Not your regular SEC preseason predictions, 2022 edition

Once again, you’re gonna get my best shot at what’s coming this season in our favorite football conference.

And once again, I feel the need to say this:

The format for my picks, in case you haven’t tuned into this broadcast before, hasn’t changed.

Rather than give you my predicted records, I’ll list the schools in the order they finished in the conference last year, look at areas of potential improvement and decline and assess in what direction I expect each to go by comparison to (2021).

In other words, pure seat of the pants BS.

Based on that, the teams are listed in the order of [last season’s] conference order of finish.  Remember that, before you start freaking out over where a school shows up in this post.

And once again, I feel compelled to make my evergreen prediction that at least two commenters will fall short with their reading comprehension skills.  Ah, well, tradition, amirite?  Anyway, here we go.

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (13-2, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Along with Georgia, conference’s best depth; Nick Saban and The Process; defense; quarterback; schedule
  • Cons:  Offensive line; replacement of Metchie and Williams (had to go there)
  • Outlook:  Same as it ever was in Tuscaloosa.  There are plenty of people who think the Tide are a lock to lose a regular season game.  Okay, but to whom? (I wrote that last year and I see no reason to change it.)

OLE MISS (10-3, 6-2)

  • Pros:  Offense; schedule
  • Cons:  Defense; overall depth; two new coordinators; turnover at quarterback
  • Outlook:  The schedule is quite generous.  There’s a decent chance Ole Miss gets out to a 7-0 start.  From there, it gets dicey.  Kiffin had to welcome 17 players from the portal, and while there’s some talent there, that kind of changeover doesn’t mesh overnight.  Right now, I’m thinking eight wins.

ARKANSAS (9-4, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Stable coaching staff; quarterback; running backs
  • Cons:  Schedule
  • Outlook:  I am officially done underestimating Sam Pittman’s head coaching ability.  He’s built the team he wants.  My only hesitation with regard to the Hogs’ record this season is another tough schedule.  But I’m taking nine wins for them.

TEXAS A&M (8-4, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Defense; offensive line; rising talent base
  • Cons:  Quarterback; change at defensive coordinator
  • Outlook:  My feeling is that people are getting ahead of themselves with the Aggies, based on that incredible recruiting class.  Jimbo needs a great quarterback to have a great team, and there’s no way of knowing that as of now.  I like TAMU to win nine.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Third year in Leach’s system; quarterback; receiving corps; team experience
  • Cons:  Offensive tackles; defensive depth
  • Outlook:  Historically, Leach’s teams tend to show improvement in Year 3, but improvement is a relative term in the tough SEC West.  I’ve got the feeling MSU is good for one big upset and one embarrassing loss — pretty much a typical year, in other words.  I’ll say they’re good for a shaky, eight-win season.

AUBURN (6-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Running back; defensive line
  • Cons:  Coaching staff under pressure; quarterback; defensive back seven
  • Outlook:  Harsin’s got a mess on his hands, and we know why.  His best chance for success is if he can convince his players and coaches to buy into an us against the world mind set.  (Hey, that’s worked for Auburn before.)  The front end of the schedule is accommodating.  That being said, it’s very easy to see the wheels coming off the wagon.  I’ll go with five wins.

LSU (6-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Receivers; running backs
  • Cons:  New coaching staff; quarterback; defense
  • Outlook:  I’ve got the coaching staff as a negative, simply because it takes time for a new head coach, even one who’s an improvement over his predecessor (and Kelly is that), to transition to what he wants.  The defense has a way to go.  There is talent on this offense, though, especially if a young and gifted offensive line jells.  LSU is another team that could get off to a good start with a soft early schedule.  They may be good for eight wins, but should be no worse than seven.

SEC EAST

GEORGIA (14-1, 8-0)

  • Pros:  Conference-best roster depth; tight ends; running backs; schedule; offensive cohesion; coaching staff
  • Cons:  Defensive losses
  • Outlook:  They’ve climbed the mountain, so they know the journey.  The stability/cohesion between quarterback and offensive coordinator is huge.  The defensive losses should be of some concern, but that is ameliorated by the way Smart has recruited.  Like Alabama, there shouldn’t be more than one regular season loss; like Alabama, I’m not sure where that will come from.

