Five Outlandish Predictions For The SEC: Part I
At this time of year, everyone and their mother makes their preseason predictions. Heisman predictions, conference champions, and National Championship contenders are all fair game.
All are great questions that fans want to know the answers to. There are "experts" who make bold predictions, most of which are not bold at all. It is the same from everyone and nothing changes much from prediction to prediction, and most of the time it is not too far off base.
Here at Football.com, we pride ourselves on doing things different. With that said, I've come up with five "outlandish" predictions for this year's SEC season.
Arkansas Beats Auburn in Week 1
Say what?! The Razorbacks did not win a game in conference play last year, and the Tigers were within minutes of winning the national title. Furthermore, Arkansas returns a good corps of players.
That makes the upset more possible.
Arkansas has a dynamic set of three running backs that could cause Auburn's defense problems. Alex Collins rushed for 1,026 yards as a freshman and is only going to be better in his sophomore season. Jonathan Williams, who is viewed as more of a complete back, rushed for 900 yards. Collins and Williams give the Razorbacks a good 1-2 punch. Add in the wild card of Korliss Marshall, and Arkansas could seriously do some damage to Auburn.
Auburn ranked 62nd in college football last year against the run, allowing 162.1 yards per game. The Tigers also ranked 87th in the country per carry, allowing 4.59 yards per rush. Add in the fact that six starters are gone on defense and Arkansas is a team that could take advantage.
Auburn Finishes With At Least Six Losses
I don't mean to make this a "Bash Auburn" piece to start with, but I do not like Auburn's chances at all this season.
In addition to the predicted upset at the hands of Arkansas, I see the Tigers losing on the road at Kansas State (Sept. 18), at Ole Miss (Nov. 1), at Georgia (Nov. 15) and at Alabama (Nov. 29). I also see the Tigers losing home games to LSU (Oct. 4) and South Carolina (Oct. 25). So, that is actually seven losses I have them down for. But, I'll keep my prediction at six because I'm bound to be wrong by one of them.
So, with that kind of record, will Auburn even make it to a bowl game?
Ole Miss Will Win The SEC West
Okay, now I'm seriously drinking something, right? SEC fans can deal with the fact that I bashed Auburn a little - in fact - Alabama fans encourage it.
But to speak blasphemy and say Alabama, LSU or Auburn will not win the SEC West is simply unacceptable.
Here is why I like Ole Miss' chances: the Rebels get Alabama and Auburn at home, and the crossover games are against Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
The schedule is built for Ole Miss this year. And with a more experienced team, I could see them making a run to win the division. Although, there will be at least one loss in SEC play along the way. Nobody in the SEC West will go undefeated in conference play.
Alabama's Running Game Will Disappoint
Okay, so this is the first prediction that I do not have as much evidence to back up, so it is more outlandish than any of the others.
The inexperience at quarterback is the reason why Alabama's running game will disappoint. Opposing defenses are going to focus on the running game and make Alabama's quarterback (Blake Sims or Jacob Coker) beat them through the air.
Sims has the ability to make plays with his legs, which could be key if he gets the starting job. But there is still inexperience at quarterback and opposing defenses will take advantage against guys like T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kenyon Drake.
Dylan Thompson Goes Down
Finally getting his chance to start now that Connor Shaw is gone, Thompson has one season at South Carolina to prove that he can make it into the NFL.
However, Thompson will befall the same fate Shaw did on many occasions, and will miss a few games with an injury. Like Shaw, it will not be anything major, but he will watch his backup get the same opportunities he did as a backup.