August 31, 2006

SEC Preview Part Dos

We're continuing from yestersay's SEC West preview, noting that Auburn would be its champion. Onward to the East!

The Wildcats!! Kentucky (4-8, 1-7)

Finishing strong last year with a win over Vanderbilt, Kentucky looked good in flashes, but couldn't put enough together to make a good season. I think much is going to improve this season, including their great running back, Rafael Little. I just think that every other team in the East is going to do better.

Will lose: @Florida, S.Carolina, @LSU, Georgia
Could win: @Louisville, Ole Miss, @MSU, Vanderbilt, @UT
Will win: TX St., Central Mich., LA-Monroe

UK won't beat any of the top-tier SEC teams, but they've got a shot to surprise Lousiville, though I think they'll lose a tight game. They can beat MSU on the road, but that's about it as Ole Miss and Vanderbilt should beat them at home.

The Volunteers!! ut (5-7, 2-6)

Yep, along with Bama, I think that ut will have a disappointing season, the second straight and probably last of Coach Fulmer's career in Knoxville. I just don't trust Eric Ainge enough to lead that offense, and he's given me no reason to do so. They've lost a bit on defense, and when that happens with a 5-6, the next season can't be any good.

Will lose: California, Florida, @S.Carolina, LSU
Could win: Air Force, @Memphis, @UGa, Bama, @Arkansas, @Vanderbilt, @UK
Will win: Marshall

Air Force is always a weird team, either really good or really bad. I think UT will beat them and Memphis early in the season, but I'm not so optimistic after that. What will be an upset win at Georgia will be quickly tempered by loss to Bama, at Arkansas, and at Vanderbilt, before a meaningless win at UK. A very disappointing season indeed, and I think we'll be able to hear the wheels fall off in Knoxville from where I sit in Indianapolis.

The Commodores!! Vanderbilt (7-5, 4-4)

This is where the heart gets in the way of the brain's sensible picks, but I'll make 'em anyway. I think that, despite the absence of Jay Cutler, the Commodores can make a run to a bowl game this season. Coach Bobby Johnson has recruited well, as has been very good about developing talent through extensive red-shirting, and that strategy should reap benefits and surprise a lot of folks this year.

Will lose: @Michigan, S.Carolina
Could win: @Bama, Arkansas, @Ole Miss, @Georgia, Florida, @UK, UT
Will win: Tenn. St., Temple, @Duke

The key to Vandy's season (as it is every season), is winning the close games, and Vandy has a lot of game this year that to me could go either way. I'm expecting a closer game than expected at Michigan (though still a loss), followed by an upset win at Bama. Road wins at Ole Miss and UK lead to Vandy clinching a 4-4 SEC record after beating UT for the second straight season.

The Bulldogs!! Georgia (8-4, 4-4)

After a what seems like a lengthy run at the top of the SEC East, Georgia falls down a bit, through absolutely no fault of their own. The Bulldogs trot out another senior, but first-year starter QB, though it worked well for them last year. I just think that the other two teams in the East have improved too much to Georgia to keep pace with a new QB.

Will lose: None.
Could win: @S.Carolina, UT, Vanderbilt, @Florida, @Auburn, Ga. Tech
Will win: W.Kentucky, UAB, Colorado, @Ole Miss, MSU, @UK

Georgia's good enough to not have any sure losses on the schedule, but there's a lot of potential losses out there. I like their chances against Vanderbilt and Ga. Tech, but I have a feeling that UT can upset the Dawgs in Athens, and the brutal road games at S.Carolina, @Florida, and @Auburn should keep them from the top -- I'm guessing they lose all three games.

The Gamecocks!! South Carolina (10-2, 7-1)

Here comes Spurrier! Give him two years with a college quarterback, and lets see what the Fun'n'Gun can do. I think the Cocks can make a great splash this season, similar to what they did in Holtz's second season as well. We should see a lot of big things, including what will be called a monumental upset.

Will lose: None.
Could win: Georgia, Auburn, UT, Arkansas, @Florida, @Clemson
Will win: @MSU, Wofford, FAU, @UK, @Vanderbilt, MTSU

I said it yesterday -- Auburn will be upset by the Gamecocks, as will Georgia. UT and Arkansas should be close, but S.Carolina wins there are hardly upsets these days. I think they'll lose to Florida, and be severely let down by losing to arch-rival Clemson as well.

The Gators!! Florida (12-0, 8-0)

Another second year head coach is about to earn his pay. Urban Meyer went undefeated in '04 at Utah, and I think he's going to do the same at Florida in '06. Chris Leak is a stud senior with competition lighting a fire under his feet in Gainesille, and could be a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy by the end of the season. Florida has a BRUTAL schedule, but great times win big games, and I think Florida has the horses to pull it off this season.

Will lose: None.
Could win: @UT, LSU, @Auburn, Georgia, @Vanderbilt, S.Carolina, @FSU
Will win: So. Miss., Central Fla., UK, Bama, W.Carolina

Told you it was brutal -- I still don't think they lose a one of those games. Playing LSU and at Auburn ion back-to-back weeks will be tough, but that's college football these days. They'll have a week off before hosting Georgia, so they should be ok there. Vandy's a slight question mark as I'm sure there are a lot of players that remember the '05 Screw-Job-in-Gainesville, but I'm not sure if Vandy can hold the Gators this year. They'll beat Spurrier as he comes back to the Swamp, and should win (in overtime) against a great FSU squad.

There you have it -- this year, the SEC is Gator Bait. Florida beats Auburn yet again in the SEC Championship game and goes on to beat Ohio State in the BCS Championship game, despite being a double-digit underdog.

I'll keep track throughout the year to see how well I picked 'em. The first game starts tonight, and should be the first of S.Carolina's many wins this season. Enjoy the games, and welcome back to football season!!


At 3:30 AM, Blogger EdnaPontellierProdigy said...

someones mascot is really 'the volunteers'??? how threatening is that?



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