Category Archives: SEC Football

Today, in “academic integrity is a core value”

It’s the SEC, peeps.  If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

… Mississippi State is being placed on NCAA probation for academic misconduct by student-athletes in two sports: football and men’s basketball. This penalty results from rules violations self-reported by Mississppi State, where a part-time student tutor is alleged to have completed some on-line coursework for student-athletes in those sports.

MSU is getting slapped pretty good, but managed to avoid postseason bans in either sport, unlike what Mizzou is facing.  The difference?

While the cases have some similarities, the Missouri case involved a University staffer. This case at Mississippi State centered around a student tutor as part of a work study program.

Hairsplitting, for the win.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football, The NCAA

2019 Projected FEI Ratings

Brian Fremeau has tweaked his formula in hopes of making it more predictive.  He feels like he’s accomplished that.

Applied over the last three seasons, this preseason projection methodology resulted in successfully forecasting the winner of 69.2 percent of all regular season games. More importantly, and since new possession data will be recorded and will better inform the projection model throughout the year, the preseason Projected FEI ratings have a 76.8 percent win percentage for Weeks 0-2 when no such in-season data is available. (Betting lines successfully projected the winner of only 75.3 percent of games in Weeks 0-2 over the same span). For those early week projections, the mean error (average difference between projected margin and actual margin) was 11.6 points per game, a projection improvement of more than 1.5 points per game over the old FEI system.

Projected FEI ratings (PFEI) represent the per-possession scoring advantage a team would be expected to have on a neutral field over an average opponent. Projected losses (PL) represents the average number of losses expected based on the team’s PFEI rating and that of its opponents produced from individual game win likelihoods. Projected OFEI Offense ratings (POFEI) and Projected DFEI Defense ratings (PDFEI) represent per-possession advantages for each unit.

And here’s his top 15.

Screenshot_2019-08-23 FEI 2019 New and Improved Football Outsiders

The usual suspects appear in the top six spots, but from there it gets interesting, with Mississippi State and Auburn next.  Florida is outside the top ten and Brian projects the Gators finishing with four losses.

As far as other SEC teams go, he’s got Missouri at 19 (four losses), TAMU at 22 (5.9 lossses), Tennessee at 34 (5.8 losses), South Carolina at 39 (6.9 losses), Ole Miss at 52 (6.5 losses), Kentucky at 60 (6.1 losses), Vanderbilt at 80 (seven losses) and Arkansas at 82 (7.1 losses).  By the way, the last two come in ranked lower than Georgia Tech.

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Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Not your regular SEC preseason predictions, 2019 edition

Well, it’s that time of year again (technically, earlier than usual because of Week 0) when I show my ass to all and attempt to foresee what’s coming down the turnpike from the fourteen members of the Southeastern Conference.

Once more, I offer my general explanation about the format to this post, although I know there will be, as usual, at least two readers who don’t bother to look at it:

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 2010.

In other words, pure seat of the pants BS.

Based on that, the teams are listed in the order of their 2018 conference order of finish.  Remember that, before you start freaking out over where a school shows up in this post.

And with that, here we go.

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (14-1, 8-0)

  • Pros:  Depth, depth and more depth; Nick Saban and The Process; quarterback; wide receiver; defensive back seven; weak non-conference schedule; ridiculous advanced stats
  • Cons:  Replacement of both coordinators (maybe) and Quinnen Williams (definitely)
  • Outlook:  The most lather, rinse, repeat program in college football.  As I said in last year’s preview, if Alabama isn’t in the national title hunt when the Tide plays in the SECCG, it’ll be a complete shock.  A regular season loss would be a mild upset.

LSU (10-3, 5-3)

  • Pros:  Defense; overall talent level
  • Cons:  Schedule; running backs; offensive line; receivers
  • Outlook:  There’s an awful lot riding on the supposed change in offensive philosophy this season.  Color me unconvinced.  LSU is too talented to have a mediocre season, but the schedule and Orgeron have me thinking the Tigers are on their way to nine regular season wins in ‘nineteen.

TEXAS A&M (9-4, 5-3)

  • Pros:  Second year coach effect; linebacker; special teams
  • Cons:  Running back; pass defense; brutal schedule
  • Outlook:  Yeah, I think Jimbo can coach when he’s motivated.  But between that schedule, the wholesale losses on the defensive front and Trayveon Williams’ departure, the won-loss record will take a step back in 2019.  Seven wins is pushing it a little, but I think TAMU gets there.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-5, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Second year coach effect; running back; defensive line; positive advanced stats
  • Cons:  Losses on defense; depth
  • Outlook:  Mullen left Moorhead a stacked roster and that showed on defense.  But Fitzgerald was a poor fit for what Moorhead wanted to do offensively, and that showed, too.  This year’s roster looks more pedestrian, but presumably Moorhead will get more out of his offense.  The schedule is certainly manageable, so I can see an eight-win season coming.

AUBURN (8-5, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Lowered expectations; special teams; defensive line; running backs
  • Cons:  Schedule; quarterback
  • Outlook:  It’s one of those patented Auburn years — you know, when nobody’s expecting great things from the Tigers, so they outperform expectations.  That being said, for all their obvious strengths (and that defense is gonna be a real good one), they play six preseason top twelve teams and Gus is counting on a true freshman quarterback to run his offense.  I’ll say nine wins, maybe even ten if Gus finds his lucky rabbit’s foot again.

OLE MISS (5-7, 1-7)

  • Pros:  Off NCAA probation; Scottie Phillips
  • Cons:  Deteriorating team depth; new coordinators; special teams; offensive line; departing receiver talent
  • Outlook:  Hard to see this season being anything other than a long, hard slog.  The roster has been significantly weakened by sanctions and Ole Miss is making a radical change in scheme on offense.  The schedule isn’t awful, but I have a tough time coming up with more than four wins.

