Well, here we are in early August, and the tension is building as the opening weekend of the 2015 College Football Seasons approaches. Ohio State is poised to defend its throne as 2014 National Champion against the likes of Oregon, TCU, Baylor and Ole Miss. No, that’s not a typo and I didn’t misspell Alabama. I’m convinced that this is going to be the Rebel’s magic year.
The Red & Blue will have seventeen returning starters — nine on offense and eight on defense — and there are at least four superstars included. Laquan Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil will be returning from season ending injuries, and they will be joined by Evan Engram at tight end. All of this offensive firepower will be led by highly touted Clemson transfer, Chad Kelly at quarterback. The veteran defensive unit is anchored by All World lineman, Robert Nkemdiche. (Spell check is going wild, it keeps shouting re-calculate, re-calculate.)
2015 will be the culmination of four top ten recruiting years for Coach Hugh, who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to attract 5 Star talents to the little school in the Grove. In addition to having a full larder of proven talent, Ole Miss is blessed with a favorable schedule. They open with UT Martin and Fresno State at home, before traveling to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama. Ole Miss beat the Tide last year in Oxford, and this year Alabama is trying to find its footing. Playing Bama early, before they figure it all out, is a real advantage.
The lackluster Vanderbilt Commodores will visit Vaught Hemingway the last Saturday in September, and Ole Miss should finish the first third of their schedule undefeated and moving up in the National Rankings. Ole Miss will be a heavy favorite in the next four games. They will easily beat the battered and bruised Florida Gators, and hammer New Mexico, Memphis and a struggling Texas A&M. By the final four games, the Rebels should be 8–0 and in the Top Five.
Again, the final four games should be easily winnable. By this point Auburn will have been revealed as the disappointment of the season, LSU and Arkansas will be struggling for a sixth bowl win, and the cellar dwelling MSU Bulldogs will pose no problem to the Big Red & Blue juggernaut and its land shark defense.
A win against the SEC East Champion will propel the Reb’s into the playoffs for the National Championship, and if there is any justice in College Football, they will get a chance to take another shot at TCU. Hotty Toddy!
Now that I’ve settled the SEC Championship, let’s move on to some of the also ran’s in the SEC West, starting with the highly touted Auburn Tigers. Since I live in the shadow of Jordan Hare, I’m bombarded by the Auburn hype. If the local papers are to be believed, then this is truly the year of the Tiger. There is a wizard on campus that will fix all of Ellis Johnson’s mistakes, and in the process turn an 8–5 performance into 15–0. If this pans out, then Gus made a historic hire when he caught Will Muschamp on the rebound from Florida.
The Crimson Tide has to deal with a scenario unfamiliar to the Bama faithful. Nick Saban lost his cloak of invincibility when he forgot that a field goal could be returned for a TD, and now everybody thinks Bama can be beaten. This, coupled with new faces at quarterback, makes it unlikely that the Tide will win ‘em all. They’ll be good, probably very good, but not good enough to beat Ole Miss.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are a solid, well coached football team with a host of returning talent, and a great incoming recruiting class. They will win a bunch of games, but will fall short against Bama and Ole Miss.
LSU and Texas A&M have problems at key positions, and while both will finish with winning records, they will have trouble winning the big games. Everyone’s pick as the disaster of the SEC West, Mississippi State, has no way to go but up. Here is my prediction for the SEC West in 2015.
- Ole Miss
- Texas A&M
There’ll be joy in the Grove and wailing and gnashing of teeth on the Plains, and I can’t wait for it to start.
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Warming the heart of Rebel fans everywhere, Tom. Hope your forecast proves accurate!
WoW! That read like a newspaper column from a veteran sportswriter — all the correct wording and prognosticating. Way to go.
Moore, glad you approve. You know I always pull for the Rebels unless they are playing.
Ah, the subtle–or not so subtle “kiss of death”. You have very cleverly put yourself in a “win-win” situation. If the4 Rebels do excel, you get the smug “I told you so”–if they stumble and fall short, well. not so deep in your heart you will be rejoicing–which is you birthright. By the way, Red Moffat has given Susan the supreme gift of agreeing to accompany me to the Auburn game so she will not have to go! Depending on game time, we will expect a steak the night before or the night after the game! And with a Heisman trophy candidate, how can you possible relegate the Bullies to the bottom of the heap?
Pat I can’t tell you how much it hurts that you would question my motives. I’ll stand by my position, that Ole Miss has the best team money can buy! Its good to hear that you and Red will be coming to the Auburn game which according to my calendar will be Sat, Oct 31st. Do y’all have a place to stay? You can book the steak. Everyone knows that Dak was way over rated last year, just read the Carrion Ledger or the Daily Mississippian. We’ll be lucky to win our non-conference games.
