2. Georgia 9-3 (6-2) - The 2009 season is one of uncertainty for the Dawgs, as the two biggest stars on offense, Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford, have left for the pros. Luckily for new starting QB Joe Cox, breakout WR AJ Green is back and the offensive line is finally healthy and experienced. Many believe that this is a bit of rebuilding season for Georgia, but I think most team would take 9 wins in a year.
3. Tennessee 7-5 (4-4) - Not much has happened in the offseason for the Vols...Oh wait a minute. Tennessee has had a busy offseason, dumping longtime head coach Phillip Fulmer for former Oakland Raiders head man Lane Kiffin, spending about $3 million on the assistant coaching staff (which includes Kiffin's father Lane and former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron), and trying to rebuild to the Vols of the 90's. Running back Bryce Brown is a step in the right direction. So is playing the non-conference likes of Western Kentucky, Ohio, and Memphis. The Vols will have a decent year in conference, and it will result in their first bowl game under Lane Kiffin.
4. South Carolina 6-6 (3-5) - What a disappointing tenure head coach Steve Spurrier has had in Columbia. I can remember back in 2004 when he was hired, their were rumblings that SC would be winning SEC Championships by at least '07. Well, it's 2009, and Spurrier's teams have went 28-22. Ouch. The main problem with the Gamecocks under Spurrier has been the uncertainty at QB, and it still seems to be truly clear. Sophomore Stephen Garcia is the understood starter, but who knows how long that will last? I believe that if this season plays out the way I figure it, it will be the last with the Old Ball Coach at the helm.
5. Vanderbilt 5-7 (2-6) - What a great story Vanderbilt was in the 2008 season. They started the season 5-0, got ranked for the first time since Columbus came to North America, and beat #13 Auburn at home. Then it went downhill from there, as the team went 1-6 the rest of the regular season. Still, the Commodores topped off their season with a 16-14 win over Boston College in the Music City Bowl, their first bowl win since 1955! As sad as it is to say, Vandy can only go down from here. The 'Dores benefited a lot last year with lucky breaks, but as anyone knows, luck changes over time. Still, I think that Vanderbilt is only one upset away from making it back-to-back bowls.
6. Kentucky 5-7 (1-7) - Sorry UK fans, I think that the bowl game streak will end at 3. The Wildcats have a fairly easy non-conference schedule (Miami OH, Louisville, Eastern Kentucky, ULM), and I see them winning all 4 of those games. However, their SEC Schedule is a different story. It seems that all the games that are possibly even are away, and they only return 5 starting defensive players. Add it all up, and it means that the only SEC game the Wildcats will win will be against the rebuilding Mississippi State Bulldogs.
2. Alabama 11-1 (7-1) - The roles have now switched with Alabama and Auburn, as now the Tide are contenders while the Tigers are trying to rebuild. Nick Saban will soon be without a doubt build Bama into the Patriots of NCAAF, and all should just prepare. I see Bama only losing to LSU, but if they somehow pull that one off, you can just move the Tide one spot up in the standings.
3. Ole Miss 10-2 (6-2) - Probably the best story of the 2009 season was the Ole Miss Rebels. In the first year under new head coach Houston Nutt, the Rebels upset #1 Florida, were ranked for the first time since David Cutcliffe was fired, and won their first bowl game since 2003. Many have the Rebels as a darkhorse National Title contender, but I think that LSU and Alabama are just too strong. If it wasn't for those two teams, I would be on the Ole Miss bandwagon as well.
4. Arkansas 6-6 (2-6) - I can honestly say that I was surprised with the way the Hogs played in their first season under Bobby Petrino. Believe me, I would not have shed a tear if the Razorbacks went winless under the former Falcons head man (well, that's another story....). They play at LSU, at Ole Miss, and at Alabama, plus they play Georgia and Florida from the East. Still, you will see improvement, and they should make a bowl game.
5. Auburn 5-7 (2-6) - Let me begin by saying that I'm disappointed in the Auburn Tigers athletic department. They had Tommy Tuberville, one of the best coaches in the SEC, and after only his second losing season in ten years they decide to get rid of him. Ok, so they had to hire a brilliant coach who would be able to bring a championship to the Plains quickly, right? WRONG. They instead hire Gene Chizik, a man who went 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State. So they fire a guy that won 5 games in one season and replace him who won 5 in two? Nevertheless, this is a rebuilding year in my eyes. Expect just about the same results as last year.
6. Mississippi State 3-9 (0-8) - Mississippi State made an absolutely great hire by bringing in Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen as the new head coach. Mullen was tabbed as the new head honcho after Sylvester Croom surprisingly resigned after a 4-8 season (Croom is now the running backs coach for the St. Louis Rams). Even though I think this was the best hire out of all the hires in college football, this year will be very, very, very hard on Mississippi State fans. They return only 10 starters from '08, and they could easily win only 1 of their non-conference games. Still, State fans should look forward to the future, as I believe they now have a head coach that could actually lead them to become contenders.
Well, there you have it, my predictions on the SEC this year. I believe that LSU will beat Florida in the SEC Championship, and the Tigers will win the National Championship. I'll try get in all my other predictions by Thursday, but I can almost guarantee you this will be the only in depth one. If I can I will type each prediction out and then explain them at a later time. Like the blog, Hate it? Let me know what you would change.