Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Southeastern Conference has dominated the postseason with six straight BCS championships. In addition, not one of the four teams - Alabama (2 titles), Florida (2), LSU (1), and Auburn (1) - has won the title in back-to-back years or even has made it to the BCS Championship Game in consecutive seasons.
Will an SEC squad play for the national title once again? Read on to find out.
Time now to take a team-by-team look at the league with predicted SU overall and conference records for those wagering on over/unders for total victories.
7) OLE MISS (300-1 - Odds to win the SEC courtesy of 5Dimes) - The Rebels are 2-10 as road favorites over the last eight years.
Offense - The Rebels averaged two fewer touchdowns last year (compared to 2010) but with Hugh Freeze taking over as head coach the odds are strong the scoring will increase.
Defense - Ole Miss returned just four starters last season but actually allowed fewer points than in 2010. The unit will be stronger this season with the return of six of the top seven tacklers and the addition of freshman lineman Channing Ward.
Prediction - The Rebels ended last season with three unders in their final four games. An improved defense will keep the unders coming (3-9, 0-8).
6) MISSISSIPPI STATE (45-1) - The Bulldogs are 4-10 as road underdogs the last four years.
Offense - The Bulldogs have averaged fewer than 20 ppg inside the SEC each of the last two seasons. Look for them to remain below that mark once again due to an inexperienced offensive line.
Defense - This group has a chance to be special if the defensive line newcomers pan out. A weak secondary must improve for the defense to finish fourth in the league in scoring for a second straight season.
Prediction - The Bulldogs were 8-2 to the under to end the season. Expect more of the same in 2012 (6-6, 2-6).
5) TEXAS A&M (60-1) - The Aggies are 5-10 ATS off a SU loss the last three years.
Offense - The Aggies move from a high-powered offensive conference to the defense-oriented SEC. That combined with the loss of Ryan Tannehill almost guarantees the offense will not come anywhere close to averaging 39 ppg this season.
Defense - A strong front seven is needed in the SEC and Texas A&M boasts one of the top linebacking crews in the conference. However, the Aggies are a little light on the line, which could cause some problems in the upcoming months.
Prediction - The transition to the SEC will not be a smooth one. Look for a second straight poor conference ATS record after going 2-7 in the Big 12 last year (7-5, 3-5).
4) ARKANSAS (11-1) - The Razorbacks are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games as home favorites.
Offense - It will be interesting to see how the offense moves forward without Bobby Petrino as head coach. Moreover, Tyler Wilson must continue his magic, minus last year's top two receivers. On the positive side, the return of Knile Davis will help spread the field so it is possible the Hogs could come close to their 33 ppg SEC scoring average.
Defense - The defense has improved each of the last three seasons but not nearly enough to put the Razorbacks in the hunt for a national title. This year's group moves forward without last season's sack and interception leaders as well as its leading tackler.
Prediction - Arkansas ended last year with eight overs in its last 11 games. Expect a repeat performance in 2012 (9-3, 5-3).
3) AUBURN (32-1) - The Tigers are 2-9 as road underdogs the last four years.
Offense - The offense fared almost exactly as predicted last season dropping close to two touchdowns from 2010. This year's group should move forward even with the loss of Michael Dyer.
Defense - Last year's defense allowed just 21 more yards per game than it did during the championship season with just three returning starters. This year, 18 of the top 20 tacklers are back so improvement is expected.
Prediction - Auburn was 5-7 ATS in 2011. The Tigers will crawl above .500 in 2012 (8-4, 5-3).
2) ALABAMA (2-1) - The Crimson Tide is 34-17 ATS the last four years.
Offense - Even though the overall scoring was down from 2010, the offense averaged seven more ppg in league play compared to two seasons ago. Look for similar numbers despite the loss of Trent Richardson and the top four reception leaders.
Defense - The only critique of Alabama's 2011 defense was its sixth-place finish inside the SEC in quarterback completion percentage. One thing is for certain this season: the Crimson Tide will not allow eight points per game for a second straight year.
Prediction - Alabama has covered two of every three games the last four years. The Tide should match those numbers in 2012 (11-1, 7-1).
1) LSU (2-1) - The Tigers are 5-0 as road favorites the last two years.
Offense - The Tigers averaged eight more ppg last year (compared to 2010) inside the SEC. They could score even more in 2012 with Zach Mettenberger replacing Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.