ARKANSAS (2-10, 0-8)

  • Pros:  Schedule; second year coach effect
  • Cons:  Overall roster may be the SEC’s worst
  • Outlook:  This is year two of a massive rebuild project.  I think the Hogs will win three games this season, but only because the schedule is so soft.

SEC EAST

GEORGIA (11-3, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Offensive line; Jake Fromm; running back; defensive back seven; best talent base in the division by far
  • Cons:  Wide receiver; quarterback depth; pressure of high expectations; schedule
  • Outlook:  There’s a high ceiling on Georgia’s season because of the talent level.  The big question is whether Smart has the program ready to take the next big step, which is beating Alabama.  In the meantime, history and a formidable schedule suggest one regular season loss for the Dawgs.

KENTUCKY (10-3, 5-3)

  • Pros:  Coaching stability; schedule; Lynn Bowden
  • Cons:  Losses of Snell and Allen; defensive line; special teams
  • Outlook:  Stoops is a good coach, period, but no program like Kentucky survives the loss of its two best players unscathed.  Still, that schedule will somewhat ameliorate the drop.  Call it an eight-win regular season for the ‘Cats.

FLORIDA (10-3, 5-3)

  • Pros:  Second year coach effect; secondary; wide receivers; special teams; starting 22 experience
  • Cons:  Depth at offensive line and cornerback; rocky offseason; regression to the mean on turnover margin
  • Outlook:  Mullen, to his credit, stabilized the program last season.  Like it or not, he’s a solid coach.  2019 looks like it’ll be dependent on team health in two key areas.  The ceiling appears to be a ten-win regular season; the floor, if injury luck and turnover margin go south, bowl eligibility.  I’ll sort of split the baby and say nine wins, for now.

MISSOURI (8-5, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Coaching stability; offensive line; receivers; running back; schedule
  • Cons:  Looming NCAA sanctions; overall depth; special teams
  • Outlook:  Odom is another good coach who deserves more credit than he gets.  The schedule is favorable, to say the least, and I could see Mizzou rolling into Athens with a 7-1 record.  Plus, there’s more talent on this team than you might think.  That being said, you never know how a team reacts to postseason ineligibility.  Right now, I feel comfortable with a nine-win prediction.

SOUTH CAROLINA (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Coaching stability; rising talent level; wide receiver; experience at quarterback; linebacker
  • Cons:  Running back; schedule
  • Outlook:  Muschamp has repaired the dumpster fire of a roster Spurrier left him with.  On offense, the big fix has to be getting Bentley to turn the ball over less; you’d have to think with his experience, that’s not an insurmountable task.  As you might expect with a Muschamp-coached team, the ‘Cocks have some good pieces on defense.  Man, oh, man, that schedule, though.  It’ll be a yeoman’s task to win eight games.  I’m thinking seven wins, and that would be a good year for SC.

VANDERBILT (5-7, 1-7)

  • Pros:  Coaching stability; schedule; receivers; Ke’Shawn Vaughn
  • Cons:  Secondary; defensive line; special teams; Shurmur’s departure; lowest talent level in the division
  • Outlook:  Vaughn is the most under the radar player in the conference.  Vandy has some nice pieces at wide receiver and tight end, but who’s going to step up at quarterback?  Overall, it looks like another typical Vanderbilt season coming up — five wins, maybe six if the ‘Dores can extend the winning streak against the Vols.

TENNESSEE (5-7, 2-6)

  • Pros:  Offensive skill position players; secondary; second year coach effect
  • Cons:  Offensive line; defensive line
  • Outlook:    UT will improve its won-loss record again, but when you’re in a conference where everything starts with line play, and your lines are the weakest part of your team, there’s only so far you can go.  The Vols will go bowling, but that’s about all.

There you go.  Come at me, if you dare (which you probably do).

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Filed under SEC Football

Friday morning buffet

One day ’til college football, and counting.

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Filed under ACC Football, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Gators, Gators..., Pac-12 Football, SEC Football, The Evil Genius

Thursday morning buffet

Fresh from the oven…

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Filed under Alabama, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Today, in Jimmies and Joes

Yesterday, somebody on Twitter posted data on how teams match up based on the 247Composite ratings.  No, it’s not definitive in that it doesn’t include unranked players or account for player development, but it’s still quite interesting in painting a general picture of overall talent levels.

Here’s how Florida and Miami match up in advance of Saturday night’s game.

Screenshot_2019-08-21 Zane on Twitter I agree with BudElliott3 that recruiting rankings shouldn't be used to pick games, bu[...]

Boy, both of those offensive lines look like hot messes.  I’m a little surprised by Florida’s poor showing at defensive line, but that may simply presage a severe lack of quality depth at that position.

One more chart for your review — an SEC 24/7 recruiting ranking by position group.

Screenshot_2019-08-21 Comparing 24 7 College Football Recruiting Rankings By Position Group

Yeah, Alabama and Georgia are dominant, which is no real surprise, but check out Tennessee.  Overall, it’s not elite, but there’s certainly more talent there than recent history indicates.  In that regard, Auburn’s another example of last year’s record perhaps not indicating the current state of its talent level (which is clearly higher than UT’s).

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UPDATE:  Check out the chart for Florida and Georgia.

Screenshot_2019-08-21 24 7 Composite Rankings Compare NCAA College Football Recruiting

I know Gator fans like to wrap themselves in the comfort that Mullen runs rings around Smart from a coaching standpoint, but with that talent disparity, Dan needs to be the second coming of the Bear and Steve Spurrier rolled into one.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting, SEC Football

Wednesday morning buffet

Mornin’, campers.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Heard About Harbaugh?, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics