SEC previews and predictions: Week 1

SEC previews and predictions: Week 1

By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief

Aug. 29, 2012

 

Last season’s record: 87-10 (89.7%)

 

The Predictions Dept. is coming off its best season ever, and by pointing that out, we have likely doomed ourselves to failure in 2012. For those unfamiliar, this is our chance to give you a short take on all SEC games not involving Alabama, and to have a little fun along the way. With two additional teams joining the conference in 2012, our job just got a little more difficult.

 

BOWLING GREEN at FLORIDA

This is a good opening salvo for the Gators, which still are playing quarterback roulette and have yet to develop an identity under Will Muschamp. Bowling Green, meanwhile, is a team that can’t run the football and is coming off a 5-7 season. It won’t surprise anyone if this game is ugly, thanks mostly to Florida’s quarterback indecision, but don’t look for an upset, either.

Florida 30

Bowling Green 14

 

ALABAMA vs. MICHIGAN (in Dallas, Texas)

See our extended preview!

 

BUFFALO at GEORGIA

Buffalo has had some good teams recently, but (a) this isn’t one of them and (b) the Bulls are going up against one of the most complete teams in the SEC in 2012. The biggest question here is whether Georgia will get a good look at whoever the fifth-team tailback is – before halftime.

Georgia 54

Buffalo 7

 

KENTUCKY at LOUISVILLE

Unfortunately for Kentucky, the season is probably going to get off on the wrong foot. The Wildcats have problem spots up and down the roster, while Louisville is looking to put the Steve Kragthorpe nightmare fully in the past and begin competing for national attention again.

Louisville 28

Kentucky 24

 

SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA at MISSOURI

Welcome to the SEC, Missouri. We see it didn’t take you long to embrace a longstanding tradition among the SEC’s midlevel teams – directional Louisiana school in Week 1.

Missouri 47

SE Louisiana 10

 

SOUTH CAROLINA at VANDERBILT

This might end up being the marquee matchup of the week, sans Alabama-Michigan. It’s certainly become the trendy upset pick to make, with Vanderbilt coming off a bowl-eligible season and facing a South Carolina team with a mending Marcus Lattimore in the backfield. But South Carolina has gobs more talent across the board than do the Commodores, and it’s not like Dudley Field is highly ranked on a list of toughest places for opponents to play.

South Carolina 27

Vanderbilt 13

 

TENNESSEE vs. NORTH CAROLINA STATE (in Atlanta, Ga.)

This is an intriguing matchup given the Da’Rick Rogers distraction in Knoxville and the fact many are predicting NC State as a darkhorse BCS team. The problem for NC State is its defense, specifically the front seven, which is being rebuilt from scratch. Teams weak up front on defense rarely do well against SEC teams, even those as thoroughly average as the Volunteers. NC State may be favored to win this, but we consider it an upset if it happens.

Tennessee 23

NC State 17

 

JACKSONVILLE STATE at ARKANSAS

Yes, Jacksonville State could pull the same kind of opening-day surprise it pulled on Ole Miss a couple of years ago, and if it happens, John L. Smith’s tenure as head coach might tie the record for shortest in a single season in school history – a record set by Jack Crowe, who coaches Jacksonville State. Symmetry. But it won’t happen.

Arkansas 47

Jacksonville St. 10

 

AUBURN vs. CLEMSON (in Atlanta, Ga.)

Auburn fans swear nine or more wins are possible, while most pundits who look at the Tigers’ roster see significantly fewer than that. Perhaps no SEC team is a mystery this year in the way Auburn is, thanks to several years of highly rated recruiting classes which would lead one to believe this team is a conference title contender. Reality, though, is that this is a thin team with several glaring weaknesses – perhaps none so glaring as the morass at quarterback. Clemson isn’t a world-beater by any stretch, but the Tigers have a veteran, dynamic quarterback and have athletes all over the field. Anything can happen and it figures to be wacky.

Clemson 38

Auburn 27

 

NORTH TEXAS at LOUISIANA STATE

Quick, play this one before anyone else gets suspended at LSU.

LSU 48

North Texas 0

 

CENTRAL ARKANSAS at MISSISSIPPI

Really?

Ole Miss 45

Cen. Arkansas 7

 

JACKSON STATE at MISSISSIPPI STATE

Arkansas gets Jacksonville State, Mississippi State gets Jackson State. No one with Jackson in their name goes home happy.

Mississippi St. 44

Jackson St. 6

 

IDLE (postponed due to Hurricane Isaac): Texas A&M

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