Assigning SEC championship odds to every team entering Week 3
Mass hysteria on the Plains!
Not really, but almost.
SEC homers everywhere watched in horror last weekend as sixth-ranked Auburn trailed by a touchdown in the final minute — at home — to FCS titan Jacksonville State.
This was supposed to be Jeremy Johnson’s stat-happy game but instead turned into a 3.5-hour nightmare featuring two more questionable interceptions, another fumble from Roc Thomas and a secondary that was largely out-played by weak competition.
Auburn has a chance to ascend our predictor scale with a win at LSU on Saturday, but a loss could prove what we’ve feared the last two weekends — this team was overrated in the preseason.
Here’s how we project each team’s chance to win the league title heading into the third weekend:
ALABAMA (20 percent chance)
Nick Saban’s 9-1 in revenge games at Alabama and the Crimson Tide are well aware of Mississippi’s exploits offensively early this season. A dominant performance against the Rebels would further push our predictor’s belief that Alabama’s the team to beat in the SEC.
GEORGIA (15 percent)
Dropping the Bulldogs to 15 percent this week since the passing game could be a lingering question until Greyson Lambert establishes some consistency through the air. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is sticking with Lambert as QB1, but says Brice Ramsey will play against South Carolina.
OLE MISS (12 percent)
Our predictor has picked up on back-to-back 70-point games and is keeping a close eye on Saturday’s showdown in Tuscaloosa. If Chad Kelly continues his hot start, the Rebels could easily boast the SEC’s best offense by the midseason point.
LSU (11 percent)
The Tigers managed to miraculously hide the elephant in the room at Mississippi State — quarterback Brandon Harris. When you have a running back like Leonard Fournette, it’s makes it easier. LSU’s defense shut down Dak Prescott on the ground, but did give up 335 yards through the air. From a personnel standpoint, the Tigers look extremely talented.
TEXAS A&M (11 percent)
Kevin Sumlin has a loaded roster, but most importantly, appears to have depth. The Aggies are going with a six-man defensive line rotation at the moment and it’s one of the SEC’s strongest position groups.
AUBURN (8 percent)
What has happened to Gus Malzahn’s offense? Jeremy Johnson’s struggling and Duke Williams has been a non-factor for the Tigers. Perhaps that changes in Death Valley? We’ll see.
MIZZOU (8 percent)
The Tigers lead the country in tackles for loss? You don’t say. Mizzou’s again dominating at the line of scrimmage defensively and Kentrell Brothers is the early front-runner for SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
TENNESSEE (4 percent)
The injury bug is decreasing Tennessee’s chances at a rapid rate, but we’ll know more once the vols return to Knoxville from next weekend’s trip to Gainesville. Should Tennessee snap its 10-year skid to the Gators, this percentage adds a couple points.
KENTUCKY (4 percent chance)
Early surge from the Wildcats? Not labeling this team an East contender just yet after beating South Carolina, but a win over the Gators at home would be another positive step — a substantial leap in fact — for a program hoping to turn the corner under Mark Stoops.
ARKANSAS (2 percent)
Jonathan Williams out. Keon Hatcher out. And offensive coordinator Dan Enos insists on throwing the football. That’s not going to work for the Razorbacks this fall. The loss to Toledo was embarrassing.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (2 percent)
It’s been done before, but losing your SEC opener and fighting to climb back into the race is not ideal. The Bulldogs need to establish a running game — above all else — at this time.
FLORIDA (2 percent chance)
Florida’s second game drew some doubters (7-point win over East Carolina), but multiple defensive starters were out against a team that throws the football profusely. It wasn’t a good matchup short-handed. Still, there are far too many questions up front to consider the Gators an SEC threat.
SOUTH CAROLINA (1 percent chance)
The Gamecocks are fading fast. At worst, South Carolina was supposed to be 2-1 after the third week of the season with a lone SEC loss, but as a 17-point underdog this weekend at Georgia, the outlook’s grim. An 0-2 league start all but assure this team no trip to Atlanta.
VANDERBILT (0 percent chance)
Sorry, folks. It’s not happening for the Commodores.