There is love for college football. Then, there is the SEC.
Sporting sun dresses to games, singing Hotty Toddy into the warm fall night, claiming A.J. McCaron is the best quarterback to buckle up a chinstrap, the SEC’s profile and fan base ranks atop college football tradition.
However, with a fierce passion comes a short temper. Like dragging a stick over a dog’s cage, we attempt to rile up the SEC junkies with our bold predictions for 2015.
Florida Will Finish With a Better Record Than Alabama
What’s a better way to initiate the irritation than predicting the discombobulated Gators to end up with more wins than King Saban and the Tide? Nothing, I tell you.
Florida’s hiring trumps all of the offseason acquisitions. Head coach Jim McElwain’s transfer from Colorado State fits perfect given his expertise in working with the quarterback position. Florida fans cringe at the sound of the word “quarterback,” their recent dilemma under center dismantled since the Tebow era. McElwain’s role in nurturing sophomore quarterback Treon Harris may very well be the make-or-break factor in 2015.
On the Alabama side, they reload every year, much like a well-polished firearm, while other SEC teams rebuild like a 1998 Jenga set. The absence of a Biletnikoff winner in Amari Cooper and the loss of Blake Sims may bode large for the Crimson Tide offense, even with a skill position fully stocked nearly every year.
In regards to scheduling, Florida will welcome Florida State, Ole Miss, and Georgia to the swamp, while Alabama travels to Mississippi State, Auburn, and Georgia. With a favorable schedule and a spark at the helm in McElwain, Florida may be back to their winning ways come 2015.
Another Cooper Will Win The Biletnikoff
I touched on the wide receiver slot earlier in the week, and South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper may very well highlight the SEC in offensive production next season. Off a stellar sophomore year, Cooper’s 1,140 yards and 11 touchdowns topped the South Carolina team, but the other Cooper at Alabama overshadowed a tremendous year for the Gamecock receiver.
With South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson entering the draft and a new game manager emerging for Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks, Cooper will provide a safe outlet for whichever quarterback steps up in the offseason.
Amari Cooper in ’14, Pharoh Cooper in ’15. Mark it.
Tennessee Will Win The SEC East
Tennessee has scratched the surface in recent years with Volunteer fans patiently awaiting their breakout year in the SEC.
They may get their wish in 2015.
After a sluggish opening in ’14, Tennessee messed around and got hot late, tallying three wins their last four games including a convincing win against Iowa in the bowl game. A 6-6 season could have easily seen the Volunteers with an 8-4 record, with close losses to Florida (10-9) and Georgia (35-32).
Tennessee may rely heavily on its offense in 2015, and no surprise there: the Vols notched seven wins when they scored 24 or more points, while going 1-5 in games scoring less than that number.
With Josh Dobbs returning at quarterback, Pig Howard at wide receiver, and Jalen Hurd at the tailback slot, the Vols could pose a monstrous threat in the SEC in 2015.
LSU Will Win The National Championship
No matter how delusional it sounds, just graze over the 2014 season.
Ohio State loses their starting quarterback prior to the season and wins with their THIRD-string. In a sport where anything is possible, LSU gets my bid as the next college football champions. LSU’s common theme of defense first held true once again in 2014, surrendering only 17.5 points a game.
You take away many of the quarterbacks in the SEC in 2015 (Bo Wallace, Hutson Mason, Blake Sims, Dylan Thompson, etc.), and LSU’s chances of repeating or bettering that number is more than likely.
Leonard Fournette’s freshman season was everything LSU fans wanted, and returning its quarterback in Anthony Jennings with his crew of wide receivers should have the bayou salivating.