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SEC football predictions: How wrong was I?

The Florida Gators and their fans can celebrate how wrong I was in my preseason predictions. You're welcome?


The Florida Gators and their fans can celebrate how wrong I was in my preseason predictions. You're welcome?



As we battle the lull before college football's bowl season begins, I thought it'd be interesting to look back on my preseason predictions. How bad was I?

We'll do the SEC today and the ACC later. Keep in mind that if I were any good at predicting things, I'd be 1) winning my fantasy football league and 2) retired, on a beach, after making millions on one night in Vegas.

SEC East

What I predicted:
1. Tennessee
2. Georgia
3. Florida
4. Missouri
5. Kentucky
6. Vanderbilt
7. South Carolina

How they finished:
1. Florida
2. Tennessee
3. Georgia
4. Kentucky
5. South Carolina
6. Vanderbilt
7. Missouri

What I got right: Not much, aside from Vandy at six. That counts for something, right?

What I got wrong: I thought Tennessee's talent would finally come through with a championship. In fairness, the Vols did win the Championship of Life (no, I will never stop making this joke). But they failed to weather injuries the way UF did. I also thought Kirby Smart would get Georgia going faster than he has so far. He's doing it on the recruiting trail (his Bulldogs have the nation's No. 4 class for 2017), but it hasn't shown up on the field.

What I said about the Gators: I think the Gators improve as a program in Jim McElwain's second season, even if the record doesn't show it. The offense takes a step forward, but the defense loses a lot and takes a slight step back.

What I think now: I was partially right. I do think UF is in a better place now than it was in 2015, even though the record is worse (10-4 last year, 8-4 heading into next month's Outback Bowl). The offense might have taken a really, really, really small step forward. Scoring is up (from 23.2 points per game to 23.4), and UF is averaging more yards per play (5.14, compared to 5.11). The run game was slightly better, and the passing game, statistically, was worse. I thought the Gators' defense would regress more than it did, and that's what got them back to Atlanta.

SEC West

What I predicted:
1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. Auburn
4. Texas A&M
5. Arkansas
6. Ole Miss
7. Mississippi State

How they finished:
1. Alabama
2. Auburn
3. LSU
4. Texas A&M
5. Arkansas
6. Mississippi State
7. Ole Miss

What I got right: ‘Bama at the top, which wasn't as easy as you might think. I thought Auburn would rebound, because I still think Gus Malzahn is a genius. I didn't buy the Ole Miss hype; I thought there was a chance the NCAA cloud could cause the Rebels to implode. I thought the Aggies and Arkansas would be solid but not great. Didn't see the Razorbacks' demolition of UF coming, though.

What I got wrong: LSU over Auburn. I thought the Tigers' talent would come together with a top-five season under Les Miles. Except the Mad Hatter dropped two games early and got canned. I wasn't high enough on Auburn, but I'm fine with that, given how bad the Tigers looked in 2015. I pegged Trevor Knight as the top quarterback in the SEC. He wasn't, but he was in the top tier before his injury.

My championship pick was... Alabama over Tennessee. The Crimson Tide has had six consecutive recruiting classes ranked No. 1 in the country, so the talent is there. Expect ‘Bama to win in Atlanta and appear in the national title game at Raymond James Stadium.

Current thoughts: I went out on a big limb, I know, but ‘Bama was right. And I still feel pretty good about that last part, too.

Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 3:38pm]


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