SEC Football Predictions 2014
SEC Football Predictions 2014
Offense: Georgia will have many weapons on the offensive side of the ball. None better than RB Todd Gurley, who may be the best back in the country. Gurley is a beast, he nearly rushed for 1,000 yards in only 10 games, and while playing injured most of the season. Georgia loses QB Aaron Murray, but 5th year senior Hutson Mason steps in. Mason played some last year when Murray went down, and brought the Bulldogs back against Georgia Tech. Georgia has another great RB names Keith Marshall. Marshall went down with an injury in 2013. Marshall is a playmaker and Mason is lucky to have those two behind him. WR Malcolm Mitchell injured himself last season and may miss the beginning of this season with an injury. Chris Conley is the leading receptions returner. Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett are also returning from injuries. The offensive line has some issues with consistency and depth. David Andrews is the anchor of the offensive line at center.
Defense: Georgia will have to improve on its defense from a year ago. Losing Tray Matthews in the secondary is a big blow to the Bulldogs. The defensive line has some new faces, with only one returning starter Sterling Bailey. The linebackers are in a class of their own, all four starters from last year are back. Ramik Wilson lead the Bulldogs in tackles last season with 133 and Amarlo Herrera was right behind him 112. This unit will have to play great in every game to make up for the questions in the secondary. Damian Swann is the only returning starter in the secondary, but look out for youngsters Aaron Davis and J.J. Green.
Special Teams: Marshall Morgan is back for the Bulldogs, Morgan was solid last season. Punter Adam Erickson will return as well.
Overview: Georgia opens the season with two tall tasks, hosting Clemson and visiting South Carolina. If the Bulldogs can win those two games, they could very well be undefeated when they get Auburn at home. Georgia benefits a lot this season with a pretty manageable schedule. If Mason/Gurley and the offense can find some consistency and the defense makes improvements, Georgia could in the CFB Playoffs.
#2 South Carolina
Offense: South Carolina loses QB Conner Shaw, Shaw was the heart and soul of the team last season. Dylan Thompson will have big shoes to fill, but has playing experience and Steve Spurrier as his coach. RB Mike Davis returns for the Gamecocks, Davis burst onto the scene last season rushing for 1,183 yards and 11 scores. Receivers Shaq Roland, Pharoh Cooper and Damiere Byrd are talented and have big play ability. The offensive line returns four starters, none better than guard A.J. Cann.
Defense: The defense loses Jadeveon Clowney, the top pick in the NFL draft. Darius English and Gerald Dixon will look to replace him. J.T Surratt is the only returning starter on the line. The linebackers return all three starters including Skai Moore who had 56 tackles last season. The secondary is young and full of talent, however they lack the experience of big games in the SEC. Chaz Elder and Brison Williams will have to lead this unit early for success.
Special Teams: Elliot Fry returns as the place kicker, Fry was an All-SEC Freshman. Tyler Hull also returns at punter.
Overview: It’s hard to bet against Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks for the 2014 season. The offense has the tools needed to win in the SEC, the defense does not. South Carolina gets Georgia at home this season, but has to visit Auburn, Florida, and Clemson. South Carolina may be a trendy pick to win the SEC East, but a second place finish may be the reality.
Overview: Missouri loses a lot of key players from last year’s SEC East championship team, none bigger than WR Dorial Green-Beckham. QB Maty Mauk is the only sure thing on the offensive side of the ball. Mauk filled in nicely for injured James Franklin last season. The rest of the offense is filled with question marks, Russell Hansbrough returns after rushing for 685 yards last season and Bud Sasser is the top receptions leader coming back. The defense is also filled with holes, Markus Golden returns on the defensive line after 6.5 sacks last season. The linebackers are young and untested, Braylon Webb in the secondary will be back and brings leadership to the secondary. The kicking game will be the strongest part of the team. Missouri has too many holes for it to achieve last season’s success again. Luckily for them, they draw A&M and Arkansas out of the West. A 7-8 win season may be all that these Tigers can achieve in 2014.
Offense: Florida was so bad on the offensive side of the ball last season. QB Jeff Driskel will return after being out with a leg injury most of 2013. Driskel has always been a bit inconsistent throwing the ball and makes too many mistakes. Driskel will have a strong run game behind him with back Kelvin Taylor. Taylor rushed for over 500 yards last season. WR Quinton Dunbar is a solid target for Driskel. The offensive line was injury plagued last season, so there is a bit of inexperience up front with only 3 returning starters. On paper Florida’s offense looks mediocre, and with a new system being put in, it could take some time to see results.
