2019 SEC Bowl/Season prediction
Published 6:10 am Thursday, June 6, 2019
The SEC is widely regarded as the best conference in college football. With so many great teams all in one place, it’s a hard point to argue. While there are a few teams in the rebuilding process, others are favored to win the national championship.
Alabama — Currently listed as a co-favorite to win the national championship, Alabama is no stranger to the big stage. The Crimson Tide have won five national championships under current head coach Nick Saban. With the dynasty Saban has built in Tuscaloosa, recruits flock to the school in droves. With an offense led by Tua Tungaviola, coupled with the nation’s best group of receivers, Alabama is poised for another great season. Prediction: 13-0; Peach Bowl victory; National Champions.
Arkansas — After a 2-10 campaign in 2018, the Arkansas Razorbacks are hoping to make vast improvements in the 2019 season. The Razorbacks will find some relief in Texas A&M transfer quarterback Mike Starkel but still lack depth and consistency on both lines. Prediction: 4-8; no bowl game.
Auburn — Led by one of the most potent defenses in the nation, Auburn is hoping to bounce back from what was a disappointing 2018 season. The Tigers started last season ranked inside the top-10, but finished 8-5. Auburn’s defensive line ranks as one of the best in the country. Defensive tackle Derrick Brown will help many quarterbacks find their way to the turf this season. If the Tigers’ offense can complement the defense, they may very well be on the cusp of a New Year’s Six Bowl. Prediction: 10-3; Outback Bowl victory.
Florida — With Dan Mullen’s history of player development, the Gators are expected to make a push for the Eastern division. After finishing 10-3 in 2018 and returning most of their major role players, including quarterback Filipe Franks, Florida has a chance to catch the Bulldogs and overtake the East. Prediction: 11-2; College Football Playoff, Peach Bowl loss to Alabama.
Georgia — As the favorite to repeat as the divisional champions, the Bulldogs will have a tougher hill to climb if they expect to do the same this season. However, Georgia is seemingly loaded at every position on the field. Head coach Kirby Smart has done a remarkable job at pulling talent into Athens. With Florida looming, the Bulldogs may very well slip up this season and finish second in the SEC East. Prediction: 10-3; Sugar Bowl victory.
Kentucky — As the surprise team of the 2018 season, the Wildcats are looking to replicate their success. Mark Stoops has done a remarkable job in developing the Kentucky program. After losing arguably the best pass rusher in all of college football in Josh Allen, and the school record holder in rush yards in Benny Snell, the Wildcats will look to quarterback Terry Wilson to provide a much needed spark in the locker room. With an offensive line that should rank among the best in the conference, the big blue has a solid shot at another offseason trip. Prediction: 8-5; Birmingham Bowl victory.
LSU — After finishing second in the SEC West last season, the LSU Tigers are hoping to again contend for the Western crown. LSU showed flashes of potency on offense last season as they averaged just over 32 points per game in their 2018 campaign. There’s a lot to look forward to in Baton Rouge with the Tigers returning quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow proved that he has the capability to compete with the best in the SEC last season. However, with a tough schedule, the Tigers will have their work cut out for them. Prediction: 10-3; Las Vegas Bowl victory.
Ole Miss — With their bowl game ban ending this season, the Rebels are hoping to make it back to the postseason. Led by former walk-on player turned head coach Matt Luke, things are starting to feel a little more positive in Oxford. With new offensive and defensive coordinators and having to replace so many offensive pieces, Ole Miss may find themselves on the bubble of making it to the postseason. Prediction: 5-7; no bowl game.
Mississippi State — The Bulldogs hope to replicate their defensive numbers from 2018 in the coming season. However, losing eight of their 11 starters on defense from last season may prove to be an obstacle. As well as replenishing the defense, losing Nick Fitzgerald at quarterback will be the hardest challenge for Mississippi State in the coming season. Prediction: 7-6; Texas Bowl loss.
Missouri — With Clemson transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant leading the helm for the Tigers this season, Drew Lock won’t be missed as badly as presumed. Missouri also has one of the best offensive lines in the conference to keep Bryant off the turf and no shortage of talent at receiver. Unless otherwise granted a waiver, the Tigers won’t be going bowling this season. However, they should still make a push for third place in the SEC East. Prediction: 8-4; Postseason ban, no bowl.
South Carolina — The Gamecocks return starting quarterback Jake Bentley, as well as receiver Bryan Edwards. Continuity on offense will be instrumental in South Carolina’s success, or lack-there-of, in the 2019 season. With Clemson and North Carolina lurking on the schedule outside of the conference, as well as a brutal conference schedule, South Carolina has a tough slate ahead of them this season. Prediction: 5-7; no bowl game.
Tennessee — After a 2018 campaign in which the Volunteers showed visible development, Jeremy Pruitt is hoping for a substantial increase in success. With a good recruiting class in the 2019 cycle and the addition of former Georgia play-caller Jim Chaney, the Vols have put the right pieces together to make a splash in the SEC this season. With two big wins against ranked opponents last season, it seems that Pruitt has the team buying into the process. If Tennessee can remain healthy, they may see one of their best seasons in recent memory. Prediction: 9-4; Liberty Bowl victory.
Texas A&M — Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies raked in the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class in the 2019 cycle. Texas A&M has an absolutely brutal schedule with Clemson, home against Alabama, then on the road at Georgia and LSU to end the season. If the Aggies can win at least two of those games, they may end up in the top-two of the SEC West. Prediction: 10-3; Citrus Bowl victory.
Vanderbilt — The Commodores return one of the conference’s leading rushers (Ke’Shawn Vaughn), receivers (Kalija Lipscomb) and tight ends (Jared Pinkney) but lose their starting quarterback in Kyle Shurmur. With limited depth and talent, Vanderbilt is likely to struggle with the gauntlet of the SEC. Prediction: 3-9; no bowl game.