the SEC title, so the Tigers’ regular season success is going to come down to regular season motivation.  Good luck predicting that in advance.
  • Insert snark about Tennessee projected to finish ahead of Vanderbilt… again.
  • Most over-rated:  Mississippi State.  Most under-rated:  TAMU.

Your thoughts?

38 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

38 responses to “Playing for second place?

  1. Corch Irvin Meyers New USC Trojans Corch (2020)

    I’d say the most overrated is Floriduh.

    Kentucky or Mizzou is going to wind up in second place. The ‘turds are looking at 8-4, but if things go really sideways with some injuries, they could easily go 5-7.

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    • This season, Florida has better defensive talent and better skill position talent than either of those two teams. It’ll be 2020 when the slide on defense hits for UF.

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      • Corch Irvin Meyers New USC Trojans Corch (2020)

        Perhaps, but the depth behind that talent isn’t there.

        Sideshow Dan’s Floriduh team reminds me 100% of the last three teams Richt trotted out on the field. Some impressive skill position talent and nothing in the trenches and zero depth. Richt’s teams still won 9 and 10 games because the East was garbage, but I’d say Kentucky and Mizzou are better now than then. Kentucky is well-coached by a coach who is actually earning his rep to be able to coach them up instead of being gifted that rep as Sideshow Dan was. Mizzou, I think behind Bryant and a strong-ish D, comes out pissed off and plays well. They’ve lambasted the ‘turds two years in a row. I see it happening again. Add in a loss to us and a loss to LSU, and that’s 8-4.

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        • “If Florida suffers injuries and Kentucky and Mizzou don’t” means the Gators are overrated, I see where you’re coming from.

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          • Corch Irvin Meyers New USC Trojans Corch (2020)

            You don’t have to suffer a bunch of injuries for your lack of depth to haunt you on the field. Again, I point to Richt’s last few teams. People keep forgetting how bad Sideshow Dan’s o-line is going to be this year, one of the worst in the SEC, and then how there’s no depth behind that. Franks behind that line?

            And their starting corners may be good, but when they need a breather or when the team has to play nickel or dime?

            Floriduh better hope it takes big first half leads on every team it plays, because it is not built for the third and fourth quarter.

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            • You honestly believe Florida has less depth than UK and UM? Ho-kay, man.

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              • Uglydawg

                Leave him alone. I want him to be right about this.

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              • Macallanlover

                While I think FU is over rated by the media, I feel they are under rated by UGA fans, and this particular poster especially, due to the hate for all things gaytor. I don’t like them, and think Mullen is a dork that need not be feared, but they have as good a chance to finish 2nd as any other East team in 2019. Bigger gap between 1st and the rest in the East than in the West, imo.

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      • practicaldawg

        As always, linear rankings distort the perception of where these teams are. There is a massive fall off in the east when you go from UGA to UF. Then another fairly large gap between UF and the rest of the east. However, since no non-UGA east team has sufficient depth at all positions, a few key injuries could send UF or any of the other east teams into a sub-.500 nose dive.

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        • practicaldawg

          To put it even more concisely, Florida’s entire season rides on Franks, who will have to turn in a Heisman-worthy performance for them to even sniff the east title. He will have even less offensive talent around him than last year, most notably on the line. His injury risk is much higher than last year.

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          • He will have even less offensive talent around him than last year, most notably on the line.

            O-line, yes. Skill positions, no. He’s got the best receiving corps in the division, based on returning talent, and some good running backs.

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            • practicaldawg

              I’m not saying this to disagree with you, but are there numbers to back the claim that they have the best returning receivers in the division?

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  2. Dawg in Austin

    I find it incredibly difficult to see Kentucky being over .500 in conference in 2019 and I don’t think they end up ahead of Tennessee and Mizzou. The loss of Snell and those senior defenders will be too much to overcome.

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    • ChiliDawg

      Wouldn’t be so sure. I don’t know what their specific roster situation looks like, but Stoops has made a strategy out of bringing in JUCO transfers to fill positions of need, which is really smart for them because of the competition they face recruiting. They could very well pick right up where they left off, although Snell will no doubt be missed.

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      • Dawg in Austin

        That strategy worked for one year. I’ll believe it’s a trend if it works again. Check the roster, it ain’t that good.

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  3. West

    I’m not sold on LSU. Burrow is serviceable at best except when you play 10 yards off receivers (looking at you, Mel Tucker) when you only need 4 yards for a first down.

    I think Auburn is laying in the weeds. I can’t remember what they look like on the offensive line of scrimmage, but if they end up good there, watch out because they can play keep away with that running game and that defensive line is going to be solid.

    East

    My answer may be both to FU. If Franks has a good season, they could come to Jacksonville undefeated. If not, they may have 2-4 losses already, and Dopey Dan finds himself on a scalding hot seat. Either way I don’t see them beating us unless Fromm gets hurt (I shudder as I type that).

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    • Otto

      Auburn will be interesting, last year was their 2010. They were hyped as preseason #1 thank to media love of the QB ignoring holes in the roster in their case OL turn over. Maybe cliche but he SEC is a trenches league. In theory they are returning more starts on the OL this year. If Gus gets a QB executing who knows what they’ll do. I could see 2nd in the west or mid pack. As the Senator said watch out for Auburn when they’re under the radar and this season could be a season of steady improvement.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. GruvenDawg

    Second place in the east is going to be interesting. UF and SC have the hardest crossovers. I could see UF losing to LSU and the SC game for them in Columbia could be a hangover game for them. Missouri has a nice schedule but I am not sure how Bryant is going to do against SEC defenses. I think Kentucky loses too much on defense and I don’t know if they have another Snell that can carry the team. UT should be improved but is still at a talent deficiency.