So once again you have not allowed a lack of knowledge to slow you down from voicing an opinion, so I will take the bait and offer you my version of the SEC West. With one caveat: I don’t know sh*t either. This could go a bunch of different ways and at the end of the day it’s going to be about injuries, chemistry and COACHING.
1. Arkansas. Yep, there you go. They are built to bully and withstand the grind that is the SECW. They won’t be great, but they just may be the last one standing.
2. Auburn. Lot’s of talent, very good QB, best coaches in the league.
3. Alabama. Talent. Saban. Still no QB. Rinse and Repeat.
4. MSU. More depth than is recognized. Dak. Solid coaching staff that has been together for a while. Defense will be a real surprise as the aforementioned depth will seemingly come out of nowhere (until people do a LITTLE bit of research and realize they have been stockpiling 4* talent of defense for the last 3-4 years…and they played a lot of people last year.) Conference wins against TAMU, LSU, UK, OM, AL. Road losses to AU, Mizzou, ARK.
5. OM. Lot’s of individual talent. Emphasis on individual. Questions will abound about Bucky’s true skills after another late season swoon driven by injuries and idiocy (players and coaches). One may note that for the last 3 years they have looked “Awesome in August and Junior League in January”
6. TAMU. Lot’s of talent. Chavis may need another year…
7. LSU. Less’ seat will be blazing hot by late October. Scandals will be rampant as at least 25 players will be individually mentioned in Hillary’s “classified” emails.
One SEC team makes the CFP (UGA most likely). Urban wins another title and, buoyed by his success and unlimited ego, decides to throw his hat in the ring for President. He then wins the nomination (Republican). He declines however when it’s pointed out to him that he would have to downsize by moving into the White House and that the President does not get to wear a crown.
Feel free to counter any and all of this…
Tommy, you and Pat have left me out—-Can I come
I wish you and Bitsy would come. Check with McNease, he’s organizing the trip.
Hotty Toddy, Tommy.
I never thought I’d be promoting the Rebs, but facts are facts and y’all are loaded.
This cannot be the same Tommy (before he became Tom, or T. Ranier) Lawrence I used to know. Tommy would have told the communist where his mother was hiding before he favorably mentioned ( preceded and followed by a profanity) Ole Miss. Anyhow I hope your ability as a seer is validated and you get an A+ on the newsletter. If the season does validate your seership I may subscribe you to the Ole Miss Alumini Review, or send you old copies of mine!
Lee, I have to admit that sometimes the truth really hurts. if the Rebels can live up to half of their pre-season hype on the football field, then its gonna be a great year for the Red & Blue.
I appreciate your enthusiasm for the Rebels, and hope that your predictions come true. Something tells me that they had better watch out for the Bulldogs who would just love to be the season spoiler!
Gibbo, try to remember how it was when you were in school. There many times that we had the opportunity to ruin a Rebel season and y’all would beat us by thirty points. We’re picked for a seventh place finish in the SEC West and I doubt that it includes a win over the first place Rebs.
I knew your football post would be ou soon! I like your #1 pick.
You’ll never know how much it pains me, but there it is.
With four starters returning on offence and four on defense, being picked at the bottom of the West is a correct call. If you recall,,Mullen tried to give some young players experience last year at LSU. We couldn’t do it because of the huge gap between 1st and 2nd team and what’s left. This year we are depending on those same ‘what’s left’ to fill the holes of those departed.
OM on the other hand OM has that 2013.top 10 recruiting class that is not only very talented but experienced. If they don’t do it this year they will have to wait until the 2016 class is experienced. Their Alabama game at Tuscaloosa will make or break their season and Alabama still hasn’t found a QB.
This email and the recent Sports Illustrated cover of MSU’s Dak Prescott have prompted me to express long overdue thanks for the copy of My Magic Year that you gave me at the last Cumberland board meeting. Your writing style is engaging and insightful—and thoroughly entertaining. I loved the image of you and A.J. texting re: football while he was at a ballet performance in PA.
Given your appreciation of George McGugin, I thought you might enjoy knowing that I live in the house built by his grandfather (Dan McGugin) when he was coach at Vanderbilt during its glory years. Our driveway is shared with the house built by Michigan coach Fielding Yost, McGugin’s brother-in-law. Yost and McGugin married sisters in the Fite family.
Looking forward to seeing you next month—go Bulldogs!
All the best,
Marin, thanks for the kind word, glad you enjoyed the book. I’m forwarding a copy of this to George McGugin, See you in Sept.