Rob Vinciletti (GC): 2018 SEC Conference preview and Analysis
In this piece we will take a look at the SEC Conference and assess each teams chances in this high powered conference that has teams who put up a plethora of points year after year. At the end of each analysis we will take a look at a Key situation pertaining to each team.
SEC West Projected Rankings
1. Alabama- The Defending champs were 15-1 last season. Thus year they bring back just 10 starters. The Good news is. The running back and linebacking talent is outstanding, and they have 2 extraordinary Quarter backs in Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts who was the SEC Offensive player of the year. . The defense which sustained top level talent will still be solid enough to win the league as they have allowed 18 or less points per game in each of the last 4 seasons. The Tide may not win it all again this season but they should win the West. Key situation. The Tide have covered 17 of 19 in the first of back to back road games and are in that situation on October 20th against Tennessee
2. Auburn- The Tigers finished up a solid 10-4. They will be more than formidable again this year and will look to make amends for their playoff loss to Georgia and upset loss to Central Florida in their bowl game. Auburn has 13 starters back did sustain some tough losses on offense with 4 of 5 offensive linemen gone. That said they will be tremendous on defense again as they were the last 2 years. This team will pin its hopes on five star recruit Jarrett Stidham who is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, the receiving corps are talented and in place to light up the scoreboard if that new offensive line gels. Key situational angle. The Tigers are 14-2 to the spread with revenge vs a team off back to back win. We will keep an eye on the September 15th matchup with LSU.
3. LSU- Coach Orgeron now in his 2nd full year here and should improve off a 9-4 year despite their bowl loss to Notre Dame. The secret is the Defense that should rival Alabama for tops in the division as the Tigers have 3 legit super stars. The loss of Derrius Guice at running back or DJ Chark at receiver could set them back from winning it all and they will need solid Qb play to better this rating and proving that losing the 2nd most starters in college football wont hamper their success. Key situational angle. LSU has failed to cover 9 of 11 as a road dog off a win of 10 or more. This will most likely be in play in game 3 of the season when they travel to Auburn.
4. Miss. St.- The Miss St. team has a new coach in play as Joe Moorehead takes over the reigns after they Bulldogs went 9-4 last season after a prior 6-7 year. The Dogs capped off a fine season with a solid bowl win over Louisville. Now they return 17 starters and 8 on a defense that improved by 12 points and 153 yards. This year their hops will come down to the play and health of Nick Fitzgerald as he has a lack of depth on the receiving corps. They will be going into some tough revenge spots with a new coach. Should the Bulldogs play defense like last year and not slip up on the road, they can better this rating. For a situational Key angle we note that they have covered 5 straight at home vs Florida and they will host them on September 29th
5. Texas A&M- The Aggies returns 16 starters 8 on both sides of the ball after last seasons 7-6 season which saw them lose their bowl game to Wake Forest. Enter Jimbo Fisher fresh from Florida St. They must improve on defense where they regressed by over 7 points and allowed 31 points. Despite the abundance of returnees they lack the overall talent level of other teams in this division and will wind up probably around .500 once again. Key situational stat. The Aggies have failed to cover the last 3 at South carolina and will be going into a tough revenge spot in that one on october 13th.
6. Arkansas- The Razorbacks have Chad Morris from SMU taking over and he inherits 17 returning starters from a mediocre 4-6 team that regressed on both sides of the ball. This year they have a manageable non conference schedule which means they probably eclipse their 4 win total. The Razorbacks will look to get the passing game going and improve on a defense that allowed 36 points per game. Arkansas will struggle against the top team in this conference. Key situation occurs on September 22d when they travel to Auburn and bring with them a 1-8 spread record as a dog of more than 10 off a non conference game.
7. Ole Miss- The Rebels finished up 6-6 last season under 2nd year coach Matt Luke and have 15 starters back. This year they have to replace a plethora of players and break in a new Qb. They may have made a bowl game last year but were under probation due to the Hugh Freeze situation. The Rebels may struggle even more this year with talent gaps all over the field. Key situational angle. The Rebels are 0-6 to the spread in the 2nd of back to back road games which is where they find themselves on November 17th against a Vandy team that remembers the 57 points the Rebels put on them last year.
