Over the past several years, the only question to be settled in the final BCS standings is who would get killed by the SEC in the championship game. I suspect this year is going to be different, not that the SEC will be weaker, to the contrary, the SEC will beat up on each other producing some really great games but very likely poorer records.
The good press and the avalanche of money that has come as a result of the string of national championships has allowed the SEC member schools to build outstanding facilities, expand the stadiums and break season ticket sales records. It has also helped recruiting at every school. Everybody is pretty darn good compared to the rest of the country which is a positive. The problem is that now almost any SEC team can beat any other team on a given Saturday. I’m afraid this is the year that we will reap the adverse side of success and everybody will be beating everybody else.
If my prediction of mutual destruction in the SEC proves accurate, then the national race will take on more importance than just producing a victim for the championship game. I chose to use the Sporting News rankings, no particular reason, just seem to like them. They are picking a SEC team to win all the marbles again, this time it’s LSU, led by their on-again-off-again quarterback Jordan Jefferson and the mad hatter of college football, Les Miles.
In order to fulfill that prediction, the Bengal Tigers only need to slip by the entire SEC West. They do catch a break on the SEC East teams that they catch on this year’s rotation (they don’t have to play #16 South Carolina which will help them get to Atlanta). They could have a problem with Arkansas and Alabama, but who knows.
The Big Ten now has twelve teams and a playoff game, while the Big Twelve now has ten teams and the Pac Ten is now the Pac Twelve. I just couldn’t care much less try to keep up with them. Most pollsters are picking Oklahoma to be the eventual National Champion and I suspect they have a pretty good shot at it. They’ll probably play a Pac Twelve team in the BCS final. Whoop-de-doo!
Let’s move on to the SEC where I do care and do try to keep up. I have two predictions to make. Auburn will not be nearly as good as they think they are, and Ole Miss will finish the year ranked somewhere above their pre-season 73rd.
I am basing Auburn’s disappointment on the fact that they may be starting a true freshman at quarterback in a league that is usually very unkind to quarterbacks in general and freshman in particular. The Plainsmen will have plenty of talent at all other positions, and if the kid behind the center can come through, they will compete for the West.
I just can’t believe that the Mississippi Black Bears will end up 73rd in the nation. They have Houston Nutt, who I personally hope continues to coach there forever, and according to their press releases, they are coming off two great recruiting years. While I believe they will do much better than 73rd in the nation, they may have trouble digging out of the cellar in the SEC West. But then they pride themselves on a national reputation, so I guess they can live with that.
Those are the extent of my predictions other than to say again, every team in the SEC West will probably be better than they were last year, and will probably have a worse won-loss record. There you have it. Let the games begin.