Countdown to Football

43 Days

Today ends SEC Media Days.

As the day wraps up, we’ll start hearing predictions from spiky-haired, pencil twisting journalists who think they’ve learned inside information from the coaches in their interviews.

We should join them.

Starting today (mainly next week), the countdown to football will shift from promoting why Auburn is not going to fall into a black hole and focus on previewing and predicting the season.  Please feel free to discuss everything said here as it is all one man’s opinion.

Preseason SEC championship predictions and why:

SEC East – South Carolina
SEC West – LSU

SEC Champion – LSU

The overwhelming favorite to win the SEC is Alabama.  They are stacked top to bottom with talented recruits and NFL-caliber veterans.

But they have two problems.

1.  Inexperienced quarterback.
2.  Difficult schedule.

The schedule isn’t difficult in the sense that they’re going to lose 3 or 4 games.  It’s difficult because breaking in a new quarterback and relying on defense isn’t the best strategy to have.

Alabama will be covered more in depth later on.

Why LSU?

They remind me of 2004 Auburn.  An unproven, shaky quarterback finally being introduced to a new offensive coordinator.  Just as much talent from recruiting as anyone in the country.  Experienced talented receivers.  Experienced, dominant o-line.  Strong, powerful running backs.  And a defense to be feared.

LSU will drop a few games.  I don’t pencil them in as a national champion caliber team because every team in the SEC faces a difficult schedule, and I truly believe most teams will have at least two losses.

But it’s LSU’s start that gives me confidence in them.

They are better than Oregon in Dallas, @Miss State, and @West Virginia.

They will not only be 4-0; they will be 4-0 and carrying the hype to be the #1 in the country after an impressive start.

From there, while possibly exhausted, they get Kentucky and Florida at home.  Kentucky poses no threat at Tiger Stadium, and Muschamp’s maturing Florida team most likely isn’t ready for their second biggest rivalry game of the season which is played in Baton Rouge this year.

This gives LSU plenty of room to handle the remaining tough games (@Tennessee, Auburn, @Alabama, Arkansas).

It’s not a big stretch to say LSU finishes with two losses.  If they can beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, that will give them the boost to get to Atlanta.

South Carolina is well documented as returning the most important starters on their team.

Their schedule is very manageable.  If they can beat Georgia the second week of the season (which I believe they will), they will have a good chance at emerging from the East with two SEC losses.  They don’t have Alabama or LSU on their schedule.  They get Auburn at home.

They do have a tough four game stretch (@Miss State, @Tennessee, @Arkansas, Florida), but they get a bye week between Miss State and Tennessee.

If they can get out of that stretch only losing twice, they’re still in great contention to win the East.

A more in depth preview of other teams will come soon.  However, keep in mind that Florida has a new head coach with a struggling quarterback and a very difficult schedule especially for their inexperience.  Georgia has had a tumultuous offseason, and their first two games of the year have a good chance at ruining their motivation for the season.  Tennessee is still struggling with their depleted roster and Dooley is still very young.  Not to mention, while Tennessee does get many games at home, are they ready to win against @Florida, Georgia, LSU, @Alabama, South Carolina, and @Arkansas?  And are they prepared to only lose two or three of those SEC games?

LSU vs. South Carolina is my preseason prediction based on returning talent, coaching, and schedules.

What’s yours?

43 Days.

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