Defense - The defense was the reason LSU went to the championship game last season. This year's front four remains its strongest unit but the back seven must step up, especially with the loss of Tyrann Mathieu.
Prediction - The last two times the Tigers reached the title game they were a combined 8-15-1 ATS the following seasons. Look for another dismal ATS mark after a 10-3 record in 2011 (11-1, 7-1).
7) KENTUCKY (300-1) - The Wildcats are 5-2 as home favorites the last two years.
Offense - The offense has to be better in 2012 after averaging just 12 ppg in league play a season ago. Unfortunately, the line loses three longtime starters so don't expect a huge jump in production.
Defense - After bringing back their top 11 tacklers, the Wildcats finished 10th in scoring and 11th in total defense in SEC play. Look for a bottom of the barrel finish in 2012 with the loss of five of their top seven tacklers.
Prediction - The Wildcats ATS mark is exactly .500 the last five seasons despite a below .500 Football Bowl Subdivision record. Even though they are expected to finish poorly once again, the ATS record will surprise (4-8, 1-7).
6) VANDERBILT (100-1) - The Commodores are 2-6 as road underdogs the last two years.
Offense - The Commodores improved from last to sixth in league play in both scoring and total offense. Expect a slight drop off with the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri.
Defense - The defense also jumped up to the middle of the pack from last place. Nevertheless, this year's group loses its top three tacklers as well as its sack and interception leaders.
Prediction - The Commodores should not be taken lightly despite their 2-6 SEC record last year. Look for them to have another solid ATS campaign (6-6, 2-6).
5) Missouri (60-1) - The Tigers are 9-3 as road favorites the last five years.
Offense - The Tigers have averaged 29 ppg or higher every year since 2005. That streak is in serious jeopardy with the change in conferences.
Defense - The loss of three defensive line starters will cause Missouri to have its worst rush numbers in over a decade.
Prediction - After two consecutive 6-6 ATS campaigns, look for five or fewer covers in 2012 (6-6, 3-5).
4) FLORIDA (15-1) - The Gators are 11-4 as road favorites the last five years.
Offense - Florida ranked last inside the SEC with a 37 percent touchdown percentage inside the red zone. The Gators also were 10th with a 29 percent third-down conversion percentage. This year, they lose their top two running backs and starting quarterback so similar numbers are in the cards.
Defense - Back in 2007 the Gators returned just two starters and allowed 26 ppg. The defense brought back seven starters the following season and allowed just 13 ppg. This year's group brings back 10 starters after giving up 20 ppg a season ago. Look for much improved numbers.
Prediction - Florida went under the total in five of its final six games. That trend will continue in 2012 (7-5, 3-5).
3) TENNESSEE (55-1) - The Volunteers are 1-8 as home underdogs the last four years.
Offense - The last three times the Volunteers saw their scoring average drop a touchdown or more, they raised it an average of nine points the following season. Expect them to do it again in 2012 as this will be one of the most improved offenses in the country.
Defense - Tennessee allowed 28 ppg in league play last season compared to 12 ppg in the four out-of-conference matchups. With 12 of the top 15 tacklers back, look for the SEC average to drop almost a touchdown.
Prediction - The Vols will have their best SU and ATS marks since going 10-4 SU and 8-4-2 ATS in 2007 (8-4, 4-4).
2) SOUTH CAROLINA (12-1) - The Gamecocks are 8-3 ATS off a SU loss the last three years.
Offense - Connor Shaw is the man in charge and he'll be helped by a healthy Marcus Lattimore, who missed the final six games last year.
Defense - The Gamecocks were dominant against the pass in 2011 but that won't be the case this year. Still, the front seven remains one of the best in the conference so another solid overall defensive performance is expected.
Prediction - South Carolina ended the year on an 8-2 "under" run. There will be more overs in 2012 (9-3, 5-3).
1) GEORGIA (5-1) - The Bulldogs are 8-3 as home favorites the last two years.
Offense - The division's top quarterback and receivers will catapult the Bulldogs from fourth to first in scoring inside the SEC.
Defense - Last season's defense was outstanding as it allowed an average of 14 ppg. Unfortunately, the offense and special teams combined to give up nine touchdowns to skew the overall numbers. Georgia's front seven is arguably the best in the country and the secondary also is a top-five unit.
Prediction - Look for the Bulldogs not only to run the table but also become the fifth SEC team in the last seven years to win the BCS Title. They are a steal at 16-1 (12-0, 8-0).
|< Prev||Next >|