The Southeastern Conference is once again loaded for a potential eight straight national championship in college football. Suggesting there is any other conference in America that is as talented, as deep and as rigorous as the SEC would be foolish and uneducated. The SEC West in particular could see a challenge from their brethren in the East Division.
Five of the last six national champions have come from the West and Alabama has a very good chance to make six in seven. With that said, the East is rising. Georgia, Florida and South Carolina are expected to battle for the East Division title while Tennessee will be improved under Butch Jones. Vanderbilt is coming off of a bowl season and Kentucky had a very good recruiting class.
The East however is for another day because today I’m looking at win totals for the SEC West and there are many questions. Can A&M repeat last year’s magic? How much better will Ole Miss and Arkansas be? Is this a down year for the Bayou Bengals and can Gus Malzahn turn Auburn around in one year?
Let’s take a look…
Alabama 11 (-110 over/+140 under) – The Crimson Tide are a shoo-in in my book for the over here. Even if they stumble once, they’ll get to 12 wins in the SEC Title game. The schedule is not overly daunting for the SEC either other than a trip to Texas A&M. They get LSU and rival Auburn at home.
Arkansas 5.5 (-140 over/+110 under) – The Hogs have a very good chance to 3-0 right off the bat but that might be the highlight of the season for new coach Bret Bielema. The conference schedule is very tough with South Carolina and Florida as the crossover match-ups. They’ll be improved, but I like the under.
Auburn 6.5 (-140 over/+110 under) – Auburn has road games at Washington State, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama which could easily see them go 2-2 or 0-4. Gus Malzahn will right the ship there, but the personnel is not in place yet for his system. I like the under in 2013.
LSU 8.5 (-150 over/+120 under) – This is an extremely tough call here. The Tigers have senior QB Zach Mettenberger back but lost a lot of talent to the NFL. The Tigers will be competitive as always under Les Miles but road trips to Mississippi State, Georgia, Ole Miss and Alabama will be tough. Plus they’ll have Florida and Texas A&M at home. I want to take the over but I’m going under here.
Ole Miss 8 (+110 over/-140 under) – The Rebels have seven home games including six in seven weeks with a bye week interrupting the string. Ole Miss opens in conference play at Vandy and also travels to Texas and Alabama. With a great recruiting class, Ole Miss is building and I’m going to say this is a push as they’ll get to eight.
Mississippi State 6 (+110 over/-140 under) – The Bulldogs return QB Tyler Russell and have a decent schedule to maneuver. They get LSU, Alabama and rival Ole Miss at home, but do travel to College Station and Columbia, South Carolina. The non-conference is not that difficult with the exception of Oklahoma State in the opener. I’m taking the over.
Texas A&M 9.5 (-145 over/+115 under) – Two months ago I would have said take the over here but I have concerns. I just don’t see Johnny Manziel repeating his Heisman Trophy year because of on and off-field distractions but that might be OK. The Aggies have eight home games which includes Alabama in the conference opener. The four road games pose little challenge other than at LSU late in the season. I’m going to go ahead and say ‘over’ but I’m leery if Manziel doesn’t get his act together.