NCAA FB

Looking into the SEC West crystal ball

Share This Story

Clay Travis

Clay Travis has been a columnist for CBSSports.com, FanHouse, and an editor/writer for Deadspin. He's written two books, Dixieland Delight and On Rocky Top, hosts a daily radio show in Nashville and appears on FS1's "FOX College Saturday."

MORE>>
 
   
 

I'm headed to Las Vegas this weekend to make my annual over/under and BCS title bets for college football.

I'll update you with my decisions once I make them, but in the meantime I've been looking at the SEC schedule and trying to think probabilistically about what I believe will happen this season. So it's time for OKTC to dive into each SEC school and predict what I see for the season.

GO DEEPER!

For true college football fun, news, analysis and more, check out all the latest from Clay Travis at Outkick The Coverage.

Starting with the SEC West:

I've broken down each team's schedule using five different categories: definite wins, likely wins, definite losses, likely losses, and toss-ups.

So how do I define those games.

Definite wins are games that should have spreads of 17+. It's possible that a team could lose these games, but it's incredibly unlikely. If teams lose these games you're probably heading for a Gene Chizik-like implosion.

Likely wins are those games that a team should win, but it's not a slam dunk. You're somewhere around a 8-to-14 point favorite in the game.

Toss-ups are games I'm forecasting to have a spread of a touchdown or less. These are basically games where a play or two here or there has a decent chance of determining the outcome. I've also put a few games that will likely have a margin of more than seven points in the toss-up category. For instance, LSU at Alabama will probably see 'Bama as a touchdown or more favorite, but given LSU and Alabama's history of late, would it really shock anyone if LSU went into Tuscaloosa and found a way to win? I don't think so, hence some of my toss-ups are a function of history, coaching, and my own feelings about the match-ups.

Figure that a toss-up is close to a 65-35 outcome at worst. That is, if the game was played 100 times the underdog would win around 35 of the games. Many of these toss-ups are much closer to 50-50 splits, where one team or the other will be a field goal or less of a favorite.

Likely losses are the reverse of the likely wins, the team that is likely to lose will be an 8-to-14 point underdog.

Definite losses are games where a team will be a three score or more underdog.

As a preliminary, no matter how many times I look at these SEC West schedules it's hard for me to see the loser of 'Bama at A&M on Sept. 14 winning the SEC West. If 'Bama beats A&M there is zero doubt the Tide will roll into Atlanta. If A&M beats 'Bama it's hard for me to see the Aggies losing at Ole Miss and at LSU, the only two games on the Aggies' schedule I think they could lose with a healthy Johnny Manziel. At worst I think the Aggies would split those games and head to Atlanta with the tiebreak over the Tide.

I'm not picking who I think will win this game yet -- who knows what could happen in the remaining offseason -- which is why my top two teams in the SEC West have the same 11-1 record right now.

WHO SETS THE CURVE?

Check out the FOXiest fans from schools across the country and tweet us your photo.

By the way, it's early, but don't discount the possibility of a rematch between A&M and Alabama in the BCS title game. Seriously. You'd need top teams like Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, Clemson, whoever emerges in the Big 12, and Florida State to lose, but is that really unbelievable? With the exception of Ohio State all of these teams play several tough games.

It's very possible that the only game either Alabama or A&M loses all season is this Sept. 14 contest. With a long time to recover from that loss, it's possible they could end up playing twice. Especially if it's a tight game decided late.

You'll also see that teams like LSU, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State have the most potential swings. LSU is the wildest, with a potential high end of 12-0 or a potential low end of 6-6. I've split the baby there and figured the Tigers will finish 9-3.

Okay, now that everyone will agree with every bit of my hypotheses we go:

Alabama: 11-1

Definite wins (8):

Colorado State, Georgia State, at Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, at Mississippi State, Chattanooga, at Auburn

Likely wins (2):

Virginia Tech (neutral), Ole Miss

Definite losses (0):

none

Likely losses (0):

none

Toss-ups (2):

at Texas A&M, LSU

Texas A&M 11-1

Definite Wins (7):

Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, at Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi State, UTEP

Likely wins:

Vandy, at Missouri

Definite losses (0)

none

Likely losses (0)

none

Toss-ups:

Alabama, at Ole Miss, at LSU

LSU 9-3

Definite Wins (5):

UAB, Kent State, Auburn, Furman, Arkansas

Likely wins (1):

Mississippi State

Definite losses (0):

none

Likely losses (0):

none

Toss-ups (6):

TCU, at Georgia, Florida, Ole Miss, at Alabama, Texas A&M

Ole Miss: 7-5

Definite wins (3):

Southeast Missouri, Idaho, Troy

Likely wins (3):

at Auburn, Arkansas, Missouri

Definite losses (0):

None

Likely losses (2):

at Texas, at Alabama

Toss-ups (4):

at Vandy, Texas A&M, LSU, at Mississippi State

Auburn: 6-6

Definite Wins (2):

Western Carolina, Florida Atlantic

Likely Wins (1):

Washington State

Definite losses (4):

at LSU, at Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama

Likely losses (1):

Ole Miss

Toss-ups (4):

Arkansas State, Mississippi State, Arkansas, at Tennessee

Mississippi State 6-6

Definite wins:

Alcorn State, Troy, Bowling Green

Likely wins:

Kentucky

Definite losses:

at South Carolina, at Texas A&M, Alabama,

Likely losses:

Oklahoma State, LSU

Toss-ups:

at Auburn, at Arkansas, Ole Miss

Arkansas: 4-8

Definite wins (1):

Samford

Likely wins (2):

Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Miss

Definite losses (5):

Texas A&M, at Florida, South Carolina, at Alabama, at LSU

Likely losses (1):

Ole Miss

Toss-ups (3):

Rutgers, Auburn, Mississippi State

...

To see my SEC East predictions, click here.

In the meantime, dive in and react.

I'm 100% correct, right?

Tagged: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi State, Mississippi, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas

More Stories From Clay Travis

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash