2013 College Football Preview: The SEC

Sports

Below are projected SEC team ratings for the 2013 season. Keep in mind that projected wins and losses are made to reflect what would happen if every team played an average schedule. Most teams don’t play an average schedule, so actual wins and losses won’t look like this once the season plays out. Instead, these numbers are trying to tell us who the best teams are, regardless of the difficulty of their schedule. Therefore, instead of seeing this as a prediction that the top team in the SEC will go 10-2 this year, think of it as meaning this upcoming Alabama team would be projected to go 10-2 in 12 games playing an average schedule.

For projections for all Division I football teams, click here.

Overall

Ranking SEC 5 Yr. Improve Ret. Starters Proj. Off+ Proj. Def+ Proj. Total+ Proj. W% Proj. W Proj. L
1 Alabama 107 97 123 130 127 0.864 10.36 1.64
2 Georgia 101 97 127 105 116 0.727 8.73 3.27
3 Mississippi 104 134 108 122 115 0.718 8.62 3.38
4 Texas A&M 105 74 124 102 113 0.691 8.30 3.70
5 LSU 98 97 108 117 113 0.689 8.27 3.73
6 South Carolina 103 89 106 114 110 0.656 7.87 4.13
7 Florida 99 82 98 120 109 0.640 7.68 4.32
8 Vanderbilt 102 97 105 111 108 0.622 7.46 4.54
9 Mississippi State 103 97 106 109 107 0.617 7.40 4.60
10 Tennessee 97 97 105 98 101 0.543 6.51 5.49
11 Missouri 96 89 96 106 101 0.540 6.48 5.52
12 Auburn 96 112 88 107 97 0.492 5.90 6.10
13 Kentucky 96 97 92 98 95 0.465 5.59 6.41
14 Arkansas 95 82 87 101 94 0.445 5.34 6.66

Offense

Ranking SEC Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Blocking Proj. Off Proj. Off+
1 Georgia 120 131 127 117 114 124 127
2 Texas A&M 109 130 122 107 106 117 124
3 Alabama 125 105 121 115 96 115 123
4 LSU 100 94 102 112 99 101 108
5 Mississippi 108 104 108 92 98 104 108
6 South Carolina 113 85 105 103 95 101 106
7 Mississippi State 103 106 105 108 109 106 106
8 Tennessee 87 107 105 91 115 101 105
9 Vanderbilt 97 102 102 109 91 101 105
10 Florida 98 93 89 104 73 92 98
11 Missouri 98 75 84 93 85 87 96
12 Kentucky 89 94 78 104 93 89 92
13 Auburn 90 99 81 72 80 85 88
14 Arkansas 88 76 83 62 92 80 87

Defense

Ranking SEC Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Forced Pressure Proj. Def Proj. Def+
1 Alabama 117 130 132 119 111 125 130
2 Mississippi 106 124 113 121 130 117 122
3 Florida 101 107 115 115 104 109 120
4 LSU 107 110 112 121 101 111 117
5 South Carolina 102 108 111 103 105 107 114
6 Vanderbilt 115 101 115 90 103 107 111
7 Mississippi State 99 103 107 129 95 107 109
8 Auburn 98 95 103 94 104 99 107
9 Missouri 91 95 94 102 110 96 106
10 Georgia 96 97 104 105 91 100 105
11 Texas A&M 96 96 103 75 92 95 102
12 Arkansas 93 103 94 80 108 95 101
13 Kentucky 94 103 93 84 97 94 98
14 Tennessee 102 96 89 92 100 94 98

Confused? Check the glossary.

1. Alabama– Big surprise, huh? Nick Saban doesn’t rebuild at Alabama, he just reloads. And this year is no exception.

2. Georgia– This Georgia offense looks poised to put a lot of points on the board in 2013. And that’s a good thing, considering this Georgia defense looks bound to give up quite a few, as well.

3. Mississippi Hugh Freeze’s Rebels finished 14% above average last year, are trending upward in improvement (and in recruiting), and have the most returning starters of any SEC team this year. As a result, the numbers really like them to make some noise in the conference and on the national stage this year.

4. Texas A&MSimilar to Georgia, this year’s version of Texas A&M is going to need an explosive offense to make up for an inexperienced defense. In addition to hoping the defense can develop quickly, the Aggies are also hoping that Johnny Manziel can stay healthy and out of trouble with the NCAA.

5. LSU The Tigers have an above average number of starters returning on offense, but they are going to be fielding a pretty inexperienced defense this year. Fortunately for them, LSU always seems to have a stifling defense under Les Miles. They should be a good team this year, but just not crystal football good.

6. South Carolina– New year, same old Steve Spurrier-led South Carolina team. In other words, mediocre offense paired with a legitimate defense. An interesting transformation from his days at Florida.

7. Florida– Let’s get this straight, this Florida offense is probably going to look much worse than they are. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t project to be very good. But because of the conference they play in, they are going to look downright ugly, when they are probably just a little below average. If there is a bright side to all of this, their defense will probably help keep them in a lot of games. If you’re a Florida fan, just brace yourself for a lot of low-scoring slugfests this season.

8. Vanderbilt James Franklin has this team moving in the right direction, and the numbers do like the upcoming product he’s going to be trotting out onto the field. However, these projections don’t take into account recent events that have occurred off the field, so adjust the numbers and expectations accordingly.

9. Mississippi State– Mississippi State is yet another team on the up-and-up, who would no doubt benefit from not playing in the SEC. They are a prime candidate to be a team who is better than their final record indicates this year.

10. Tennessee– First year coach, Butch Jones, has experience returning at the running back and offensive line positions, so he should be able to capitalize on that. He also has a good number of guys coming back on the defensive side of the ball, but, regrettably, last year’s Volunteer defense simply wasn’t very good.  It’ll be interesting to see what Jones can do in his first year at the helm. However, he is going to need more than one season to turn this program around.

11. Missouri Missouri is on a downward trend under Gary Pinkel lately, declining by an average of 4% each year since 2007. The numbers like the defense to be an above average unit this year, but not so much the offense. The wildcard for this offense, though, is probably Dorial Green-Beckham. If he develops into the talent that everyone expects him to, he could single-handedly make this offense decent, and make the team better than expected.

12. Auburn Other than the Cam Newton season, Auburn has been going in the wrong direction since 2007, hence why the Tigers fired Gene Chizik. The defense looks to have a good number of guys back this year, but the offense does not. Gus Malzahn may have a reputation for being an offensive guru, but it will probably take more than one year to get everything off and running.

13. Kentucky The Wildcats have a lot of momentum going for them on the recruiting trail right now. Too bad that isn’t going to do much to improve the product they are putting on the field this year…

14. Arkansas– Brett Bielema takes over a team that was not particularly good at the game of football last season, which is too bad because that’s kind of what football teams do, you know: play football. Bielema’s squad also returns 18% fewer starters than the average FBS team in 2012, and they still play in the SEC. Basically, don’t expect much out of this Razorback team this season.

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