Well it’s time for college football fans of the south (and some other fans scattered across North America) to start rubbing one out since I am about to talk about the SE Mother Fucking C. The conference of conferences. The one that all other conferences aspire to. See it made me so happy to see a non-SEC team win last year. It made it so some of the people who pushed the SEC as the only relevant conference had to come down a few notches. I am not saying that the SEC isn’t the best conference in college football because it totally is and will be for at least a few more years. I just like seeing teams in other conferences get their shot against the big boys. Alright that’s my rant for the day. Prediction time!
- South Carolina Gamecocks (7-1 conference, 11-1 overall) – This could be the year everything comes together for the Cocks. The Head Ball Coach has had this team firing on almost all cylinders since he showed up in Columbia. But now he needs to move this team forward and the next step is definitely the College Football Playoff. Don’t be surprised if he pulls it off.
- Georgia Bulldogs (7-1 conference, 10-2 overall) – There should be no talk of firing Mark Richt this season. He will have the Dawgs in contention all year. They have a quarterback to replace record-setter Aaron Murray and of course Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, arguably the best running back combo in college football this season. One thing will keep this team from the SEC Championship…a trip to Columbia to face South Carolina.
- Florida Gators (5-3 conference, 8-4 overall) – WILL MUSCHAMP! should be a bit relieved after this season is over. He is on a serious hot seat this season and winning eight games is about the minimum he needs to do to keep his job. But with a relatively easy conference schedule (by SEC standards at least) and a VERY easy non-conference sked (not counting the Noles), they should be able to make some noise again in the SEC East.
- Missouri Tigers (3-5 conference, 5-7 overall) – OK don’t get on my case about giving the Tigers no love. They lose steady quarterback James Franklin and super linebacker Michael Sam and there is no way they shock SEC country (and the rest of the college football world) like they did last season. I am going out on a limb by saying Florida and Tennessee will be better this season, and it has to be at someone’s expense. Unfortunately that team will be Gary Pinkel’s Mizzou.
- Vanderbilt Commodores (2-6 conference, 6-6 overall) – They will miss James Franklin. A lot. However, let’s give Derek Mason some credit. He was a genius at Stanford. And he should be able to bring some of that west coast swagger to Nashville. They will have a hell of a time inside the conference, but they have a stupidly easy non-conference sked that will allow them to keep their bowl game streak alive.
- Tennessee Volunteers (2-6 conference, 4-8 overall) – Remember when I said the Vols would be improved? They will be. They also will be a victim of what could be one of the most brutal schedules in the nation this season. On top of a tough SEC sked (at Georgia, at Ole Miss, at South Carolina, also getting Alabama out of the west) they start against Utah State, Arkansas State, and Oklahoma. I think they will win one of those three but that could be the best case scenario. Poor Butch Jones. He deserves better.
- Kentucky Wildcats (0-8 conference, 3-9 overall) – Speaking of deserving better, Mark Stoops is watching the rest of the conference either stay the same or get better. Yes the Cats are improving, but in the SEC that isn’t nearly enough. They are still at least a season away from contending for a bowl game and hopefully they give Bobby’s little brother time to make it happen in Lexington because, amazingly enough, there are some people there who don’t eat, breathe, sleep, and shit college basketball.
- Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1 conference, 11-1 overall) – Roll Tide! Evil Nick Saban will have his boys back and ready to battle after the crushing way their season ended last year (Prayer at Jordan-Hare II followed by letting Team Stoops walk all over them in the Sugar). I see them slipping up once during the season and there are a bevy of games where it could happen. Either way, it won’t be enough to keep them from going to Atlanta in early December.
- Auburn Tigers (6-2 conference, 10-2 overall) – Last season should be enough to give older Tiger fans heart attacks. They played in three of the most exciting games in the year and almost won all of them. Don’t expect any miracles this year but expect Auburn to stay near the top with the best QB in the conference (Nick Marshall) returning to run Gus Malzahn’s stellar offense.
- LSU Tigers (5-3 conference, 9-3 overall) – Les Miles might overdose on grass this year as it’s the kind of year that can go many ways. I see a lot of close games and again, it’s the conference schedule that will trip up the Tigers this year, especially with difficult road games on the plains and in the Swamp. If they can somehow win a game or two that they won’t be favoured in (and start the year off with a bang by beating Wisky), then they have an outside shot at the CFP.
- Ole Miss Rebels (5-3 conference, 9-3 overall) – It’s the same thing we have heard for a few years now…Hugh Freeze has this team on the cusp of something big. Many thought that 2014 would be the year it all comes together. And if it wasn’t for the overall strength of just the division (let alone the conference) I would agree. I think they are a year off from true national title contention.
- Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-4 conference, 8-4 overall) – Speaking of something many experts are waiting for, it’s this; that the Bulldogs will eventually fall back to the basement. Luckily for the Bulldogs they still have a very underrated head coach in Dan Mullen and a Heisman darkhorse in Dak Prescott. Oh, and they have a pretty damn easy non-conference sked with South Alabama being the only true threat.
- Texas A&M Aggies (3-5 conference, 7-5 overall) – If any Aggies fans ever read this blog (not bloody likely) they would crucify me over putting the Aggies sixth in the west. But remember…they lost the one thing that made them so dynamic in John Q. Football. Saying that, if Kyle Allen gets the starting job, expect the Aggies to make a good run next season after he gets a season to acclimate to the toughest division in college football.
- Arkansas Razorbacks (0-8 conference, 2-10 overall) – You think Bret Bielema wishes he was back in Madison? I think he kind of does. He would never admit it but nothing has gone right in Fayetteville since he showed up and it isn’t really his fault. I am very interested to see how much patience administration has in him if he can’t turn it around but with the SEC West being the SEC West, don’t expect any miracles this season.
My pick for the conference championship game might not be the popular pick. Saying that I think it’s time for a new team to ascend to the top. That team is the South Carolina Gamecocks. It’s high time Spurrier brought this team to national prominence since they have always been on the cusp of doing something amazing and they fall short. This year won’t be that year as I see them beating the Tide in a great SEC Championship game and going to the College Football Playoff.