Defense: The Gators will have one of the best young defenses in the country. They have all four returners up front on the line. Dante Fowler is a stud on the end, and can rush the edge with the best. LB Michael Taylor is the leading tackler from 2013 and Antonio Morrison will be back after suffering an injury. The secondary will be very interesting to watch in 2014. This unit could end up being one of the best in the league. Vernon Hargreaves III needs no introduction, the kid is a playmaker, and is one of the best corners in the country as a sophomore. Jalen Tabor was a highly recruited player and should make an instant impact in the secondary. Jabari Gorman had 48 tackles last season.
Special Teams: Austin Hardin will return at kicker but needs to improve after a terrible 2013. Kyle Christy should be the starting punter in 2014.
Overview: Florida is an interesting team, they have some very noticeable holes on paper. The schedule is pretty brutal as well, even with getting LSU and South Carolina at home. Florida has to make trips to Alabama in week four, and ends the season in Tallahassee vs the Seminoles. Florida has the talent to win up to 9 games, but if they fall to injuries again, it could be another long season in the swamp.
Overview: Butch Jones nearly led the Vols to a bowl game in his first season as head coach. Jones leads a team with big holes to fill, mainly on the offensive and defensive lines. The Vols have no returning starters on both lines and a brutal schedule. Justin Worley and Josh Dobbs should contend for the starting job at QB. One bright spot for the Vols is Sophomore Marquez North at WR, he made some big catches last season, finishing with 38. Marlin Lane is another play maker on the offensive side of the ball, Lane will look to improve on the 534 yards he had in 13’. The defense has some potential stars. AJ Johnson is already a star on Rocky Top, he’s the leading tackler for the 2nd straight season. Curt Maggitt, Corey Vereen and Cameron Sutton are some really good pieces for Butch Jones. Tennessee has talent but lacks depth and experience at key positions. Tennessee will have its hands full with a schedule that includes road trips to Oklahoma, Georgia and South Carolina. Six wins would be a major boost for the program, but it shouldn't be expected this season.
Overview: Kentucky struggled big time during Mark Stoops first season at the helm. Stoops has recruited well and has plenty of young talent. The problem with young talent is inexperience and depth. The defense returns most of its starters from last season including both ends Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith. Both players can make a big impact for the direction of the season for Kentucky. The Wildcats have major issues on the other side of the ball. Inexperience surrounds this unit, the QB position has yet to be settled. The offensive line is decent and will need to excel if the Wildcats plan on getting into the end zone. Kentucky gets Vandy at home so they could get their first SEC win under Mark Stoops.
Overview: The biggest loss for the Commodores was head coach James Franklin, who left for Penn State. Vandy also lost all time reception leader Jordan Matthews. The offense returns leading rusher Jerron Seymour, who scored 14 TD’s last season. At QB the Commodores have major problems with inexperience. Freshman Johnny McCrary appears to be the starter for week 1. The receivers are young, but have loads of talent. Jordan Cunningham will be a player to watch. The offensive line is solid, and should provide enough protection for McCrary. Andrew Jelks and center Joe Townsend are returning up front, both are key players. The defense is going to make a transition to a 3-4 scheme. It will be interesting to see how quickly and effectively the defense can make the transition. The linebackers may be the best unit on defense, as they have plenty of experience. The secondary is young, but they have some playmakers, mainly Tre Bell. It’s hard to believe that Vandy has this many talented young players, however the lack of a QB, is going to make this season tough. Luckily for the Commodores they don’t draw the top 3 of the SEC West. Six wins could be a reachable goal, just not positive they will reach it.
