The guys over at Saturday Down South have posted the first set of over/unders for SEC teams' win totals for the 2014 regular season. As you could probably guess, Alabama leads the pack at 10.5. South Carolina and Auburn (boo) are a full game beneath the Tide at 9.5. Georgia and LSU come next with 9.
While the Munson in me thinks that 9 is way too high for a team that lost the all-time SEC leader in passing yards and passing TDs, dismissed nearly all of its starters in the defensive secondary, and completely overhauled its defensive staff, a look at a schedule makes me think that 9 might actually be a little low. Let's take a look:
Clemson in Athens - The Tigers return just 5 starters on offense and 6 starters on defense. Gone are their starting quarterback (Tajh Boyd, drafted) and star receiver (Sammy Watkins, drafted), and their secondary looks to be almost as green as Mike Bobo's notebook. Let's pencil this in as a probable WIN.
South Carolina in Columbia - The Gamecocks lose first-overall-draft-pick Jadeveon Clowney (thank goodness), most of the rest of their defensive line, and underrated QB Connor Shaw. However, we haven't won in Columbia since 2008, Phil Steele and SBNation's own Jason Kirk think SCar might be the most experienced team in the country, and we all know that Spurrier always gives us his best shot. Strictly for wagering purposes, let's call it a probable LOSS.
Troy in Athens - It's a rent-a-WIN, and I have no problems with that.
Tennessee in Athens - The Vols haven't posted a winning record since Lane Kiffin was the coach. Yikes. By all accounts Butch Jones is a solid coach -- don't forget that Tennessee upset South Carolina last season -- but he still has a long way to go. We aren't travelling to Neyland Ancient Indian ACL Burial Grounds this year either, so I'm calling this a WIN.
Vanderbilt in Athens - Derek Mason (formerly DC at Stanford) was a solid hire, but James Franklin caught lightning in a bottle. I think we score a closer than expected WIN, and Vandy slides back towards the bottom of the SEC East.
Missouri in Columbia - These Tigers are replacing virtually everyone on offense and will be breaking in several new corners and linebackers on defense. But even having lost Michael Sam and Kony Ealy to the draft, Mizzou's d-line is likely to give everyone fits. This should be a WIN, but I'm a little worried.
Arkansas in Fayetteville - Bert was all bluster coming into the league, but going 3-9 made him acknowledge that the SEC is Serious Business. If we don't WIN, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Florida at Cocktails - We haven't won 4 in a row in Jacksonville since a 6-game streak from 1978 through 1983. It will be nice to do that again. Probable WIN. (How great is it to feel this confident about a Cocktail Party game? Don't forget to send Secret Agent Boom a birthday present this year.)
Kentucky in Lexington - This is our fourth consecutive road trip, so I'm worried. But, still, it's Kentucky. WIN.
Auburn in Athens - There are some good omens for this game: Last year was a fluke. We're going to be hungry for revenge. We'll be playing at home. BUT, I can't shake the feeling that Malzahn has the WarTiglesMen on a serious upswing. As much as I hate to say it, this is a probable LOSS. Ugh.
Charleston Southern in Athens - This is going to be the most lackluster WIN of the year. I don't care what the spread is, I'll be taking the points.
Georgia Tech in Athens - This is a WIN. You know it. I know it. The American people know it. I just hope that the Genius wins enough of the other games to keep his job.
Unless my math is really bad, that puts us at 10 probable wins. What do you think? Do you have more or less confidence in the 2014 iteration of UGA football? Did any of the other SEC teams' predicted win totals seem particularly accurate? Inaccurate?