    If it wasn’t for the crossover games I would pick USC. My heart says Missouri second my head says UF.

    My heart says Missouri second my head says UF.

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  5. Miss St third? I think they’re more likely to finish 5th in the West than third..

    My best guess…

    Bama
    LSU
    Auburn
    A&M
    Miss St
    Ole Miss
    Arkansas

    UGA
    Florida
    Mizzou
    Tenn
    SoCar
    Kentucky
    Vandy

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    • ChiliDawg

      Tennessee isn’t going to be better than three other teams in the division. They might not be better than even one.

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      • I think Tenn is going to surprise some people. I also think Kentucky is going to bust and Vandy is going to be god-awful.

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        • ChiliDawg

          I think Tenn is going to surprise some people.

          Based on what?

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          • Otto

            Tennessee’s schedule just does set up well. I think they get beat in the Swamp, then they have a bye before UGA for another loss.

            The next week a solid Miss St team gets to be a critical game at home which could be a loss. Tuscaloosa is the next week before getting USCe back at home.

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  6. Muttley

    FU is obviously the big wild card- like a lot of recent-past Auburn teams it feels like they could swing hard either way. The most interesting SEC program right now, and that’s sure what they’re working hard at.

    Instead of winning on the recruiting trail or chopping wood it feels like Dangerous Dan is trying to manufacture something that isn’t there. He’s out recruiting the fans and the press and his current roster. Sometimes fake juice’ll get you one, but I’m glad we’re not ordering any this round.

    But maybe Franks pulls that one big year like Jason Campbell. I always wish I could see one game in the crystal ball about this time of year. Florida-LSU would be interesting.

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    • Otto

      Auburn Florida is back on the calendar and that game is always interesting. Pulling for the Gus Bus run over SideShow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m pulling for a meteor.

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      • Muttley

        You’re right. That game would be the crystal ball pick. And I guess the really interesting question for either program would be what the fan bases expect. A rerun of 2018 would be disappointing for Auburn, but how about for FU? What’s the bench mark? Beating Georgia, for both, maybe…

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        • Otto

          Campbell and Franks is an interesting comparison. Borges turned Campbell into a draftable QB. Can Mullen gets Franks to improve?

          I think Auburn’s eagerness to fire is overrated. The media perception uses Chiz which did go winless in the SEC and also moved away from the spread which Auburn’s big donors didn’t like.

          Mullen won’t get fired but if he gets run over in Jax and gets beat at home by Auburn, the seat will be warming.

          I think UF’s OL hurts them and glad they have to face 2 teams which usually have good front sevens in LSU and Auburn before they go to Jax.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Muttley

            Malzook isn’t in trouble but another four-five losses would be a cold shower for that fan base and they can probably pencil in three right now. Add to that if they get thumped at home twice by the hated rivals to end the season that cold shower turns the color of Jimmy’s Yella wood. Sucks to be them right now, but it’s right to worry about them in years where they’re counted out.

            I keep thinking Mullen has set it up so that his whole season is Jax. What else is there? Beat Georgia and go the Dome (and take his beating there) and he can keep running his mouth about closing the gap. If he loses in Jax, as we all expect, he better look good doing it and find ten wins elsewhere or he’s going to be on the wrong side of that gap, with PAWWWL staring him in the face.

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            • Otto

              It is a pivotal year for Gus. Smart hasn’t beaten a West team on the road yet. and Gus comes in off a bye week to face UGA. UGA should win but that is why we play the game. 9-3 is about right for Auburn. I am a fan of any program that can put a loss on Bama so that if UGA faces them in the SECCG it is a winner take all for the playoff but just don’t see Auburn pulling it off.

              Mullen has drawn the lines and set expectations down there. I like most UGA fans think he has set himself up for failure. Smart has never lost to Mullen with both coming in as a Coordinator or HC, let us hope that doesn’t change.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Missouri places nd. Only reason UF places 3rd is because USCjr. schedule is that brutal.

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  8. I’m not worried about Auburn. I don’t much care for them either.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TSlick

    “The years when Auburn isn’t taken seriously are the years when I worry about Auburn.”

    IMHO it should read, The years when Auburn is at home against Georgia and Bama are years when I worry about Auburn.”

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    • Tony Barnfart

      Yes. In even years, it’s almost like they say F-it knowing well in advance that terrible 2 game road stretch will screw them anyway. Of course, they could always play us twice in a row in Sanford to clean it up, but we know how that story went….piss and moan and get the oldest rivalry moved to late September.

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  10. PTC DAWG

    I hope they are right, I would like to see us get another shot at Bama.

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  11. I continue to see Franks as a deer in the headlights when the competition is good. If his O line is as weak/mediocre as many seem to think, I believe he’ll being going backwards rather than forward, and dragging UF with him.

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  12. Hobnail_Boot

    Overrated: MSU

    Underrated: Mizzou

    No earthly idea: Tennessee and Arkansas

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