The college football season is finally here. You want predictions. It’s fun to make predictions. Therefore, I’m hooking you up right here. Below you will find my 2012 SEC football predictions. I’ve included conference records, overall records, bowl projections and some explanations.
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Vince’s Predicted SEC Standings for 2012
Georgia 7-1 (10-2) – Capital One vs. Big 10
South Carolina 6-2 (10-2) – Outback vs. Big 10
Tennessee 5-3 (9-3) – AT&T Cotton vs. Big 12
Florida 4-4 (7-5) – Franklin American Mortgage Music City vs. ACC
Missouri 3-5 (7-5) – TaxSlayer.com Gator vs. Big 10
Vanderbilt 2-6 (5-7)
Kentucky 0-8 (3-9)
*LSU 7-1 (11-1) – BCS National Championship vs. Oregon
Alabama 7-1 (11-1) – Sugar vs. a BCS team
Arkansas 6-2 (10-2) – Chick-fil-A vs. ACC
Texas A&M 3-5 (7-5) – AutoZone Liberty vs. Big East or CUSA
Mississippi State 3-5 (7-5) – AdvoCare V100 Independence vs. ACC
Auburn 3-5 (7-5) – BBVA Compass vs. Big East
Ole Miss 0-8 (3-9)
Analysis: Here’s how I see the West Division playing out. LSU beats Alabama in Baton Rouge. Arkansas will win at home against undefeated LSU in a rivalry game that could perhaps be a motivational game for the players to help John L. Smith keep his job. LSU will then hammer Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and get into the BCS title game. LSU will then, again, win the national championship for the SEC, with Oregon suffering another defeat to an SEC team. Yes, that will be seven straight titles for the SEC.
In the East, Georgia’s only loss will be at South Carolina. South Carolina’s back-to-back losses at LSU and at Florida will keep the Gamecocks from winning the East once again. Tennessee’s three losses will be against the three best teams it plays; at Georgia, vs. Alabama and at South Carolina.
There’s only one team that has the ability to make a big move in the standings from last year, and that’s Tennessee. A new and improved coaching staff of assistants; an off-season of chemistry-building and self-reflection; a strong preseason where areas that needed to show improvement have; a bigger, stronger roster that I’ve seen transform; a much more experienced roster; and a more manageable schedule, all are reasons to give the Vols a good chance to make a big jump. I also wouldn’t be shocked if early adversity, injuries, kicking issues or even coaching decisions lead to underwhelming performances and a season that could go very bad as well. I could easily see the season fall apart as well. The margin of error with limited depth and some bad luck is very thin. There are a lot of “ifs” with this team. Because the “Jimmies and the Joes” are much better than in previous years, this year’s team, at least, has an upside that it hasn’t had in years. My impression of this team is much higher now than it was in the summer, but that’s because they addressed some areas I wasn’t ready to assume would be better until I saw it and heard it. Recent history says one team in this league will make a huge improvement over last year. Tennessee is the most logical candidate, so I went with it.