Aaron Murray, with his back to the line of scrimmage. SEC quarterbacking!
For a conference that is "the best evarrr" I sure find myself thinking "man, that's a weak schedule" an awful lot. And I know people bag on their non-conference scheduling all the time; that's not what I'm talking about. I mean: I look at their conference slates and I don't see a ton of juggernaughts. Just as an example, I don't see any conference schedule that I look at and think that it's clearly tougher than Washington's, most of them I'd trade straight up.
I also look at a conference that seems like it's going to beat itself up a lot. In seasons past there were a couple of teams that separated themselves from the pack, but I'd bet that this year that doesn't happen. Alabama has a lot of pieces to replace, and a new offense to implement. LSU lost some key players, and though they're loaded they likely won't score as many non-offense touchdowns as they did last season with Tyrann Matthieu gone, and those were touchdowns that turned several games for LSU that may have otherwise been losses. Georgia is right there with the elite teams in the country. South Carolina can beat anybody too. Arkansas should be good, but who knows how they'll respond to the coaching change. Auburn is bleh. Mizzou has the personnel to surprise. Florida should improve. A lot could happen, and I think the title streak ends this year.
Alabama 10.5: Under
Really hard decision here, but I think @LSU is probably a loss, and they drop another one along the way to somebody. It's really hard to bet against a Nick Saban team, but a step back from the national title is natural. After the last title, the regressed by 3 games, and with all the player turnover 2 seems reasonable.
Arkansas 9: Over
Just don't know how John L. Smith is going to handle the situation down there, but if he can do a decent impression of Bobby Petrino this team should beat everybody except Alabama and LSU. Actually, that'd be a perfect impression of Petrino.
Auburn 7.5: Under
No way is Auburn winning 8. They couldn't do it last year with upsets over South Carolina and Florida, and I'm not sure this team is better enough (if at all) to upset any of the elite teams on their schedule -- which is one of the toughest in the country with Clemson, LSU, Bama, Arkansas and Georgia on it -- I see them dropping at least one to a lesser opponent. Pound the under here.
Florida 8: Over
Should be a bounce-back year for the Gators, as the defense -- very good last year -- brings back everybody and could be one of the top in the country. As long as they can decide on a QB and keep him healthy the offense should be more consistent than it was last year when Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel were forced into duty. They also benefit from losing their decided schematic advantage on that side of the ball, as now they have an offensive coordinator who knows how to coordinate an effective college offense, and not just talk a big game.
Georgia 9.5: Over
I don't see any way they don't hit this. They have a loaded defense, an elite QB, and one of the weakest schedules you'll ever see. They don't play any of LSU, Alabama or Arkansas. I look at their schedule and they should be favored in every game with an easy path to the conference title game. If you're looking for a darkhorse national title conteder, here it is. Looks like a 10 or 11 win season, easy.
Kentucky 4.5: Under
Bye bye Joker Phillips. No Ole Miss on the schedule this year, and that looks like the only SEC team Kentucky can stand toe-to-toe with. Which is sad.
LSU 10.5: Over
Too much talent. I don't see many games that are even loseable. At Florida is an upset I'd throw out there, but I wouldn't be on this team losing twice.
Mississippi State 7.5: Under
8 wins for this team? Really? 8? Bet the mortgage here.
Missouri 7: Over
I'm a huge James Franklin fan, and I think Missouri could surprise some people this season. Their schedule isn't that tough (Bama and A&M from the West to go with the much easier East divisional slate), and they've got some talent on both sides of the ball. The former Husky Gary Pinkel is going to keep his streak going, as he's won 7 regular season games each of the last 6 years.
Ole Miss 5: Under
If they win a conference game, it'll be a pretty sizable upset. They also play Texas. I'd probably take the under down to 3.5.
South Carolina 9: Under
No way does this team get to 10 wins. I'm not sure they win fewer than 9, but more would be insane. They could conceivably lose 6 of the last 7 on their schedule against Georgia, @LSU, @Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Wofford and @Clemson. Who knows how effective Marcus Lattimore will be coming off of injury.
Tennessee 6.5: Over
Even with the suspension of Da'Rick Rogers, I think that Tennessee will be an improved team. I see 8 games that are winnable or should-wins, and if they upset somebody they'll be in great shape. We'll probably know if they'll hit this after a week 1 matchup with NC State. Win that one and they're in great shape to carry momentum through the year and get to 7 or so wins.
Texas A&M 6.5: Under
Aggies are in for a rude awakening. New coaches and a new conference is a bad recipe, and it wouldn't be shocking to see them miss a bowl this season. They play 2 FCS teams, and the other two non-conference games are tougher than they seem. If at the end of the season I saw they lost to either SMU or Louisiana Tech (or both) I wouldn't bat an eyelash. Those are two really good non-BCS teams, and right now A&M isn't a great BCS team. I think even the middle of the SEC creams this squad.
Vanderbilt 5.5: Over
I'm not having the love affair with James Franklin that everybody else is, but when you have a schedule that has 2 FCS teams, Kentucky and Ole Miss you'd better make it to 6 wins.