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Fearless Predictions: 5 Things That Will Not Happen In The SEC This Fall

crystal_ball_swamiIt’s July.  I’m still on a semi-vacation.  I don’t want to spoil my few remaining hours of peace with a column that’s going to bring negativity into my life.

But next week is SEC Media Days.  That means it’s full-on prediction time across the Southeastern Conference and predictions bring — you guessed it — negativity into my life (by way of comments, emails, and tweets).

I’d love to be able to pick 14 schools to win the league this year, but that’s not going to happen.  So I’ll just call it like I see it.  And I suspect you’ll do the same.

Oh, and I’ll make these predictions knowing full well that picks and prognostications made at this point in the year are usually straight-up folly.  Last July, did anyone see some kid named Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman?  And wasn’t everyone predicting Missouri to have an easier entry into the SEC than Texas A&M?  You get the point.

Still, here goes with five fearless predictions of things that will not happen in the SEC this fall:

 

1.  Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel will not have as much success this season. 

In between tweets and red carpet appearances, the Aggie quarterback has reportedly spent part of his offseason working on his passing game.  With legs like Doug Flutie, Manziel became the most exciting player in college football last season.  A&M’ers must be thinking, “Imagine if he further develops his arm!”  But Manziel’s legs are what made him so special last season.  Twice last year SEC teams used a “mush rush” against those legs.  And both Florida and LSU were able to keep Manziel in the pocket as a result, which in turn allowed both teams to hang losses on the Aggies.  In a defensive-minded conference, it’s likely that the opposing coaches on Texas A&M’s schedule this year have spent much of their offseason studying tape from those Florida and LSU games last year.  Manziel and A&M should be very good, but we don’t see another Heisman or 11-win season in the cards.  (One side prediction: As soon as Texas A&M loses a game this year, expect the media to pepper Manziel with questions about his offseason activities.  He doesn’t seem to be the type to bite his tongue, does he?  So there could be fireworks on the field and off at College Station in 2013.)

 

2.  Florida will not beat Georgia this year.

This past May, Gator coach Will Muschamp made some headlines by telling a Florida booster club that Georgia’s current winning streak over UF is “not going to be a long winning streak.”  At MrSEC.com, we filed that one under “What’s a coach supposed to tell his team’s fans?”  That said, Georgia’s two-game win streak over the Gators will indeed be extended by at least one more year when the Dawgs knock off their rivals in Jacksonville this fall.  Mind you, UGA hasn’t won three in a row in this series since 1987, 1988, and 1989.  Like my high school days, that was a long time ago.  But Georgia’s offense should be one of the most potent in the SEC this year.  Until Florida’s offense begins to thrive under Muschamp, I won’t be picking the reptiles to hang with the canines on the scoreboard.

 

3.  Gary Pinkel will not win enough to keep boosters off his tail at Missouri.

First things first, Pinkel completely turned around the Mizzou football program.  To let him go so soon into the Tigers’ SEC transition would be a mistake in our view.  But this is the Southeastern Conference and Tiger fans will prove they belong this fall by yelping for their coach’s noggin.  MU needs James Franklin to stay healthy and return to his 2011 form.  The Tigers need Dorial Green-Beckham to live up to his hype.  The offensive and defensive lines will need to improve (minus D-tackle Sheldon Richardson).  On and on.  Need, need, need.  There are just too many needs.  If Pinkel proves this fall that he can win games without a roster filled with blue-chip recruits — a la Bobby Petrino — fine.  But that’s doubtful.  And his recruiting this year isn’t working in his favor.  Here’s betting Pinkel will either get the boot at year’s end or enter 2014 on the hottest of hot seats.  (Don’t forget this either: Being a bit of a grump is fine when you’re winning.  Having an ornery personality works against a man when the losses start to mount.)

 

4.  Alabama will not win the SEC this season.

Yes, Nick Saban is the best coach in college sports today.  Yes, Alabama returns quite a bit from last year’s SEC/BCS-title winning squad.  And, yes, the schedule — at least as it looks in July — is favorable.  But winning back to back crowns requires some good bounces and positive breaks.  It requires a carry-over in team chemistry and motivation.  Bama proved that it could go back-to-back on the national stage in 2011 and 2012 (though not in 2009 and 2010).  But the Crimson Tide didn’t win the SEC championship in 2011.  UA finished second to LSU in its own division that season, proving that it’s easier to win a BCS title than it is to capture the SEC’s crown.  Another note to remember: The Southeastern Conference has not had back-to-back champions since Tennessee turned the trick way back in 1997 and 1998 at the dawn of the BCS era.  Alabama is just about everyone’s favorite to win the conference in 2013, but history suggests that the odds are really against the Tide.

 

5.  The SEC will not win the BCS championship this season.

Hey, the streak has to end at some point.  After seven consecutive national championships, the BCS age will end with a team from another league hoisting that crystal football.  Ohio State appears to have the best shot at besting an SEC foe in this year’s Pasadena-based title game.  Buckeye coach Urban Meyer has more speed on his roster than any other squad in the Big Ten.  That should be good enough to propel OSU into the BCS Championship Game where Meyer will likely face a coach and team he’s familiar with, be it Saban and Alabama, Les Miles and LSU, Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Mark Richt and Georgia, etc, etc.  The bottom line is this: Ohio State should easily march through its own league to the BCS title game and there — against an SEC squad — Meyer will have an advantage over all the other coaches who’ve tried to beat a Southeastern Conference squad in the season’s final game.  He’ll have knowledge of what it takes to win in the SEC.

 

Tomorrow: Five fearless predictions of things that will happen this fall in the SEC.

 

 

 


17 comments
InTheBox
InTheBox

Sorry, gotta disagree in part on 3. You have to consider the insane injury situation in Columbia last year, and how close MU played against Georgia and Florida, both very close games, they lost to Vandy with the real QB on the bench. This team wins at least 7 and goes to a bowl game this year.
But you're right about one thing, Mizzou fans will grumble, it's what Mizzou fans do. If MU goes 14-0 and wins the championship fans will complain about the tires on the team bus. So, in that way, they fit right in with SEC society. Tiger fans aren't ever happy unless they're miserable.

HillbillywillieThoma
HillbillywillieThoma

Me thinks no SEC team finishes the regular season undefeated.

Me thinks the SEC East champ will win the SEC.

Me thinks the SEC will not send a team to the BCSNCG because there will be two undefeated teams finish ahead of the SEC champ (The SEC will finish 3rd,4th,& 5th in the final BCS poll.)

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

Interesting set of predictions.  I have to disagree with #5 as well.  I think if any program around the country is going to knock off the SEC champ it's going to be Oregon or another talent laden team that runs an up-tempo offense.  Oregon might have a rebuilding year this year, but the transition shouldn't take long with most of that staff being intact.  I might also cast a vote for an undefeated FSU team depending on how much progress they make.  I don't think the streak is going to end this year, but I think those are the programs that have a legitimate shot.

Jobillybob
Jobillybob

I still don't buy into the "mush rush" theory on Manziel. Against Florida, which was his first game in college, he refused to throw the ball downfield. If he had, that may have force them to back off like every other team, including 'Bama. One team had success against him, and that was LSU. But they forced or Manziel committed 3 picks. Fact is, there is no formula for beating Manziel. Lord knows Oklahoma had plenty of time to scheme a mush rush, but it didn't work.

j_scott_o
j_scott_o

@Jobillybob And, speaking of "mush rush"...I'm sure that Sumlin et al are just going to sit around and not scheme for this defensive tactic.  And, as you mentioned, Florida was the 1st game for a lot of things A&M (Manziel's, Sumlin's at A&M, Snyder at A&M, SEC, offensive, defensive schemes, etc).  The playbook will be wide open for Manziel this year.  And, as for LSU, it was more of A&M losing that game than the Tigers winning.  One of Manziel's turnovers in particular should have been a catch for a HUGE gain, instead, it richoted off the receiver's hands for an easy INT.  Missed FGs, PAT, etc.  Don't look for a repeat there.  I do like how everyone is saying Manziel is distracted.  As if players on other teams are preparing 24x7 while Manziel is only preparing 1 hour a week.

Tusk
Tusk

I would substitute Braxton Miller as the QB in your first prediction, Bucks lose at least two.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'm with you on every one except for #5.  At this point, I'm simply not going to pick against the SEC until after the streak is over.  Also, I think the relative weakness of the B1G schedule will work against OSU come crunch time.  He may be running an SEC style program but his squad won't be toughened by playing an SEC caliber slate of games.

OBXnoworries
OBXnoworries

I'll take #5 for 500 Alex.  I don't understand the Urban Meyer hype.  His team was incredibly fortunate in 2012 against some pretty ordinary competition (+6 in close games is rare).  Sure, with the hands-down worst schedule of any contender, he _should_ go undefeated, but I doubt it.  The lucky streak will end.  And even if it doesn't, his team won't be battle hardened. His team won't be able to hold up after our champ has had 5 or so weeks to heal.

alamoaggie08
alamoaggie08

what a negative nellie ;-).  i guess my one question would be if florida and lsu beat johhny by keeping him in the pocket and forcing him to throw, then wouldn't the aspect of him working to improve that part of his game be seen as a good thing that could lead to more success?  it's like system basketball: trapping the perimeter shooters opens the post and vice seversa.  if he can become an elite thrower (which he boderline is), keeping him in the pocket (which would likely require an extra body or two) opens up receivers.  keeping receivers covered opens up the running lanes.  i guess my point is making him pass more with less scrambles doesn't mean he'll be less successful (assuming he improves), just more normal to the average viewer.

OsManthus
OsManthus like.author.displayName 1 Like

Am I the only one who interpreted the introduction to the list to mean that the 5 predictions WOULD come true,  i.e (the following will not happen: the dog will not catch the cat) = the dog will catch the cat?

jjakubik3
jjakubik3

 1 out of 5 isn't bad, you got #3 right


MissouriAlum
MissouriAlum

Hi John! I hope for a better season then last and no doubt, Coach Pinkle has improved the state of Missouri football from its ultimate depths of despair. That said, chances seem at least above average for an unimpressive win total and I think you neglected one face saving option for Pinkle, retirement, which would have a number of pluses for him and the University moving forward. We’ll see how the season plays out and as a Missouri Alum, I’m hoping for the best, but realistic.

Roger Podacter
Roger Podacter

Man, love the site, but these ads are worse than getting pushed off of a Miami hotel balcony, then having a pet detective come behind you and solve the case before the cops do. Maybe only do the ads on some of the pieces? Again, great site.

TruancyBot
TruancyBot

@Roger Podacter I only see 1 ad at the top right of the page.  You may be infected with spyware.

Roger Podacter
Roger Podacter

@TruancyBot @Roger Podacter Nosir, before I can read the article it makes me watch an ad, Youtube style. Once I watch the ad, then I can read the story. Einhorn or Finkle? Finkle or Einhorn?

mb6783
mb6783

Thats a gutsy column. I would hate to be the one sifting through your emails.

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