The SEC West is once again loaded for some exciting games that will take the last weekend to decide a divisional winner. There are no new coaches in the Western Division but I believe there will be 2 unemployed by year's end and possibly as many as 4 searching for a new head coach. I will identify them as we get to them. Please know I am stepping out making predictions based on my own feelings and insights. I am sure yours may be different but that's what makes it all fun and generates a lot of conversation. Just remember, Opinions are like names, Everybody has one.
7th -- Auburn (4-8/ 1-7) Auburn is very hard to explain. They have had 11 players from last year that either started or had significant playing time (not graduates) who have transferred out along with a large turnover in assistant coaches. Auburn gets mainly 4 and 5 star recruits but many never finish or pan out. In fact Auburn has the second lowest GSR for it's athletes in the SEC and 4 points below the National average in football.
Auburn scored a 77 overall, which is five points below the national average and is the second-lowest score in the 14-team SEC. Arkansas ranks last among SEC teams.
I could talk a long time about problems here but just know a beat down by Clemson will start Malzahn out the door even though the AD gave him a raise after a 7-6 finish in 2015????
6th -- Texas A&M (6-6/ 2-6) Sumlin's final A&M team will start out with a 3 game win streak and 4 out of their first 5 but then they start playing real teams and the wheels fall off. The Razorbacks gut them followed by SEC West losses @ ALA, @ STATE, TSUN cleans their plow and LSU stays after the game to help Sumlin load his U-Haul.
5th -- Arkansas (7-5/ 3-5) If the Razorbacks had not graduated their quarterback I would predict them much higher but I don't see the younger Mr. Allen being SEC tested yet. Coach Bert Bielema you have to love (SEC version of Donald Trump). He says exactly what he thinks even when he is talking about the plane ride home (if you missed that comment he tried to clean up last year then you missed a classic!). Arkansas will take care of A&M, Auburn and upset Florida but if they get solid QB play then they could finish 2 or 3 spots higher. A poorer finish here and Bielema is in trouble.
4th -- TSUN (8-4/ 4-4) Freeze did all he could to minimize the damage that Tunsil caused with his draft night revelations. Still, TSUN lost a lot on defense and the OL to graduation/NFL. There may be sanctions coming from the NCAA also which will dampen spirits and discourage recruits. There is no doubt that TSUN still has some talent and yes I think Freeze does a good job coaching/ motivating but I personally see TSUN slipping to the middle of the pack in 2016.
3rd -- Miss. State (10-2/ 6-2) Yeah I know Dak has taken his game to Dallas now and we will miss the young man but in some ways I think we have a hell of a chance to sneak up on people early. The offense doesn't have a hit you in the face star and many times a team will play harder without a real star. I think our OL is the real key to our season. If they get it together and have a little depth then whoever the QB is will have time to grow. Running the ball will also be key to taking pressure off of our young QBs and not keep the "D" on the field constantly. I don't like our chances going into Baton Rouge but we have a solid chance of going to Tuscaloosa 8-1. Then we beat Arkansas and TSUN @ their house.
2nd -- LSU (11-1/ 7-1) LSU could easily win the West since they play BAMA in Death Valley. They have a loaded team back and IF their QB can just manage games and make some plays with his legs and arm then the Alabama game will be a classic. That is the only game I see as a possible loss for them in the regular season. Three losses and Les Miles is gone crazy as that is!
1st -- Alabama (11-1/ 7-1) Yes I am so tired of them too but if you want to be the champ then you have to beat the champ. Alabama's OL needs to do the same thing that we need. Protect the QB, give him time to throw and open running lanes and they go to the SEC Championship game for a rematch with Tennessee. Tennessee knocks off the Crimson Tide in Knoxville to start an earthquake in the playoff picture. I think Saban coaches them to wins over TSUN and LSU in a nail-biter then they play Tennessee again with the winner going into the playoff. I could be WAY wrong but I just have a feeling "Rocky-Top" gets it done this year.
The Alabama -- Tennessee winner plays Clemson for the National Championship.
So you have my thoughts and predictions, what are yours? I am ready for football and football weather, these 100+ degree days are killing me! GO DAWGS!!!