Predicting every SEC team's record after Week 2
It’s unlikely that most people expected SEC Week 2 to unfold how it did. From a shocking loss for Texas A&M to a near-loss for Bama to an upset for Kentucky over Florida, it was a wild week. How does it shake up expectations of the SEC? Well, here’s our weekly outlook as we try to predict how the SEC regular season will end … after Week 2.
Bama’s ugly win over Texas certainly made them look human. The best news of the week was that A&M, often assumed to be Bama’s best competition in the West, had a disastrous loss. But Alabama looked like a team that could be vulnerable at Arkansas or at Ole Miss. We expect somebody to pull the upset.
The stumbles of Arkansas foes A&M and Missouri certainly don’t hurt the Razorbacks’ situation. Neither did a sharp offensive performance against South Carolina. Raheim Sanders is a big-time weapon, and KJ Jefferson is the Rodney Dangerfield of SEC quarterbacks. Our expectations for the Hogs took an uptick.
Can Auburn win any of the next 3 games — home matchups with Penn State, Mizzou, and LSU? The Missouri game looks like the most likely, but the back half of Auburn’s schedule means that the Tigers probably need to be 4-1 after 5 games to have a good bowl opportunity. That seems a little optimistic after a brutal Week 2 performance.
On the other hand, the long-term situation for LSU looks a little bright than it does for Auburn. Yes, Southern won’t be showing up in the national rankings anytime soon. But the Tigers seemed much more comfortable in their own skin Saturday than in Week 1. A 3-2 start is very reachable, and maybe even 4-1 if the Tigers can outlast Mississippi State.
Mississippi State: 8-4
While you were sleeping, the Bulldogs took care of business and looked good doing it as Will Rogers threw 4 more TD passes at Arizona. If State can handle LSU next week, they seem like a solid bet to end up comfortably in the middle of the SEC West standings. The game with A&M on Oct. 1 looks more and more like a potential key to both teams’ seasons.
Ole Miss: 9-3
The Rebels are almost guaranteed a 4-0 record heading into their Oct. 1 matchup with likely 4-0 Kentucky. Survive that one and the Rebels have a puncher’s shot at remaining in the thick of the West race, with an 8-0 start entirely plausible.
Texas A&M: 8-4
Suddenly, the Aggies seem like a team that could fade to mediocrity, with next week’s game against Miami followed by a matchup with Arkansas and then 3 road games. Surely Jimbo Fisher will get them playing better, but at this point, this looks more like a 7-5 team than a 9-3 team.
The Gators had an ugly loss to Kentucky, but their West draw of LSU and A&M looks better than it did before the season. Beat UT in Knoxville and get back into the East conversation. Lose that one and the Gators could end up chasing wins come late October and November.
The now likely favorite for the SEC, Georgia looks remarkably not different than the 2021 Bulldog squad. South Carolina didn’t look like a team that would be any kind of ready for the Bulldogs, and frankly, neither has anybody else before the Florida game at the end of October.
Big win at Florida shows that a Kentucky team with better offensive line play and the return of Chris Rodriguez is a realistic threat for another double-digit win season. Road games at Ole Miss and Tennessee look challenging, but Kentucky certainly has a shot at either or both.
The Tigers got thumped by Kansas State, and now will be looking at their trip to Auburn in 2 weeks as an opportunity to salvage any sort of early-season momentum. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas await in the season’s final 4 games, so the Tigers better get cranking in short order.
South Carolina: 6-6
The Gamecocks were never really competitive with Arkansas, which doesn’t bode very well for one of the SEC’s toughest schedules. Finishing the season with games at Florida, at home against Tennessee, and at Clemson means the Gamecocks need to collect wins early or find them hard to grab late.
The Vols took care of business and left themselves very much in the hunt for 2nd in the East. That said, playing Alabama and Georgia puts the Vols a bit behind the 8-ball in that race. The home game with Florida in 2 weeks is a must-have, or it could be a stumbling point for the Vols.
Assuming Vandy can beat Northern Illinois, they may not taste victory again. The West matchups of Alabama and Ole Miss certainly don’t seem likely to do the ‘Dores any favors.