SEC East Projected Rankings
1. Georgia- The Bulldogs played hard in their playoff loss to Alabama losing by 3. they made tremendous strides on both sides of the ball last season improving their offense by 11 points and the defense by 8 points. The offense will soar once again as Jake Fromm is back off a solid freshman year and he has all but one from his line back and all his top targets except for N. Chubb. The defense only has 4 returning starters but they had 50 freshmen play last year and they have plenty of experience. The bottom line is they just flat out have the best talent in this division. For the Key situation we are looking at a big revenge spot at home against Auburn on November 10th and they are 4-0 straight up and to the spread against Auburn on this field.
2. South Carolina- The Gamecocks were 9-4 last season and will be solid again this season. They improved on both sides of the ball last year and stunned Michigan as an 8.5 point underdog in their bowl win. The defense looks strong again and the offense will be even better. This team will light up the scoreboard this season and could challenge Georgia for the top spot. The Key stat play for them is on October 27th at home vs Tennessee as the Cocks are 6-0 to the spread with rest vs conference opponents.
3. Florida- The Gators like many others are loaded with 19 starters back. They fell to 4-7 last year after a 9-4 finish in 2016. Florida should bounce back big this year with new coach Dan Mullen. This team can run the ball and has what looks to be the best defense in the SEC East. The question will be whether Qb Felepe Franks can run the offense and avoid turnovers.. With a weak non conference slate and a host of revenge games. The Gators look ready. Key Angle. The Gators have covered 7 straight with Conference revenge vs team off back to back wins and covers
4. Missouri- The Tigers bring back 16 starters from a 7-6 team lost a bowl game to Texas to end their season. They have one of the best Quarterbacks in the conference in Drew Lock. Last year Mizzou averaged 37 points per game and could be even better this season behind a veteran line. The defense allowed 414 yards but that was still an improvement by 65 yards. should they continue to improve this team will turn heads. Key stat. Missouri has covered 7 of 8 as a favorite of more than 10 vs losing teams
5. Tennessee- The Vols are off a mediocre 4-8 season and bring back just 13 starters. They have a new coach In Jeremy Pruitt and play a very weak out of conference schedule this year. The Vols could continue to struggle on offense where they regressed by 16 points from 2016. There are some studs on defense but that wont help much as they will be on the field most of the time and could wear down late. For a situational angle we see that they come up flat to the spread failing 7 of 8 time after playing Florida. So we will play against them on September 29th against Georgia
6. Kentucky- The Wildcats are loaded on both sides of the ball with 17 returning starters from a 7-6 team that lost a heart breaker to Northwestern in their bowl game. Kentucky did well in close games last year and should show even more poise this year. They have a weak non conference schedule and if they can go at least .500 in SEC Play they should make another bowl this season. For a key situation consider September 22nd at home vs Miss. St where the host team in the series has covered 4 straight. The Wildcats are 6-1 to the spread after scoring 35+ points which is something they will do against Murray St the previous week.
7. Vanderbilt- The Commodores lost much of their talent on both sides of the ball and will struggle in a very deep SEC. They are brining back 11 starters from last years 5-7 team. They have 4 new coaches behind head Coach Mason and could struggle to stay competitive in an improved SEC East division. Vandy will need to basically win out in the non conference games if they hope to even have a chance at a bowl game. They will score the ball with 7 starters and senior Qb Kyle Schumer back but have an inexperienced defense this year. Key situation. We will be playing against Vandy in their season finale at home against a Tennessee team that has double revenge
Final Thoughts- The SEC Conference has several teams in transitions with many new coaches. The Conference will be more geared to defense this season than other conferences that are offensive minded. Alabama in the West and Georgia in the East appear to be headed towards another late season encounter. However, it is a long season and anything can happen.
We hope you enjoyed the team analysis provided as well. Be sure to check our page daily for free selections and analysis in all major sports as we continue to use the most powerful and cutting edge data in the industry. Rob has amassed profits year in and year out in both College and Pro Football and is poised for another big season this year Rob is the only 2 time champ in both MLB and Overall football. Best of luck and enjoy this upcoming season, Rob Vinciletti- Golden Contender Sports