Alright my friends, it’s finally here! What you’ve all been waiting for... the Deep Fried SEC Preview!
We’ve got a lot to get to here in what is sure to be a banner year for the SEC. Seriously, how many coaches are on the hot seat headed into 2017? Sumlin, Malzahn, whoever the hell is at Ole Miss, Butch, BERT!, Coach Oeaux?, what’s his name in Mizzou? Yeah it could get ugly; or it could be like last year when there wasn’t much turnover.
EXCEPT!!!!! A certain coach in Oxford who was using a University paid phone to call hookers (doesn’t matter, had sex). Seriously, it’s been several weeks since that happened and it’s still as hilarious as it is insane. I can’t wait to watch Ole Miss defend him when it comes to the NCAA while having to deal with the repercussions of the whole our university indirectly paid for hookers thing.
On the field last year not much was different. Alabama won the conference (again) and Tennessee failed to deliver on lofty expectations (again). Kentucky was in the driver’s seat for a minute in the East. Auburn turned into a defense first football team (I guess Gus is an defensive genius now). Texas A&M fooled everyone again until they actually played real teams, and LSU finally fired Miles only to hire someone who actually has less of an offensive pedigree.
Oh yeah, Jim McElwain humped a shark.
Alright, let’s get to 2017. Here are the conference champion odds:
- Alabama -150
Texas A&M +4000
Mississippi State +7500
South Carolina +10000
So yeah, Alabama is a less than even money favorite to win the SEC yet again. (Full disclosure for those of you that don’t already know, I’m an Alabama grad and therefore a huge homer. I try and keep it out of my gambling but, you know, stuff happens from time to time) I am absolutely blown away by the fact that LSU is the second favorite in the conference. I guess the folks in the desert like that Ed Orgeron hire a lot more than I do. Florida at +800 is tremendous value if you ask me. If they get somewhat decent QB play (asking a lot based on the past few years, I know) they should be a threat. Georgia is another decent value as I think it’ll be them or the Gators in the East and technically anything can happen in a one game scenario in the Championship Game.
Let’s fast forward a bit to week one in the SEC. Since no one from the conference is playing this weekend, we don’t have to rush into anything.
The marquee matchup is Alabama vs Florida State in Atlanta, but I think I covered that pretty well in our ACC preview.
Michigan and Florida should be a really good game in Jerryworld and I’m big on the Gators in that one.
LSU vs BYU is the only other game of note on that Saturday. LSU is sitting around -12 right now, and I’m not exactly big on the Tigers at that number. If it gets to 13 or 13.5, I’ll be all over BYU. If the Orgeron experiment is going to work out, I think it’s going to take it a while to get going and BYU will offer a good value in this game.
UCLA and Texas A&M square off on Sunday, and I’ll probably roll with the Aggies on that one. Tennessee and Georgia Tech face off Monday night in Atlanta. The Vols are currently a 3.5 point favorite in that one, but to be honest I haven’t dug enough in to that one to give you an accurate pick.
Let’s move on to my early team to back and my early team to fade from the SEC.
Mississippi State is a team I will definitely be higher on than most heading into 2017. I think outside of Saban, Dan Mullen is the top coach in the SEC. Unfortunately they continue the timeless tradition of not actually playing anyone out of conference so you’ll have to wait til week three against LSU to get some decent value out of the StarkVegas boys.
Since State is not going to offer anything of note the first few weeks, I’ll give you another team that might actually present some value. South Carolina is another team I’ve got some faith in to start the season off. Muschamp and the boys open with NC State at home then they go to Missouri and back home for Kentucky, followed by yet another home game against La Tech. I’m calling it now, the Cocks start 4-0 so run and take that to the window. Jake Brantley will be a breakout player nationally this year and I think he’ll help them win some games they definitely wouldn’t without him.
LSU is my early fade candidate from the SEC. As you might can tell by now I don’t exactly love the Orgeron hire in Baton Rouge. I think he’ll be alright for them, but this is a football program that is capable of so much more than that. With all the talent that’s in Louisiana you should win 10+ games annually, and I don’t see O as being that guy to get them there. They’ve got BYU week one then a week off against UT Chattanooga and then on the road at Mississippi State. Don’t be surprised if they come out of there with a loss. I think they’ll go 0-2 ATS in the two games that matter in that stretch which will be an opportunity for us to make some money.
Season Win Totals Time:
Florida Over 8 Wins (-155) - Yeah, go ahead and lock this one in. This would be my Stone Cold Steve Austin Lock of the SEC but I want to mix it up a bit for you. The schedule isn’t easy with Michigan and Florida State out of conference but I still think they can manage at least 9 wins. Hopefully McElwain will keep his pants on for the duration of the season.
Missouri Under 6.5 Wins (-150) - I know I’m going with favorites here but holy hell does Vegas really expect Mizzou to go to a bowl game? Spoiler alert, not happening! They’re on the road at Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. Plus their West game is Auburn, and they might actually not be terrible this year! Mizzou is not going bowling this year, hence them falling easily under the 6.5 wins.
Mississippi State Over 5.5 Wins (-155) - Again, another chalky pick, but I really don’t care. Nick Fitzgerald is a Dak Prescott clone (okay he might not be quite as good, but he’ll be good enough), and the defense should be improved. The schedule isn’t great but this team is good enough to get to a bowl game, and not at 5-7 like they did last year!
BONUS: Arkansas Under 7 Wins (Even) - I think the gig may finally be up in Hogville. I’m not super high on the Hogs this year, and think this could even be ole Bert’s final season in Arkansas, too. The Hogs went 7-5 last year and then cost us an absolutely atrocious beat in the Belk Bowl. The schedule is tougher this year, and the offense hasn’t evolved and the defense is kind of the same ole same ole, too. 7-5 might be the ceiling here, and I’m thinking 6-6 is more likely.
Stone Cold Steve Austin Lock of the SEC.
Florida to win the SEC East (+140) - YUP! I’m officially feeling frisky in regards to locks now. I still think Georgia is a year away, and the rest of the East is a dumpster fire (Hey Vols!). Florida has to replace a lot on defense, but they’ve recruited well and the Zaire/Franks combination at QB will surprise some folks. I think we’ll have another SEC Championship Game rematch in Atlanta this year.
2017 SEC Champion
I hate to go straight chalk again on this one, but I really don’t think there’s anyone on Alabama’s level talent-wise. So once again, Alabama (-150) is my pick to win the SEC. The offense should be improved from a year ago (if Daboll can pick off where Kiffin left off) when they started 14-0 and lost a heartbreaker in the national title game. If they can get by Florida State in week one I think they’ll have another undefeated regular season. I can honestly say this isn’t too much of a homer pick, I just don’t see another team that can knock off the Tide.