Which SEC fans have the most reasonable expectations for the 2015 season?
In recent months, we have polled every SEC fanbase. Part of the objective was to determine the expectations each fanbase had for the upcoming football season.
We’ve accumulated the data, and now it’s time to determine which fans are the most reasonable.
Alabama Crimson Tide: Too High
64% of Alabama fans believe the Crimson Tide will win it all this year. Another 25% believe Alabama will win the SEC, but lose in the College Football Playoff. Add it up, and 89% of Alabama fans think the Crimson Tide will get into the playoff.
Alabama will be good this year, but that’s an extremely high percentage with some quite lofty expectations on the season. We know Alabama is capable of winning, but playing in such a brutal division and conference, the expectations might need to be dialed back. Let’s also remember that Alabama still doesn’t know who the quarterback will be this season.
This is the world Nick Saban has created.
Arkansas Razorbacks: Slightly Too High
I’m going to nudge Arkansas into the “too high” category, but it’s difficult to jump on the fans too much. When asked how many games Arkansas will win in the regular season, 40% predicted nine wins. Not unreasonable, but somewhat optimistc.
28% predicted ten wins and 20% predicted eight wins. Next, 5% predicted 11 wins.
Again, pretty reasonable, but maybe slightly too high. Why? A brutal road schedule, and they play in the SEC West.
Auburn Tigers: Slightly Too High
When asked how many regular season games Auburn will win, a whopping 40% of fans predicted an undefeated season. 31% predicted 11-1 and 22% predicted 10-2. Yes, I think Auburn fans have been reading the hype surrounding their team entering the 2015 season.
The reality is that winning in the SEC West is hard, and going undefeated is more difficult in that division than any other in college football. Auburn also opens up against a sneaky good Louisville team.
Florida: Slightly Too High
Florida has been beaten down, and considering the national perspective on the Gators, there may actually be some value in betting Florida to win some games this season. But, fans are still slightly too optimistic.
35% of Florida fans believe Florida will win eight games. 24% believe Florida will go 9-3. Yes, it’s a far cry from the days of Spurrier and Meyer when fans expected national championships each year, but a large group of fans may still be overly optimistic on the 2015 season.
Georgia: Slightly Too High
We asked Georgia fans the same question we asked Alabama fans. How far will Georgia go this year? 38% predicted Georgia will win it all (compare to Alabama’s 64%). Another 32% predicted Georgia will win the SEC but lose in the playoff. Add it up, and you get 72% of Georgia fans believe the Dawgs will get into the playoff (compare to Alabama’s 89%).
You might argue Georgia’s chances are higher than Alabama’s because they have an easier path in the east. With that said, Georgia gets both Auburn and Alabama out of the west to make things more difficult.
Kentucky: Slightly Too High
46% of Kentucky fans predicted a seven win season, and another 32% predicted a six win season. Hardly ridiculous, but considering the way Kentucky finished last season, targeting a six win season might be the better bet. Mark Stoops does have the buy-in from his fans it appears.
LSU: Just About Right
You could say LSU fans are slightly over optimistic on the season considering the quarterback situation in Baton Rouge, but for LSU, I’m going to say that they’re just about right as we approach the season. 42% of fans predict a ten win season. 21% predict a nine win season.
Considering the success that Les Miles has had at LSU over the years, I’d say these are very reasonable expectations.
Missouri: Just About Right
With 43% of fans expecting a 10-2 regular season, and another 27% expecting a 9-3 regular season, Missouri fans have very reasonable expectations on Gary Pinkel’s squad.
Can they win ten games? Of course they can. The Tigers’ schedule is probably the easiest in the conference, and we’ve seen how the team steps up in must-win games late in the season.
Mississippi State: Just About Right
When asked how they see the season unfolding, 52% of Mississippi State said they expect their team to compete well, but not win the SEC West. Coming off an historic season, it’s clear that State fans know how difficult the division is and that with the roster attrition, winning the division is a long shot in 2015.
Ole Miss: Slightly Too High
The Rebels are a team to watch in 2015, but it’s still going to be difficult to repeat the success of 2014 just due to the competitive environment. 45% of Ole Miss fans expect their team to win ten games in the regular season. Another 24% expect a 9-3 season. 15% expect to win 11 games.
Not ridiculous by any means, but perhaps slightly too high.
South Carolina: Too High
In a similar boat with Florida fans, South Carolina fans have indeed ratcheted down expectations heading into 2015, but perhaps not enough. 31% of fans expect a 9-3 regular season, 24% of fans expect a 10-2 regular season and another 24% of fans expect a 8-4 regular season.
Spurrier might surprise us, but a ten win season in 2015 seems like a long shot. If the Gamecocks lose the opener to UNC, eight wins might start to feel like a long shot.
Tennessee: Just About Right
Tennessee has received quite a bit of preseason hype, yet it appears that fans still have reasonable expectations on the season. 41% of Tennessee fans expect a 9-3 regular season. An additional 27% of fans expect an eight win season. 21% remain optimistic of a ten win season.
Perhaps the home game against Oklahoma will be the determining game on whether or not the Vols hit some of these win totals.
Texas A&M: Too High
With 38% of Aggies expecting a ten win season and another 30% expecting a nine win season, Kevin Sumlin might find it difficult living up to expectations this season.
Texas A&M has a very difficult opener against Arizona State followed up with a tough SEC schedule. Can Chavis make that much of an impact in year one?
Vanderbilt: Slightly Too High
You can’t crush Vanderbilt fans too much, because most fans polled expect a five win season, but unfortunately, that’s probably still too optimistic. 28% see a five win season, and 23% believe Vanderbilt will reach bowl eligibility with six wins. Next up, 19% see Vandy only winning four games.
The results are in, and the conclusion is that fans are probably always overly optimistic about their team’s success! Welcome to college football.