I'm picking Florida to win the SEC and play for a second consecutive national championship. With 18 starters returning, including a former Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, I don't see how anyone can pick against the Gators in the SEC. But I'm not convinced that they will win a second straight national championship. It's awful tough to repeat.
Likewise, it seems to me to be a no–brainer to pick Georgia to finish second in the SEC East. The Bulldogs went 10–3 last year and finished ranked 13th in the AP and Coaches' polls. And, in the history of Georgia football, only one other coach has a better winning percentage than Mark Richt — and he coached one season in the 19th century.
The rest of the SEC East looks pretty dismal to me. Normally, I would expect Tennessee to be competitive. But the Volunteers went 5–7 last season and they have a new coach (Lane Kiffin). The Vols have a winning tradition — second among SEC schools, ninth nationally — and an enviable bowl record — tied for third in bowl appearances, fourth in bowl victories — so I expect Tennessee to resume its winning ways in the near future. But not this year.
The SEC West gives me a challenge — and not just because I am a graduate of the University of Arkansas.
Most people seem to pick Ole Miss and Alabama to battle it out, even though LSU is the team that has enjoyed the most success in recent years.
Predictions I've seen forecast Ole Miss to be Florida's foe for the SEC title, but I'm going to pick Alabama to win the West. And I pick LSU to finish second. Ole Miss will be good, and as a Razorback fan, I know how good Houston Nutt is as coach. He was at Arkansas for 10 years before moving on to Ole Miss. But I'm expecting Ole Miss to drop off a little from its 9–4 finish last season.
Anyway, here is my prediction in the SEC:
- South Carolina
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State