SEC Media Preseason Poll
All-SEC Preseason Team - Coaches
All-SEC Preseason Team - Media
It's deja vu in the SEC.
In a repeat of last year's performance, the computer (about the computer) projects Florida to win the SEC Championship game by double-digits over Alabama, then knock off Oklahoma in a rematch of last year's BCS title game.
Urban Meyer's experienced bunch, led by QB Tim Tebow, are consensus favorites to win the crown and are favored by 17+ points in every contest until they get to the SEC Championship in Atlanta. There, Florida is expected to meet Alabama and dispatch the Tide by 14.37 points. The Gators are 4-2 against the Crimson Tide in six previous conference title games.
Florida is gunning for a third national title in four seasons, and fourth overall.
Georgia has the best chance of any team to spoil Florida's season. The Bulldogs are forecasted to go 7-1 in conference play with the lone loss coming against Florida in Jacksonville on Halloween. Georgia is a prohibitive 17.31-point underdog in that matchup, but an upset victory would put the Bulldogs in the driver's seat to the north division title.
Vanderbilt is a surprisingly solid 3rd-place pick with a power rating that tops the trio of Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina by no fewer than 6.92 points. However, three of the projected wins are by fewer than 4 points and a forecasted victory at rival Tennessee in the season finale is by 5.10 points. The 'Dores have defeated the Volunteers just once in the last 26 meetings and have dropped the last three.
Vanderbilt defeated Boston College 16-14 in last year's Music City Bowl as it made the postseason for the first time since 1982, and nabbed its' first bowl win since 1955.
Tennessee's prognosis is particularly difficult to assess as the young, outspoken Lane Kiffin takes over the reins from veteran Phillip Fulmer. The latter spent 17 seasons as head coach of the Vols after putting in 11 years as an assistant. Fulmer's teams went to 15 bowl games, won a national championship, two conference titles and seven divisional crowns. A projected 6-6 season could get Tennessee into a lower tier bowl game after last year's 5-7 campaign eliminated them from bowl consideration.
Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks has led the Wildcats to three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since Paul "Bear" Bryant and Blanton Collier guided the school to 11 straight winning campaigns from 1946 through 1956.
South Carolina fans will be shocked, disappointed and angry that the idiotic computer could spit out a 4-8 forecast for their beloved Gamecocks. The ol' ball coach, Steve Spurrier, has only turned in one losing season in his 19-year career as a head coach and that came in his very first campaign in 1987 when he led Duke to a 5-6 season. Five of the projected losses have margins of 5.32 or less, and three of those are under 3 points.
In the west, LSU and Ole Miss are seen as the top challengers to Alabama for the division title. Each is forecasted to go 9-3 overall, 5-3 in the SEC. The Rebels' losses are by a total of 10.77 points and include home games against Alabama and LSU. The Bayou Bengals are a 0.64-point favorite at Mississippi, but a whopping 17.23-point home underdog to Florida. The Tigers are also expected to come up short by 5.91 points at Georgia, and 8.86 at Alabama.
Arkansas is projected to improve from 5-7 last year to 7-5 this season. Not bad, considering the Razorbacks have a treacherous road slate that takes them to Tuscaloosa, Gainesville, Oxford and Baton Rouge.
Auburn gets a 5-7 forecast in Gene Chizik's first season as head coach. That's the same record Tommy Tuberville had last season when he stepped down after a 36-0 loss to rival Alabama. Tuberville was 85-40 overall in his ten seasons at Auburn, and 52-30 in SEC games. Chizik, a former Auburn defensive coordinator, returns to the school after his 2-year stint as head coach at Iowa State produced a 5-19 record and a pair of last-place finishes in the Big 12's north division.
Dan Mullen replaces Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State. The first African-American head coach in the SEC resigned after his team went 4-8. He was 21-38 in five seasons, but was just one year removed from an 8-5 record and a Liberty Bowl win.
Mullen spent the last eight seasons as an assistant to Urban Meyer, working his way up from quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Florida. He has his work cut out for him in Starkville as the Bulldogs are just 29-65 in this decade.