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MrSEC.com’s 2011 SEC Predictions

When you sit down to make predictions for an upcoming football season, you tell yourself repeatedly, “all things being equal.”  What we know, however, from past experience in the SEC is that rarely are all things equal.

Great teams don’t play like great teams every week.  Bad teams don’t play like bad teams every week.  A rain storm, an early fumble, a sprained ankle or a hard-to-predict kick return for a touchdown can result in a win for a undermanned team and a loss for a superior squad.

In other words, it’s folly to make predictions.  We have no idea if there’s another Cam Newton lurking somewhere out there in the weeds.  (If there is, let’s hope there’s not another Cecil Newton to go with him.)  We have no way of projecting that a team like South Carolina might upend Alabama one week and then come crashing back to earth with a loss at Kentucky the next (which happened last year).

So with all those caveats and “don’t take this as gospel” warnings now on the record, here are our official MrSEC.com predictions for the 2011 SEC football season:


SEC East

Proj. Finish
School
Proj. SEC Record
1
S. Carolina
6-2
2t
Georgia
5-3
2t
Florida
5-3
4
Tennessee
3-5
5
Kentucky
2-6
6
Vanderbilt
1-7




We were thisclose to picking Georgia as the East Division favorite, but all those injuries, transfers and dismissals of the past six months kept leaping to mind.  UGA has little depth at running back and along the offensive line.  That means Aaron Murray will likely have to shoulder more than his fair share of the load.  This year, he’ll have to do that without AJ Green.  So we’ll go with the talent and experience of South Carolina.  And, yes, that means we’re going to ignore the enormous question mark that is Stephen Garcia.


SEC West

Proj. Finish
School
Proj. SEC Record
1
Alabama
7-1
2
LSU
6-2
3
Arkansas
5-3
4t
Miss. State
3-5
4t
Ole Miss
3-5
6
Auburn
2-6




In our view, LSU actually has the better team.  While no one — aside from Les Miles — has much praise for Jordan Jefferson, at least the Tigers know who their starting quarterback is.  Alabama does not.  And that could be huge problem.  Top to bottom, you could make a good case that Bama has more holes and question marks than LSU.  But Bama also has Nick Saban.  And while Les Miles got the better of him last year, if forced to pick between the two, the folks at this site will put our money on Saban, not The Hat.  Hard to imagine a whole year going by without one “how’d they lose that one?” game for Miles and his Tigers.

One quick note about Auburn — when the defending national champs are picked to finish last in their division it says a lot about the conference.  It also says a lot about all the talent the Tigers lost this offseason.  Newton for one.  Nick Fairley for another.  And as angry as that 2-6 prediction will make Auburn fans, the Tigers finished just 3-5 and tied for last place in Gene Chizik’s only other year on The Plains without SuperCam.  The Tigers have recruited well and will be back, but we expect a Texas-like tumble for the new-look Plainsmen in 2011.

As for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, we’ll take Alabama to get past South Carolina.  While we expect USC to play better in its second title game, we don’t think — on paper — that they’ll be able to knock off the Crimson Tide.  The three best teams in the West look to be the three best teams in the league.

So what does all this mean for Alabama?  Ever heard the term “kiss of death?”

 


24 comments
J Sewell
J Sewell

South Carolina is about to embark on a multi-year beat down of the entire SEC. They return the best line in the SEC period, both sides of the ball. Their D-line is going to feast on offenses like Lions chasing wounded buffalo. The offense is going to be absolutely sickening behind a veteran offensive line. Trying to somehow ignore the obvious is simply delusional. They will beat UGA for the third straight year. The other shoe has finally dropped and UGA can now climb into the backseat of the SEC East and take their seat next to Kentucky and Vandy. Its been coming for a long time. You knew it was coming although you denied it, hoped it would not happen, ignored the obvious signs of its coming. The past ten years, all those close games. Holtz came so close to three in a row and Now Spurrier will emphatically slam the door on this rivalry. Last year South Carolina was not ready to face Auburn in the SEC title game. This year they will be very ready and the result will be very different. South Carolina will play for and win its first national championship in Football.