Offense: QB Nick Marshall returns for the Tigers after bursting onto the college football stage last season. Marshall continued to get better with every game last season, and was seconds away from leading Auburn to a national championship. Marshall is a game changer and his arm looked great in the Auburn spring game. Marshall totaled 26 total TD’s last season and over 3,000 yards of offense. Marshall will have two deadly weapons on the outside. WR’s Sammie Coates and JUCO transfer Duke Williams may be the best WR combination in the country. Coates was a deep ball threat last season, averaging over 21 yards per catch. Coates and Williams are both big physical receivers who will make an impact on every game this season. Ricardo Lewis, Marcus Davis, Quan Bray and TE C.J Uzomah give Marshall even more targets. Expect the passing game to do big things this season for the Tigers. In the backfield Auburn loses Heisman finalist Tre Mason, but return Cameron Artis-Payne, Corey Grant, and Peyton Barber. Grant was a home run threat every time he put his hands on the ball. Artis-Payne is a physical back, who resembles Tre Mason, should get most of the carries at the start of the season. Barber and 5-star recruit Roc Thomas could also make a difference in the loaded Auburn run game. The skills positions are loaded with talent, but the group who may be the best on the offensive side of the ball, are the big guys up front. Auburn’s offensive line could very well be the best core in the nation. The Auburn line loses Greg Robinson who was a top draft pick, but returns 4 starters. Reese Dismukes is the anchor up front at center, and is the top at his position in the country. Alex Kozan, Avery Young and Chad Slade all started last season, Shon Coleman and Patrick Miller will have the chance at replacing Robinson.
Defense: The defense was not the best last season, but they had a way of making stops when it was needed. Ellis Johnson will have his unit ready to go in his second season. The defense should be much better this season, even with the injury to DE Carl Lawson. The loss of Lawson is a huge blow for the defensive line, but Elijah Daniel should be able to fill the void. LaDarius Owens and Gabe Wright return up front, Ben Bradley and Montravius Adams should see action as well. The LB core should be very good with Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost. McKinzy led the team with 75 tackles. Robinson Therezie may be the best player on the defensive side of the ball and will be the leader. Jonathon Mincy and Jermaine Whitehead return in the secondary. The secondary is rounded out by JUCO transfer Derrick Moncrief and Jonathon Jones. This unit may surprise a lot of people this season, it could develop into one of the best in the SEC.
Special Teams: Auburn loses both kicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark. Freshmen Danial Carlson and Jimmy Hutchinson will have big shoes to fill in the kicking game. The return game should be electrifying again this season.
Overview: Auburn may be the best team in the SEC, but has a brutal schedule. Road games at Kansas State, Georgia, and Alabama are going to determine the success of this team. Auburn draws LSU and South Carolina at home. The offense will be better than last season and the defense should become one of the better units in the league. Gus Malzahn is an elite coach and with Nick Marshall they should expect to be in the national championship game again this season.
Offense: Alabama returns a bunch of starters off of last season’s team, the problem is losing QB AJ McCarron. McCarron was the heart and soul of the Tide last season. The QB situation in Tuscaloosa looked pretty ugly after the spring game, but now it appears Jacob Coker will be the guy. Coker transferred in from Florida State, and will have a ton of weapons around him. T.J. Yeldon is one of the top backs in the country, rushing for over 1,200 yards last season. At WR, Alabama returns Amari Cooper, one of the best in the country, DeAndrew White and Christian Jones. O.J Howard is a weapon at the TE positon. There will be a few new faces on the offensive line, but it will be extremely talented and deep. Freshman Cameron Robinson is a player to watch up front.
Defense: Alabama lost a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but has pretty much reloaded. DE A’Shawn Robinson had 5.5 sacks as a freshman and Jarren Reed is a big boy, weighing over 300 pounds, but is very talented. Trey DePriest returns at LB, and will look to build on a strong 2013 season. Landon Collins leads the secondary, Collins is one of the best in the league at his position. There is so much talent and depth on the defense, that even with injuries they should be fine.
Special Teams: Adam Griffith who missed the 57 yard FG vs Auburn will be the starter. JK Scott will handle the punting duties.
Overview: Nick Saban continues to reload year after year in the SEC. Saban will look for revenge against Auburn at the end of the season. Alabama gets an easier schedule then most the teams in the SEC. Road games at Ole Miss and LSU are possible bumps in the road. Alabama gets Florida, Auburn and Mississippi State all at home. Coker will be put into the spotlight right away, and if he plays well, Alabama could find itself bringing home the national championship.
Offense: The offense loses its quarterback, running back and top two receivers from a year ago. Even with all those losses, LSU appears to be as good last season’s team. The offense returns 4 of 5 starters on the offensive line. La’el Collins at left tackle is one of the top players in the country. The wide receivers lack the experience needed, but they are filled with top talent. Terrence Magee is the leading returning rusher from last season. Magee averaged over 7 yards per carry. Freshman RB Leonard Fournette is an impact player who will play right away in the backfield for the Tigers. The quarterback position will be interesting. Freshman Brandon Harris and Sophomore Anthony Jennings will battle for the starting spot. Both players are capable of handling the QB position, and with a big strong OL to protect them, both should succeed at QB.
