Handicapping the SEC West: Predicting first to last
This week, I’ve undertaken the vulnerable and difficult task of predicting the 2015 order of finish in the SEC West via four compartmental rankings.
Here we’ve compiled the rankings to project the 2015 standings. But first, here the previous installments:
- Handicapping the SEC West by ranking the offenses
- Handicapping the SEC West by ranking the defenses
- Handicapping the SEC West by ranking the coaches
- Handicapping the SEC West by ranking the X factors
Here are the results of my rankings in each category, as well as an overall SEC West prediction based on those rankings.
|3. Ole Miss||7||1||6||1||15|
|5. Texas A&M||2||7||5||5||19|
|7. Mississippi State||4||6||7||6||23|
I tried to be as honest with myself as possible on each of these rankings. If I were going to pick the SEC West in a non-formulaic way, I’d probably take Auburn over Alabama and Mississippi State ahead of Arkansas for last in the division.
It’s a very difficult division to predict, as we saw in 2014. (The Razorbacks, which did finish seventh, lost at home, 14-13, to Alabama, which won the West.) It would be a surprise if all seven teams didn’t make a bowl game once again.
But overall, I would be shocked if any of the bottom three teams in the chart above won the division in 2015. I think Alabama and Auburn have a clear advantage entering the season, and I think if those teams are going to be challenged it’ll be by Ole Miss or LSU.
Alabama came out in front with this particular methodology because it didn’t have as much of a weakness as Auburn (defense), Ole Miss (offense), LSU (offense) and Texas A&M (defense).
It used to be that the team with the most dominant unit would win, but today’s college football stresses balance across all aspects. So it will be fascinating to see if any of those perceived weaknesses turn into strengths this fall and cause a paradigm shift in the SEC West.