SDS' best and worst 2014 SEC predictions
When you make as many preseason SEC projections as we do at Saturday Down South, you’re bound to see results at both ends of the accuracy spectrum. Here’s a few of our best — and worst — 2014 SEC predictions from August that came to fruition at season’s end:
MOST ACCURATE PREDICTIONS
Picking Alabama’s 12-1 season to perfection — It’s true. Our 2014 Crimson Tide Crystal Ball revealed Alabama reaching the first College Football Playoff with a win in the SEC Championship Game despite an early-season hiccup on the road against Ole Miss. Most of our readers, mainly Alabama fans, thought the notion of the Crimson Tide losing to the Rebels was ridiculous … but it happened.
Ole Miss’ final record of 9-3 in a competitive SEC West — We may not have picked the exact losses (one game away, thanks Texas A&M), but we predicted the Egg Bowl correctly along with losses to LSU and Auburn. Bo Wallace was the quarterback we expected him to be, the leader of a program on the rise under third-year coach Hugh Freeze.
Dan Mullen ends dreadful stretch by posting three wins over ranked teams — You have to give the Bulldogs credit this season. Coming into the 2014 campaign, Mississippi State had lost 16 consecutive games against ranked teams, the longest stretch in program history. That disappointing mark came to a crashing halt — as we projected — on Sept. 20 at LSU when the Bulldogs posted the first of three straight victories over SEC opponents ranked in the Top 10, lifting Mississippi State to No. 1.
Kyle Allen would be Texas A&M’s starting quarterback by October — It came about three weeks later than we expected, but this heralded freshman took over the starting job for Kenny Hill following a loss to Alabama on Oct. 25. Hill, red-hot over the season’s first five games, was later suspended for a violation of team rules.
WAY OFF THE MARK
South Carolina competes for the East at 10-2 overall — We bought into the hype, at least somewhat, that the Gamecocks would be able to absorb the losses of the school’s best-ever quarterback, a No. 1 draft pick along the defensive line and the team’s leading receiver en route to another 10-win season. Nope. South Carolina was a disaster defensively, suffering their worst season since 2007. If the Gamecocks lose the Independence Bowl, it’ll result in loss No. 7 — the most ever during Steve Spurrier’s tenure in Columbia.
Missing the state of Tennessee completely — Neither team was particularly impressive this season, but Tennessee and Vanderbilt fared much differently than we expected. the commodores were a disappointment during Derek Mason’s first season, going winless in the SEC with a 3-9 finish. We projected 6-6 with a win over Tennessee. Gulp. The Vols reached bowl eligibility for the first time in several years, a commendable achievement we didn’t think was possible. With so many inexperienced players, a program-worst 4-8 was inevitable. We were wrong.
SEC gets two teams in College Football Playoff — It was close, but Mississippi State’s Egg Bowl loss to Ole Miss in the regular-season finale ended the SEC’s shot at two teams in the inaugural Playoff. The Western Division took college football by storm this season, flexing a 28-0 record at one point against non-conference foes.