The pre-conference schedule is winding down, and we’re starting to feel almost like we’ve got a handle on this league. Here’s our weekly estimate of how your favorite team ends up finishing in the SEC race.


Alabama: 11-1

We’re not confident enough in an Alabama regular-season loss to name it. But the team that survived in The Swamp looked significantly less invincible than we thought coming in. The West has a ton of teams with potent offenses and the potential to get ‘Bama in a close game. For the moment, we think one of them might just pull it off.

Arkansas: 8-4

Frankly, this Arkansas team might be as good as their ranking will suggest, but it’s still going to be a brutal slog over the next 4 games. Playing A&M on a neutral field in Arlington, traveling to Georgia and Ole Miss, and then hosting Auburn will help us see the real Hogs in a hurry. We’re optimistic, but it’ll still be a grind.

Auburn: 7-5

See above comments on Arkansas. Auburn really didn’t do badly at Penn State, but it’s hard to see them beating Bama, Georgia, and winning at A&M and at Arkansas. Somebody will have to emerge from the meat-grinder that is the West, but we’re not real sure who.

LSU: 7-5

And once again …. Road trips to Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Alabama are all imposing. Even if LSU can go 2-2 in those games, they still have to play Auburn, Florida, Arkansas and A&M at home. Getting to 9 wins in the West is probably going to be good enough to nab second place.

Mississippi State: 6-6

The next 2 weeks will tell much of the tale for the 2-1 Bulldogs. State can’t lose at home vs. LSU and at A&M and expect to be a factor in the West. We still see 6 solid wins in this schedule, but more than that might be pushing it.

Ole Miss: 9-3

The month of October will define the Rebels. Going to Bama will be rough, but the remainder of the month is up for grabs — home vs. Arkansas, at UT, home vs. LSU, and at Auburn. Go 3-1 or 4-0 in those and the Rebels will be right in the hunt for 2nd in the West and a New Year’s Day bowl.

Texas A&M: 9-3

Until they drop a game, we’d have to give a slight edge to the Aggies for 2nd in the West, though. Getting cross-division games against Missouri and South Carolina isn’t a bad draw. Survive next week against Arkansas and the Aggies will see October in pretty good shape.


Florida: 10-2

A good loss? Actually, yes. Florida more than held its own against Bama and only Georgia looks dangerous down the rest of the schedule. Kentucky could prove dangerous in 2 weeks, but only if the Cats play much tighter. Until we see if that happens, the Gators are looking pretty nice.

Georgia: 12-0

JT Daniels is back, the Cocktail Party looms as the East Division game of the year, but outside of that, there’s not a ton of challenge left for Georgia on the regular-season schedule. As it stands, UGA has a better shot at getting through the SEC unscathed than Alabama does. Doesn’t mean UGA is better, just that their schedule stacks up better.

Kentucky: 8-4

A week ago, we nearly put UK at 9-3. This week, we nearly put them at 7-5. But we’ll stay the course. If that was the real Kentucky on Saturday against Chattanooga, it’ll be more like 6-6. If it wasn’t, they might still get 9 or 10 wins. Florida looks like a significant proving ground — but after Saturday, so does a road game at South Carolina first.

Missouri: 7-5

Love the offense, but the defense doesn’t stop the run well at all. In the SEC, that can get ugly in a hurry. Missouri is fine, but not the kind of team that’s built to win a bunch of shootouts all year. That at Boston College game next week is a random one — but it’s one Missouri needs to prove themselves an upper-echelon SEC squad.

South Carolina: 4-8

Kentucky on Saturday is a key. If Carolina can win, they could still end up in the hunt for a bowl bid. If they lose, there’s not a ton of games left that look very good. The next 4 games (Kentucky, Troy, at UT, Vandy) are USC’s best chance to build a decent season. They need to go 3-1 against that group to do it.

Tennessee: 5-7

After a likely impending loss at Florida this coming Saturday, UT’s season will largely be shaped by the following 2 games — at Mizzou and home against South Carolina. Win those, and you can probably put together 6 or maybe even 7 wins. Split them and it gets tight. Lose both, and you can keep Vandy company in the SEC cellar.

Vanderbilt: 2-10

Thank goodness for UConn.