SEC Media Days starts one week from this morning, which means that college football season approaches with a quickness. To me one of the best things about college football is the sheer unpredictability of it all. The stat gurus and preview magazine folks spend weeks peering into and shaking their crystal balls to divine the outcomes of divisional races, the Heisman competition, who’ll make the playoffs, who’ll turn pro early, etc., etc., etc., then as soon as things kick off Appalachian State is beating a top 5 Michigan team.
You may be surprised at what happens on the college gridiron. But you should never, ever be surprised that college football surprised you. Of course we all know that person who likes to brag in December or January that he “saw it coming” and “was telling everyone who would listen” that TCU was underrated and Lane Kiffin was totally going to work out at Alabama. That guy is usually lying.
But this year, you won’t be that guy (or gal). That’s because this year we’re giving you the chance to predict the biggest surprises of the college football season right here, starting in the SEC. We want to know: what do the preseason prognosticators have wrong in the SEC this summer?
I have two entries. First, Tennessee has been a dark horse pick to win the SEC East according to many commentators. They cite Joshua Dobbs’s return at quarterback, a strong stable of running back talent, and the general upswing created by the Vols’ first bowl appearance in years. Those who have tabbed the Tennessee Volunteers as your 2015 SEC East champs are dead wrong. They are still too young and thin on the offensive and defensive fronts to sustain success for an entire season. They also play at Alabama in late October and at Missouri in late November, tough road tests which I don’t expect the young Hillfolk to pass. That being said, Georgia’s October 10th date with the Vols in Neyland Stadium worries me sick as it comes the week after the ‘Dawgs host Alabama in Sanford for what looks like a huge game, and the week before the Red and Black host Missouri back in Athens. I would not be one bit surprised to see a flat Bulldog squad follow a win over the Tide with an egg-laying in Knoxville, or a beat up and bruised Bulldog squad just flat get beaten by an energized Vol team. But either way it won’t be sustainable. Not yet, anyway. In 2016 Tennessee looks to be only one of several SEC East sides which will be absolutely loaded for bear.
My second entry? Forget the Crimson Tide, Bayou Bengals, and Rebel Black Bears. Mississippi State may very well be your SEC West champ. The Bizarro Bulldogs are as veteran a team as you’ll find in the conference on both sides of the ball. They also get LSU, Alabama, and Ole Miss in Starkvile. If Dan Mullen’s team can get past LSU, Auburn, and Texas A&M early they could very well make a run deep into the season near the top of the polls.
What say you, Dawg Sports readers? What do you think will be the biggest surprises of the college football season?