If you’re looking for interesting pre-season SEC West predictions, And the Valley Shook has one right here.
Their prediction model uses recruiting rankings plus games played by returning players to fashion a pretty interesting result:
Alabama ranks first in overall talent of roster and 3rd and 4th respectively in experience returning on offense and defense. Here’s the final tallies with each team ranked from 1st – 7th in each category (Composite Star, Composite Rating, Offensive Experience and Defensive Experience):
Team Score Bama 9 Auburn 13 State 14 A&M 16 LSU 16 Ole Miss 16 Arkansas 28
So, there you have it. Alabama will claim the West, Auburn will finish 2nd and State 3rd, while A&M, LSU, and Ole Miss battle for 4th.
No one would argue a whole lot with predicting Alabama or Auburn to finish either first or second in the league, but not many folks are lining up to pick State at third. And really, lumping three teams together at spots 4-6 isn’t going out on much of a pre-season limb.
The analysis itself is interesting, though. Alabama ranks at the top of most every position group (as determined by recruiting rankings) which isn’t a surprise and, interestingly, Mississippi State returns the most games played on offense and defense of any team in the West.