What’s not to love about supreme optimism?

It’s the best time of the year for college football fans, especially those favoring the SEC. Dreams of a national championship aren’t yet crushed and homers abound can all take a stab at guessing wins and losses on their respective team’s schedule.

‘Best Case Scenario’ Series


2013 record: 8-5, 3-5
2014 best case: 11-2, 6-2
Closer look: In a best-case sense, SEC losses to Auburn and Alabama will keep the Rebels from reaching Atlanta this season, but a 10-win regular season followed by a bowl victory would be quite a feat for obvious league coach of the year Hugh Freeze in the nation’s toughest division. Tip-toeing through the rest of the challenging schedule will be easier said than done for a program not yet accustomed to preseason hype and handling expectations against the less-talented. No matter what it takes, the Rebels must find a way to, at worst, split four West contests against Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Mississippi St. if they want to hit double-digit victories. There’s no margin for error in the ‘swing’ games either. Tennessee and Arkansas are must wins.
Silver lining: The schedule’s somewhat favorable with only one projected road game against a higher ranked team (LSU), but welcoming two Top 5s to Oxford in the same season represents the harsh reality of life in the SEC. Moving through the non-conference contests is essential, starting with an impressive showing in the prime-time opener against Boise St. Ole Miss is 9-1 under Freeze against non-SEC competition, the only loss coming to Texas in 2012. A loss to the Broncos inside the Georgia Dome would prematurely halt what could be a special season. Coming in, the Rebels are loaded on defense and have the SEC’s most experienced quarterback under center. That’s usually a recipe for success.