KENTUCKY (10-3; 5-3)

  • Pros:  Quarterback; Stoops’ game management skills
  • Cons:  Both lines of scrimmage; loss of Robinson on offense; questions about Rodriguez’ availability
  • Outlook:  I thought they’d win eight last season, and they topped that nicely, but they’ve got some rebuilding to do on both sides.  Rodriguez’ status makes them hard to judge, but we should get a good handle on them early against Florida.  For now, I’ll say eight wins again.

TENNESSEE (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Quarterback; offensive scheme; offensive line experience; second year coaching staff
  • Cons:  Team depth; secondary
  • Outlook:    Everybody’s dark horse darling in the SEC East, the Vols should both score a lot of points and give up a lot of points.  The non-conference schedule has one challenge (@ Pitt) and three snooze fests.  Once they get past Georgia in November, things should be fairly smooth sailing.  Can they get over the Florida hump this year?  If so, eight wins is certainly manageable.

SOUTH CAROLINA (7-6, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Running back; quarterback; tight end; defensive line; second year coaching staff
  • Cons:  Offensive line; defensive back seven; overall depth
  • Outlook:  Shane Beamer did a helluva job last season and topped it by fixing his quarterback problem via the transfer portal.  But South Carolina faces three teams in the preseason top 6 and a division that looks to be improving.  I’ll say the ‘Cocks make it to bowl eligibility, but that’s about it.

MISSOURI (6-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Schedule; ’22 recruiting class
  • Cons:  Defense; loss of Badie; quarterback
  • Outlook:  The schedule is the best thing these Tigers have going for them, I’m afraid.  Drinkwitz may be great with the quips, but the jury is still out on his ability to build an SEC program.  He signed his best class this year, and with the departures Mizzou suffered on both sides of the ball, I can see this season turning into a learning experience to build towards next year.  Four, maybe five, wins.

FLORIDA (6-7, 2-6)

  • Pros:  Offensive line; secondary
  • Cons:  Overall depth; coaching staff changeover; wide receiver
  • Outlook:  Let’s get this out of the way first:  Florida’s got talent.  Its starting 22 is as good or better than anyone else’s in the East outside of Athens, Georgia.  But it’s a little scary to think about how a couple of key injuries, starting at quarterback, could derail this team.  That being said, Napier strikes me as an improvement over Mullen from an organizational standpoint, but, again, football teams, like Rome, aren’t built in a day.  The schedule has a rough start to it, but is fairly manageable after that.  The Gators ought to be good for two more wins if the team doesn’t quit on its head coach like it did in 2021.

VANDERBILT (2-10, 0-8)

  • Pros:  Receivers; second year coaching staff
  • Cons:  Schedule; overall lowest talent level in the conference
  • Outlook:  Vandy better get its wins early, because it finishes out with eight consecutive conference games, beginning with Alabama.  Three wins at best.

And there you have it.  Come at me!

51 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

51 responses to “Not your regular SEC preseason predictions, 2022 edition

  1. Russ

    If you’re a Vandy fan, you want to make sure to go to the early games. They play Elon this weekend, so they should be on a two game win streak when they start their losing streak to finish the season.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Based on your criteria, I think you’re over the target.

    I think 10RC might unseat UK at number 2 in the East…and maybe LSU gets coached up to move a little higher in the west…but I can’t shoot too many holes in what you’ve laid out

    Like

  3. Remember the Quincy

    Who are the “plants of folks” saying Bama is a lock to lose a regular season game? I can’t find a talking head anywhere who isn’t claiming they’ll be the greatest team of all time. Many are saying it’s Bama and then everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. siskey

    I think that Georgia and Alabama win their sides of the division by 4 and 3 games respectively, and that Tennessee and Ole Miss finish in 2d place in each by going 8-4 and 8-4.
    The usual suspects make up the bottom of each division but LSU pulls an upset and beats Bama while we have really tough games with both Mississippi State and Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. miltondawg

    A&M is interesting. Named King as starter over the weekend and he was the named starter going into 2021 before playing something like five quarters before a season ending injury. He’s been there since January of 2020 and knows Jimbo’s offense well and is a serious dual threat as he is reportedly one of the fastest players on the team. You’re right though that Jimbo needs a good QB for his offense to be successful and right now we have no idea whether King is the guy for that offense.

