My SEC East preview is here. I predict an 11-1 South Carolina squad will make it to Atlanta for the title game. Who will they play? Let’s take a look and see.
6) Auburn (4-8, 1-7) – It’s not easy to put the defending national champions here, but I think it’s where they land. They have the perfect storm of negative factors: six returning starters (three each on offense and defense), a rebuilt offensive line, no Cam Newton, a difficult schedule and a target on their back as the result of being the defending national champions and a lot of close losses along they way last year. Things should pick back up for the Tigers next year.
5) Mississippi State (6-6, 3-5) It’s always supposed to be the year the Bulldogs break out. This year is no different, but I don’t see it happening. In fact, I see the Dan Mullen’s dogs taking a step back this year as they finish the regular season with a loss to Ole Miss at home.
4) Mississippi (7-5, 4-4) Expectations are down for Houston Nutt’s Rebels and his teams always seem to thrive in these situations. They’ll battle Mississippi State for the fourth spot in the West and earn it with an Egg Bowl win in Starkville.
3) LSU (9-3, 6-2) I know, this is a shocker and it doesn’t even factor in potential suspensions related to a preseason bar brawl. An opening loss to the Oregon Ducks, an upset shocker in Knoxville and a heartbreaking loss to Arkansas in the season finale drop the Tigers to third in the West.
2) Arkansas (10-2, 6-2) The Razorbacks are without Ryan Mallett, DJ Williams and Knile Davis (injury) this year, but Bobby Petrino’s squad returns enough talent to make them a dark horse national title contender. Bama and South Carolina hand the Hogs their only losses this year.
1) Alabama (11-1, 7-1) The Tide is loaded and only inexperience at quarterbacks keeps this team from an undefeated season. The Tide stumbles late at home against LSU, but still heads to Atlanta to play the Gamecocks in the SEC Championship Game.