Chism'sHeadband
Chism'sHeadband

As far as the SEC East goes, it's going to be a tight race.

USC has the best shot, no major changes from last year's 8-4 campaign. If anything, they'll probably be marginally better. In my opinion, their schedule sets them up to start out at least 6-0, before they go to MSU and then UT. I really wouldn't be surprised if they post a 10-win regular season.

UGA's defense seemed to get a lot better last year, but their main concern is along the O-line, depth at RB, and AJ Green's replacement. Not ideal for a young QB, even one as good as Murray. Those offensive concerns scare me into thinking they'll go 6-6 or 7-5.

UF is going to have a brand new coach. And while I think they're still loaded with talent overall, they're really thinexperienced in their secondary, which could cause problems (hopefully against Bray, Hunter, and DaRick... had to throw that one in). I expect Brantley to improve slightly, but the fact that they've got two spread RB's in a pro-style offense with an inexperienced O-line doesn't bode well. I'm not too optimistic about Muschamp's debut season, like UGA, a 6 or 7-win season with a bowl berth.

I hope my bias doesn't get in the way of level-headed reasoning for UT's season. I really like our offense. I think our line will be much stronger than last year (after last year, there's no way to go but up), and that will help Poole to another 1000-yard season. Bray is strong. I don't want to hear about a horrific Spring game, because going back to last year, he still played really well against both UGA (although that was garbage time) and USC (he made it a ball game in the second half). Our questions lie in the defense. I like our starters along the D-line but we have ZERO depth, and we might as well bring in subs from the student section for our LB corps. I think our secondary will be pretty strong, though, and that may mean we gamble. I wouldn't be surprised to see us get some picks but also get burned. Weak OOC and another brutal October means a 7-5 season.

I'm not even going to post about UK or Vandy. What's the point?

WillieP
WillieP

Ole Miss over MSU in Starkville...come get real. I think State wins by at least 2 touchdowns. What 3 sec wins do you have MSU winning?

icesport
icesport

MSU beats auburn ole miss Kentucky SC and Ga loses to ark bama and lsu

Scott Reppond
Scott Reppond

Your predictions are too funny and as usual the typical Bammer hate and wish that Aubbie would do bad is prejudiced. I'm no Auburn fan by no means, but I am not blind to the fact that they have been doing some serious recruiting over the last couple of years. They are going to be alot tougher than people think. It's also a yearly ritual for the Tide to be picked number one as it seems that Bammer thinks they own college football. Without the accomplishments of the Bear whom is no longer with Bammer(although I don't think Bammer realizes this), their program would not be what it is. The fictitious 13 titles which is in reality 8 is another delusion that Bammer tells themselves, but noone else seems to buy.

But moving on, it seems most have Bama to win the West and SC the East. Sorry, I don't agree with either. I say Bama is in serious trouble as they don't have a true leader to guide them at the qb position. They will crumble as they did last season. The West will be won by either Auburn(whom everyone is underestimating), Arknasas, or LSU. South Carolina won by a fluke last season in the East and no they will not repeat. The East will be won by either FL, GA, or TN. South Carolina will finish in their normal respective place of fourth or fifth in the East as usual. The East may still be rebuilding, but they are much stronger than they were last season. SC does not and will not repeat as SEC East Champions again anytime soon.

I really like it when writers are not biased in their opinions which is obviously you being a Bama fan that you were not in reference to this column. I'm no Auburn fan, but I don't allow my dislike of them to make predictions based on bs rather than fact!

JDD
JDD

Love the Auburn prediction....can't wait to see you fall on your own sword.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

JDD...

Fall on my sword? It was a prediction. I explained the rationale and I also said that Auburn has recruited so well that it will be back. Have we somehow hurt your feelings?

I've come to the conclusion that anyone who gets mad over a list of predictions -- that the author clearly states are about as accurate as throwing darts blindfolded -- has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old.

If you can't read predictions without getting mad, you probably shouldn't be reading sports websites in the first place. Life's too short.

John

Wise
Wise

John

What 3 SEC games do see Ole Miss winning?

