Predicting which SEC teams will lose 2 more games in 2020 than in 2019
It happens to everybody. Eventually.
Even Alabama lost 3 more games in 2010 than it did in 2009.
Year-to-year regression is a real possibility.
In 2019, 8 SEC teams lost at least 1 more game than in 2018. Four SEC teams lost 2 more games. I don’t think we’ll see 4 teams in that category again in 2020. The primary reason there isn’t a lot of room left for some of them to fall. Arkansas, 2-10 a year ago, isn’t going 0-12. I can’t see Vandy (3-9) going 1-11. Ole Miss and South Carolina (both 4-8) aren’t going to lose 10 games. Checks will be written a month before Texas A&M (8-5) loses 7 games.
One bit of good news: No team lost 3 more games in 2019 than in 2018. (Three is notable. It’s more than a few bad bounces or poor calls. It can signal a larger issue. I only see 1 SEC team in danger of doing that in 2020, and that has everything to do with what happened in 2019.)
So, which SEC teams are at risk of losing 2 more games in 2020 than they did in 2019?
Let’s meet the 3 leading candidates, knowing that obviously, the higher you start, the easier it is to slide, which brings us to …:
2019 record: 15-0
Why the Tigers could finish 10-3 in 2020: Is there anything wrong with 10-3? Absolutely nothing. In fact, given everything the record-breaking Tigers lost, I’d sign up for 10-3 tomorrow and feel almost as happy as fans did on Jan. 13. (Almost.)
Remember 2007? The Tigers won the national championship and finished 12-2. In 2008, they went 8-5. They went 9-3 in 2004, a year after winning the national championship.
Remember it, repeat it: There’s nothing wrong with 10-3 or even 9-4.
Keep it realistic in 2020, Tigers fans.
2019 record: 12-2
Why the Dawgs could finish 9-4: “Could” is the operative word.
Essentially, the Dawgs would have to lose their 3 toughest regular-season games and fall again in a bowl game. Or maybe they go 1-2 against Alabama-Auburn-Florida in the regular season, win the East, lose again in the SEC title game and drop the bowl game.
Either scenario is plausible.
Yes, the defense might be Kirby Smart’s best yet. But it’s reasonable to suggest this Georgia team won’t be as dangerous as the previous 2 or 3 versions. There’s simply too much turnover.
I saw Jamie Newman vs. Clemson. It left scars. I’ll hold off on the Heisman hype until after he faces Alabama in Tuscaloosa in Week 3. Further down the road, this is Florida’s best chance to end its skid against the Dawgs. And Auburn always has enough playmakers to make anything possible.
2019 record: 8-5
Why the Wildcats could finish 6-7: This has as much to do with where games are played as it does the Wildcats and Terry Wilson’s health.
I’m not entirely sold that Kentucky will finish 6-7, but I certainly can see 6 potential regular-season losses and a bowl setback.
The road schedule is brutal: at Florida, at Auburn, at Mizzou, at Tennessee, at Louisville. Kentucky gets Georgia at home, but the Dawgs have won the past 10 in the series.
Mississippi State is the wild-card. K.J. Costello will be in Game 10 of Mike Leach’s Air Raid system. He could go off for 400+ yards against a defense that performed well statistically in 2019 but also faced the 2nd-fewest passes in the league.
Here’s the thing to remember: A 6-7 finish still would mean a 5th consecutive bowl game — a feat that has only been accomplished once in program history.