Best Case - Worst Case Scenarios
Predicting in August how a season will finish in December ... well, futile is the word.
Still, with preseason camps for the 2009 season getting underway, let's examine best case-worst case scenarios for the various conferences. We'll start with the SEC ... specifically, the SEC West which most expect to be a three-team race. The SEC East will be posted within a couple of days, and subsequent conferences will follow.
Teams are listed in predicted order of finish, with overall and conference records projected.
Prediction: 11-1 (7-1)
Best Case: 12-0
Worst Case: 9-3
Comment: Tide schedule sets up nicely for a run at another undefeated regular season. The most likely loss would come at Oxford against Ole Miss, but the Tide rolls to the SEC title game.
Prediction: 10-2 (6-2)
Best Case: 11-1
Worst Case: 8-4
Comment: Tigers look to carryover momentum of Chick-fil-A Bowl win, but need solid quarterback play and fewer defensive breakdowns. Let's say Jordan Jefferson provides the former, and new coordinator John Chavis influences the latter. Most likely losses ... Florida and at Alabama.
3. Ole Miss
Prediction: 9-3 (5-3)
Best Case: 11-1
Worst Case: 7-5
Comment: The Rebels are on everybody's radar this season after a strong finish, and they have the most favorable schedule in the division. Still, not sure the talent pool is as deep as that in Baton Rouge or Tuscaloosa. The Rebs pull off the big win over Bama, but fall to LSU and lose two from among South Carolina, at Vandy, Arkansas, at Auburn, and Tennessee.
Prediction: 8-4 (4-4)
Best Case: 9-3
Worst Case: 5-7
Comment: Like many, I'm picking the Hogs to be this year's version of Ole Miss. They have the talented QB transfer, some playmakers on offense, and are hungry. They also have a brutal road schedule (including a game at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington vs. Texas A&M), so eight wins may be optimistic. Probable losses are road games at Bama, Florida, Ole Miss, and LSU, but let's say Petrino's Pigs win all the rest and go to a nice bowl.
Prediction: 6-6 (2-6)
Best Case: 7-5
Worst Case: 4-8
Comment: Before we write off the Tigers as some 3-9 squad, keep in mind there is always talent and effort on the Plains. Still, calling for a 6-6 record (with all six losses in conference) means Auburn would need to beat Louisiana Tech and West Virginia ... neither is a gimme.
6. Mississippi State
Prediction: 2-10 (0-8)
Best Case: 4-8
Worst Case: 1-11
Comment: New head coach Dan Mullen walks into the toughest position in the division. After opening with a win over Jackson State, the Bullies could feasibly lose the rest (with tough non-conference games against Georgia Tech, Houston, and Middle Tennessee). Let's give them the MTSU win, but that's about it.