The All-SEC teams will not be the only things voted on in Hoover.
At SEC Media Days next week, media members will vote on the projected order of finish for all 14 teams picking division winners and league champions. After running through the All-SEC teams on Thursday, I’m crunching some AnaLucketts to provide what the conference standing projections should look like after all the votes are counted.
After running through every schedule for all 14 teams in the Southeastern Conference, winners and losers have been picked for each game. Here is how it will all shake out in the 2021 season. Take these to the bank to place your season win total bets if you’re feeling lucky.
1.) Georgia 11-1 (8-0)
2.) Florida 9-3 (5-3)
3.) Kentucky 8-4 (4-4)
4.) Missouri 7-5 (3-5)
5.) Tennessee 5-7 (2-6)
6.) South Carolina 4-8 (1-7)
7.) Vanderbilt 4-8 (1-7)
— For the fourth time in six years, Georgia will bring home a division title. However, the Bulldogs are going to run the table in SEC play this season — a feat not accomplished since Vince Dooley had Herschel Walker on campus. Georgia might have the most talented roster in college football to go along with staff continuity on both sides of the ball. This is the year that Georgia beats Alabama in Atlanta and gets back to the College Football Playoff.
— Major questions are surrounding the Florida program, but Dan Mullen does deserve some benefit of the doubt. Odds are that the offensive savant will turn Emory Jones into one of the league’s best quarterbacks and heavier use of the ground game will take some pressure off of Todd Grantham’s defense. Florida draws Alabama and LSU out of the West, but the non-con slate is soft and the roster is just better than everyone else in the division outside of Georgia. Florida heads to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl.
— Despite going 4-6 in SEC play last season, lost in the shuffle was that Kentucky likely had an 8-4 team last year that would’ve played for a top 25 finish in the bowl game. Well, Mark Stoops will have the same again this season. The Wildcats have All-SEC star power on both sides of the ball with the league’s top offensive line and running back combination. There are major play-calling and passing game issues to be corrected, but the soft non-con slate combined with a rebuilding division will give the Wildcats a chance to gobble up some wins. The Big Blue returns to the Outback Bowl in Tampa for the first time in 23 years.
— Eli Drinkwitz has things trending in the right direction and 2021 will be another positive step for Missouri football. Some of the close game luck will run out, but the future is bright with quarterback Connor Bazelak and some strong recruiting from this new coaching staff. A defensive coordinator change in year two is never optimal and that could stunt some growth this season. However, the Tigers will pull an upset home win for the second year in a row when the program knocks off Texas A&M in October. The Tigers will make the trek to Nashville for the Music City Bowl.
— There are three tiers in the SEC this season: Georgia, Florida/Kentucky/Missouri, and everyone else. Tennessee begins the next tier in the debut season of Josh Heupel. The former UCF head coach is installing is hurry-up, no-huddle attack that will constantly stretch the field vertically down the sidelines. The home game against Pittsburgh will ultimately determine if the Vols become bowl eligible or not. The starting 22 is solid on paper, but depth is a major concern as the season progresses due to all of the transfer portal losses.
— The South Carolina roster is in rough shape right now and Shane Beamer will have a tough first season in Columbia. The Gamecocks lost a lot of starters to the NFL and transfer portal with a pair of new coordinators with limited Power Five experience. Carolina will likely be an underdog in every conference game outside of the matchup against Vanderbilt. However, the running back position and defensive front could provide hope in matchups where the Gamecocks can shrink the game.
— The Clark Lea hire was rightfully praised, but the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator has his hands full. The Commodores have a bad defensive roster but there are some intriguing talents on offense — quarterback Ken Seals and wide receiver Cam Johnson. There is no denying that this is year zero on the West End.
1.) Alabama 11-1 (7-1)
2.) Texas A&M 10-2 (6-2)
3.) LSU 8-4 (5-3)
4.) Auburn 7-5 (4-4)
5.) Ole Miss 8-4 (4-4)
6.) Mississippi State 6-6 (3-5)
7.) Arkansas 5-7 (2-6)
— The Crimson Tide must again replace a ton of pros, but Nick Saban reloads in Tuscaloosa. Bryce Young has QB1 potential stepping into a starting role while true freshman Agiye Hall could be the next great Alabama receiver. The offensive line will be elite and the defense has the pieces to be the best unit in the country. Alabama is the rightful favorite in the SEC West, but Georgia is better. Saban’s unblemished record against former assistants ends this year as both Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart beat their former mentor. The Tide miss the playoff for the second time in three seasons.
— The recruiting success is starting to pay off for Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies. While not on Alabama or Georgia levels yet, A&M is getting very close and has the third-best roster in the conference this season. That will result in another double-digit win season, a top-10 finish, and New Year’s Six appearance. However, inexperience at quarterback will lower the ceiling and equal a couple of upset losses.
— There is major pressure on Ed Orgeron and LSU just hired two new coordinators, but 8-4 should be enough to keep the hot seat talk away. The Tigers have two quality quarterbacks and the best cornerback duo in college football to go along with a very talented roster. The week one road trip against UCLA is tricky, but the Bayou Bengals are due for some fortunate bounces. The season ends in Houston at the Texas Bowl as Orgeron has a ton of pressure on him in 2022.
— Bryan Harsin makes his debut on the Plains and Auburn has a ways to go. Tank Bigsby should excel in Mike Bobo’s under-center rushing attack. Meanwhile, Derek Mason inherits a talented roster on defense. The road trip to Penn State in September will be tough while the SEC slate is a grind. The Tigers will be just 13-9 over the last two seasons as the season ends in Charlotte at the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
— With the league’s best quarterback, there is plenty of year two buzz surrounding Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss. Matt Corral is an elite talent combined with one of the game’s best play-callers. In year two, the defense cannot be any worse under D.J. Durkin. There are questions at wide receiver, but this team should put up points and be a great watch throughout the season. The Rebels will spend a good chunk of the year in the top 25, go 8-4, and head to the Gator Bowl for consecutive Florida bowl trips.
— Mississippi State struggled to attack the drop eight looks SEC defenses utilized last fall, but Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack will look much better this season. The wide receiver personnel fits the scheme, the addition of Southern Miss transfer Jack Abraham gives The Pirate two quality quarterbacks, and Zach Arnett’s 3-3 stack defense is a pain to deal with. The schedule is tricky with non-con games against NC State and Memphis. However, an Egg Bowl win at home gets State to the Liberty Bowl and provides excitement with a young roster heading into year three.
— Arkansas could be a top-40 team this year and still not go bowling. Sam Pittman is recruiting the right way for the Hogs and has two very good coordinators. Yet, the deck is stacked against Arkansas. The program hosts Texas in the non-con but has just three SEC home games thanks to the neutral site game with Texas A&M. That is tough to deal with, but this is a team that has star power and good coaching. The Razorbacks will give good teams some issues. Drawing Georgia is buzzard’s luck.