    Like

    • 86bone

      *His father is a high school coach
      *He runs a 4.4
      *Gamer from East Texas
      King tends to turn the ball over making questionable throws and he has the “slipsies” on occasion.
      For what it’s worth, this is just local intel out of College Station…

      Liked by 2 people

    • I can see A&M blowing their game against Mississippi State because they were looking ahead to Bama . . . and then getting blown off the map by Bama because Saban’s had that game marked on the calendar for an entire year. Could see the Aggies taking a third L from either Miami or LSU, too.

      Like

  6. Does an aging coach pull together a team that seemed to sleepwalk through their last season, relying solely on talent (getting upset once and nearly 3 times) or does the rat poison of entitlement seep in deeper? Never bet against the GOAT, but how many coaches really excelled past age 70? Bama losing 3 will be the biggest story of the year.

    Liked by 4 people

    • miltondawg

      My question for Bama will be whether Young will mesh well with Burton, the other WR that came in through the portal from Louisville, and Gibbs when catching balls. And from the WR position exclusively, there are a lot of freshman and sophomores in that room if there are injuries.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. mg4life0331

    Someone does it every year. Oh boy I can’t wait…..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Vandy three wins at best? I know it was Hawaii, but 63 points against a home team is pretty stout, and when you throw in the defensive stops that was a good performance. I think they may get 4 or 5 wins somewhere, probably from a coaching staff looking past Vandy to the more traditional power next week. Surprise!

    Like

  9. olddawg22

    Just don’t feel great about special teams. Not only did we loose a lights out kick off specialist and field flipping punter, our field goal kicker suddenly has the yips! (Think that last part is temporary) we also lost a good number of guys that played multiple years on punt and kickoff coverage. We may win them all but there will be a nail biter or two, think there is a good chance we play Bama , both with one loss in winner take all for playoffs! Every year there is a damn early injury that changes things (Tate Ratledge) but also a surprise freshman stud (Brock Bowers, we thought it was going to be AD Mitchell, who still had a great year) I think that surprise will come on the D this year and I hope he is one of the inside or more likely outside linebackers. Ky on a cold night in late November is the scariest game on the schedule right behind Saturday! But one thing is for sure it is a great time to be a GEORGIA BULLDOG!!!!!!
    Go Dawgs, G A T A

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Texas Dawg

    I can’t believe with all the talent that TAMU has that you have them listed 4th in the west
    Did I do that right?

    Liked by 7 people

  11. Nil Butron is a Pud

    The Senator predicts 5 wins for Auburn? That’s just mean…

    Like

  12. Clayton Joiner

    I don’t see March to pick at there…all pretty reasonable on it surface, but injuries are the big wildcard that are obviously difficult to project. Just ask Bama 😉

    Like

  13. moe pritchett

    Arkansas beats Bama. You heard it here first folks.

    Liked by 6 people

  14. Odontodawg

    I’m curious how one of Bama’s pros is their schedule. I’ve seen them listed from #5 to #8 for toughest national schedule.

    Like

    • They’ve got Vandy and UT as their crossover games, and an overrated Texas and three stiffs for non-conference opponents, for starters.

      Like

      • Odontodawg

        Fair. I wouldn’t want our Dawgs to go to Austin, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU, and Ole Miss on the road. Our schedule seems markedly easier. YMMV.

        Like

        • JoeDashDawg

          Quinn Ewers better take out some insurance, bc the Texas OLine is very bad and Will Anderson… well, we all know what he is. Plus I think there is going to be some emphasis for Saban to bury the Longhorns since they got the commitment from the Manning kid and are gaining momentum in recruiting.

          Like

      • Texas Dawg

        So you’re saying Texas is NOT back…..again…. for the 17th straight season

        Liked by 2 people

  15. PTC DAWG

    Last years East finish is about what I expect this year..maybe one less win for KY.

    Like

  16. PTC DAWG

    I see LSU as mid pack in the west…Other than that, it much changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Russ

    I’m not worried about the Dawgs, but if I was worried, the co-defensive coordinator thing would worry me. If more than one person is “in charge”, then nobody is in charge.

    Liked by 1 person