Making 2015 SEC football predictions

Published 5:34 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The college football season starts Thursday night with 18 games, so it’s now or never to make predictions for the upcoming year.

I had a lot of fun making predictions in a column last year and even nailed a couple of picks. I predicted that Mississippi State would be the SEC’s surprise team and would win nine games. The Bulldogs spent a lot of the season ranked No. 1 in the college football playoff rankings and went 10-3.

Others weren’t as good. Let’s see if we can go five for five this year. Here are my predictions for the 2015 college football season:

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1. Mississippi State will again be the surprise of the SEC.

If it worked once, why not try again, right? The Bulldogs were picked dead last in the SEC West in the conference’s media poll and I really don’t get it. Mississippi State lost a lot on defense, but Dak Prescott enters the season as the only proven commodity at quarterback in the SEC. When was the last time the SEC’s best quarterback finished dead last in his division? The Bulldogs should go 7-5 or 8-4 and will not finish last in the SEC West.

2. Arkansas will not live up to preseason hype.

After a strong finish to last season, Arkansas is the trendy pick to beat Alabama and Auburn out for the SEC West. With no offense to quarterback Brandon Allen, who rarely turns the ball over, I don’t think Arkansas throws it well enough to be a top 15 team this year.

3. There will be no rematch in the SEC championship game.

Only six times in 23 years of the SEC Championship game have we had a rematch in the SEC title game, so I’m going to stick with that prediction here. That wipes out any chance of an Alabama-Georgia or an Auburn-Georgia SEC title game — which were the media’s top two choices. I’m taking Auburn to play Florida in the SEC championship game. The Gators avoid both Alabama and Auburn (Georgia plays both) and get Ole Miss and Tennessee in The Swamp.

4. Auburn wins the SEC.

I like the Tigers because I trust quarterback Jeremy Johnson more than Alabama’s Jacob Coker and because Auburn gets Alabama and Georgia at home.

5. Auburn-Oregon title game.

The four playoff teams in college football will be 1) Ohio State, 2) Auburn, 3) Oklahoma and 4) Oregon. I’ll take Auburn to beat Oregon to win it all.