Defense: The defense will be as advertised this season. It appears that LSU will always be able to reload on defense. Defensive ends Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter are studs. The linebackers return two of the three starters from last season, including Kwon Alexander and his 65 tackles. The secondary could possibly be on the best in the country. Tre’Davious White is going to be a star, and Jalen Mills had three interceptions last season.
Special Teams: Colby Delahoussaye is the returning place kicker and punter Jamie Keehn returns. Keehn is one the best punters in the country.
Overview: LSU has a pretty tough schedule, which starts with a date vs Wisconsin. LSU has to visit Auburn and Florida. The play at the QB position will ultimately determine the success for LSU. A big home date vs Alabama on November 8, could be the deciding factor of an SEC West crown. Les Miles is one the best coaches in the county, he will show that again this season, after the Tigers get double digit wins.
#4 Ole Miss
Overview: Ole Miss could be poised for a breakout season in the SEC West. Ole Miss is loaded on defense and has some nice pieces on the offensive side of the ball. QB Bo Wallace returns after a good season in 2013. Wallace threw for over 3,300 yards with 18 touchdowns. Wallace has two solid targets on the outside in Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo. Treadwell led the Rebels with 72 receptions and 608 yards. The running game and offensive line are huge question marks going into the season. The defense returns LB Sederius Bryant who led the team in tackles, and All-American FS Cody Prewitt. Robert Nkemdiche and CJ Johnson will be forces in the trenches. The secondary is filled with athletes, capable of making plays. Ole Miss is an interesting team this season, the Rebels draw Auburn and Alabama at home. The schedule sets up nicely and the Rebels could win nine games.
#4 Mississippi State
Overview: The Bulldogs are getting a little hype coming into the 2014 season. It is easy to understand with the amount of players that are coming back. Mississippi State return 18 starters, none better than QB Dak Prescott. Prescott is a dual threat QB, he totaled 1940 yards passing and 829 rushing with 23 touchdowns. Jameon Lewis had 923 yards receiving and five scores. Josh Robinson who added almost 500 yards rushing last season, also returns. The Bulldogs have the best defensive line in the league, with Sophomore Chris Jones being the road block. Benardrick McKinney and Matthew Wells return at LB, both capable of having big seasons. The secondary is filled with experience and depth, which equals success. Mississippi State has big games on the road at LSU, Bama, and Ole Miss. If they can steal a win or two, the season will be a success.
#6 Texas A&M
Overview: Johnny Football is gone, making Kevin Sumlin’s job a little more difficult in 2014. Good news for the Aggies is that the defense returns nine starters from the unit which ranked last in the league. Gavin Stansbury and Isaiah Golden are two big guys up front to watch this season. Darian Claiborne returns at LB where he had 89 tackles last season. The secondary should be much improved, with senior Deshazor Everett leading the way. On offense the Aggies will have a punishing running game, with the combination of Tra Carson and Trey Williams. Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen will compete for the starting job at QB. Both guys are young and lack experience needed at a key position in the SEC. Malcome Kennedy is a big target on the outside who had 60 receptions last year. The offensive line is big and experienced. The left side with Cedric Ogbuehi and Jarvis Harrison will be the leaders of the line. The kicking game is outstanding and could play factors in many key games. A&M has a tough opener at South Carolina and also visits Mississippi State, Auburn and Alabama. It feels like a rebuilding year for the Aggies, but with good QB play, they could easily get back to 8-9 wins.
Overview: Arkansas was winless in the SEC last season, head coach Bret Bielema will be looking for some improvement. Arkansas has some talent on both sides of the ball, but lack of experience and depth will be an issue. The backfield is loaded with Jonathan Williams, Alex Collins, and Korliss Marshall. Collins went over 1,000 yards last season and Williams had 900. They are the best 1-2 punch in the conference. Brandon Allen will return at QB, but he had issues with accuracy last season, completing under 50% of his passes. The defense returns Trey Flowers, who had 13.5 tackles for loss last season. Leading tackler Alan Turner will also return in the secondary. Arkansas should find a way to steal a win or two in the conference slate, but don’t expect too much out of the Razorbacks.
SEC Offensive Player of the Year
Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn
SEC Defensive Player of the Year
Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
SEC Coach of the Year
Mark Richt, Georgia
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