Vol Guest
Vol Guest

Hard to argue with these picks. Watching TN closely, I tend to think TN will finish at least 3rd in the east (possibly even 2nd with a few breaks), although I'm not sure who they might supplant in front of them. There's just a lot of good things going on there, plus TN was two historically freaky plays away from being 8-5 instead of 6-7, not to mention the team was a disaster at the beginning of the season. However, John, I totally agree with you that it will be Dooley's third, and I think fourth season when TN will have a chance to contend for the SEC.

Jeff
Jeff

"But Bama also has Nick Saban" = Saban is God
John you truly crack me up! Keep writing this is good stuff. Some times I think you may be a fellow Bama man : )

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Jeff...

If you can name me another coach since World War II who has won national titles with two different schools -- both of which that he built up -- then I'll back off my praise for Nick Saban.

Until then, he's the best coach in the country in my book. (And in most other people's books.)

John

Dan
Dan

Make sure you don't "lose" these awesome predictions during the year. You need to come repost this after 6 games and see how they are holding up. I predict Auburn goes at least 4-4 in conference. You pointed out that AU only went 3-5 during the Chizik's first year, but that was before getting two consecutive Top 5 recruiting classes and being crippled with TT's players who couldn't run Malzhan's offense.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Dan...

There's not much value in reposting them. I've put them on the record. And I've also stated that they're most likely worthless. Just the our opinion here at the site.

Never understood why people take predictions so seriously. Would Auburn fans have had more fun last year had everyone picked the Tigers to win the national title?

They're just picks.

Thanks for reading the site,
John

paulovol0
paulovol0

Negative, ghost rider, Vols 4-4 in the SEC no Bueno. This is, however, the state of UT football.

Matt
Matt

Why do you feel Tennessee will finish 3-5? Is it just a safe bet because alot of unknowns. Or they 're just not that good of a team and years away from being contenders in the east. Just want to know what you have to say about them.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Matt...

As you noted, there are a lot of question marks and little depth -- at least on paper. The SEC coaches put 2 Vols on their All-SEC team and that was a smaller number than any other school in the conference. Year Three is the year Derek Dooley should start making progress. If he can get the Vols to .500 and a bowl this year, he'll have done a solid job.

Thanks for reading the site,
John

Cal
Cal

Tennessee will be fine. If Dooley could get that mess of a team (and one of the youngest in the country) to 6-6 and a bowl game last season, I think somewhere around 8-4 or 7-5 is what should be expected. I would say 4-4 in the SEC.

Doc Johnson
Doc Johnson

Is 4-4 in the SEC fine at Tennessee now?

Vol Guest
Vol Guest

Doc - TN fans should be happy with an 8-4 year in 2011 because it is short-term and immediate progress, but don't confuse that with the ultimate, long-term goal of getting back to winning championships. 4-4 in the SEC is never the long-term goal, but TN simply must be realistic in the interim. What would you say if a TN fan said he or she would be disappointed with anything less than a 10-2 season in 2011? You'd laugh. So don't be critical if TN is happy with short-term progress or think the expectations have changed.

Bobby
Bobby

UGA? Really? I'm still trying to figure out why they are the media darling this year? I'm no Gator fan, but I believe that the Gators will finish well ahead of UGA. I don't see the dawgs beating Tennessee or Florida. As you wrote, they have little offensive line depth and no A.J. Green and lost to UCF in their bowl game with an Offensive Line and A.J. Green. Last I checked, Florida beat a strong Penn State squad in their bowl game and still has an offensive line and we know what to expect when the Gators and Dawgs meet in Jacksonville every season. Also are the Dawgs really talented enough to beat the Gamecocks? I got three losses right there. UF, SC, @UT. I guess you guys are expecting Crowell (minus an Offensive Line) to be the next Marcus Lattimore (who had a veteran offensive line)? Also, you may want to look at UGA's last couple of visits to Neyland Stadium when the Dawgs were by far the more talented team.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Read more of “MrSEC.com’s 2011 SEC Predictions” on MrSEC.com 7.20.11 [...]

  2. [...] going to take a different tack.  One conference, one season, 25 lines.Besides, we already posted our own predictions for the SEC season way back before Media Days.  (And long before Jordan Jefferson’s arrest, too.)So without [...]



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