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SEC Football: Every Team's Best- and Worst-Case Scenario for 2013

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJanuary 8, 2017

SEC Football: Every Team's Best- and Worst-Case Scenario for 2013

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    The SEC just won a seventh national championship and as we inch closer to the 2013 season, many teams from this conference will again be considered title contenders. But even with some of the most talented teams in the country, there is always a worst-case scenario that can take place and cripple a season.

    Every team gets hit with the injury bug at some point. Some players that were considered to be next up don't always pan out the way scouts had hoped for. Coaches can't get the most out of their players and have a hard to time creating a successful game plan. Things like this take place when it was just not your year to be on top.

    And then you have the best case scenario when everything seems to be going your way and the stars are aligned. Everybody is playing well on both sides of the ball and upsets seem to be taking place on a weekly basis, as surpassing expectations puts the program back on the map.

    Each team in the SEC will experience its own path when the 2013 season begins to roll around.

    While the old college football season may have just ended, here are the early best- and worst-case scenarios for each team in this powerhouse conference.

Alabama

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Winning a third national championship would be the best-case scenario and isn't something that is too far-fetched. A.J. McCarron continues to play like one of the best quarterbacks in the country, managing an offense that has the ability to score at will, while a defense continues to improve on last year’s efforts. This would be the dream for next season, but it also raises the expectations out in Tuscaloosa with the team that is returning.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    A revamped offensive line has a hard time gelling and McCarron has very little protection, creating a disaster on offense. The defense takes a step backwards and doesn't create nearly enough game-changing plays that helped saved them in last year’s championship run. Similar to what happened in the 2010 season, players get comfortable with the success and hype, and fall victim to a couple of losses on the year, falling out of BCS bowl contention.

Arkansas

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    Best-Case Scenario

    New head coach Bret Bielema takes some of that coaching magic that led Wisconsin to three straight Rose Bowls and instantly turns Arkansas into a winner. Now even in the best-case scenario, you can't expect anything big, but anything is an improvement over last season. Right? With so many holes on this team, particularly on offense, and the brutal SEC schedule, the best case would be five or six wins.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    A repeat of last season is by far the worst it can get. With a new head coach and nearly gutted at the skill positions on offense, things could get ugly again for the Razorbacks. The good news is that if things do end similar as they did last year, it won't be nearly as tough for Arkansas fans to swallow with the expectations being much lower this time around.

Auburn

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Gus Malzahn actually brings some excitement back to Auburn when he installs his up-tempo offense and the Tigers improve drastically on that side of the ball. A defense that remains much of the same a year ago also improves and is no longer getting scored on every other drive. With a few pieces in place and a brilliant mind running the team, Auburn surprises a few people and ends up winning seven to eight games.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Even with Malzahn calling the shots, Auburn still struggles to find a starting quarterback that is capable of leading the offense. Turnovers continue to be a problem for the Tigers and the defense can't seem to get off the field without getting thumped by the opposing team. It ends up being another tough year for Auburn, as the transition from the Gene Chizik era continues.

Florida

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Florida finally finds those playmakers on offense and quarterback Jeff Driskel starts benefiting because of it. Despite losing many key players on defense, due to solid recruiting and depth on the roster, that side of the ball doesn't miss a beat and continues to play lights-out. Even with everything playing in the Gators favor, a return to the BCS remains difficult with a tough schedule ahead. Florida continues to show improvement, but falls just short of actually taking that next step.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Driskel shows everybody that he is not the quarterback of the future and, combined with offensive coordinator Breant Pease's bizarre play calls, Florida struggles again on offense. The defense suffers a major blow with the key guys leaving for the next level and the youngsters have a hard time replacing them. Florida ends up losing four or five games and head coach Will Muschamp goes back on the hot seat. 

Georgia

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Georgia ends up having the best offense in college football with 10 starters on that side of the ball returning. An experienced front seven that will be without Jarvis Jones ends up keeping the defense afloat and keeping the team in games. Head coach Mark Richt finally shows that he is capable of winning the big games and Georgia ends up back in the SEC title game with another chance to silence the critics.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Aaron Murray still has trouble to get over the hump in big games and folds in some of the bigger matchups of the year. An inexperienced secondary gets burned for big plays and the Bulldogs end up playing catch-up for majority of the year. The past continues to haunt Richt and he just can't seem to reach that major success to be considered an elite head coach.

Kentucky

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    Best-Case Scenario

    First-year head coach Mark Stoops takes a young team and is able to win more than the two games that Joker Phillips led the Wildcats to last year. The offense that has the majority of the starters returning ends up averaging at least 20 points a game and Stoops is able to slightly fix the defensive side like he has throughout his career. Kentucky ends up missing the bowl season for the third straight year, but the season ends up being much more exciting than a year ago.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Stoops shows he is nothing like his brother and isn't capable of inspiring this team from week to week. The Wildcats once again lose every game in conference play and the head coach ends up leaving at the end of the year for the latest gig that opens up. And the cycle continues for Kentucky.

LSU

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    Best-Case Scenario

    The terrific recruiting keeps LSU ahead of the pack on the defensive side of the ball, while Zach Mettenberger plays with a little more consistency this time around. Most importantly though, head coach Les Miles stops making boneheaded decisions on the sidelines and doesn't do anything to end up hurting his team. Hey, this is the best-case scenario.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    The defense takes a turn for the worse with nearly the entire starting lineup leaving for the NFL. The offense continues to have a hard time producing points without a true quarterback leading the way and Miles continues to call fake field goals on fourth and 27. Oh yeah, it can get really ugly for the Tigers next season.

Mississippi State

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Tyler Russell continues to improve and develops into one of the better quarterbacks in the conference. The offense takes a step forward, while the defense is able to recover from so many players leaving. Despite having a team full of no names, the Bulldogs end up surprising in the SEC West and become that sneaky team that nobody wants to play. Dan Mullen quietly emerges as the most underrated coach in this conference.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Mullen continues to show that Mississippi State just doesn't have the elite talent to beat some of the top dogs in this conference. The program continues to lose to ranked teams and just barely limps into the bowl season like last year. With an inexperienced secondary and a very young offense, the Bulldogs seem to be the same inconsistent team from a year ago.

Missouri

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    Best-Case Scenario

    An offense that has playmakers is finally healthy and prepared with how to deal with an SEC defense. Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham helps lead the way and provides a much-needed spark for this team throughout the year. The Missouri team as a whole doesn't look like that overmatched Big 12 team like it did last year and is much more competitive, as reaching a bowl game qualifies as a success in the Tigers season year.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Missouri continues to get bullied on the offensive line and has a hard time developing any type of pass rush with the loss of defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. Quarterback James Franklin can't remain healthy, and much like last season, the offense suffers because of it. Fans begin to hit the panic button and wonder if the move to the SEC was a good one, as head coach Gary Pinkel and his job security are in serious jeopardy.

Ole Miss

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Ole Miss becomes the most improved team in the SEC. Head coach Huge Freeze shows that last season’s progress was no fluke, as the Rebels go on and become that dangerous team that is capable of pulling off upsets left and right. An offense that returns all of its skill positions finishes in the Top 25 in total offense, while defensive coordinator Dave Wommack continues to get creative with the play calls and gets the most out of his players. Ole Miss wins eight or nine games and shocks the college football world.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Quarterback Bo Wallace continues to make bad decisions with the football and the offense never has a chance to hit its full potential. A younger defense remains more of the same as last season and can't simply do enough to put the team over the top. The Rebels show signs of being great at times, but when it gets ugly, it gets ugly. Mississippi wins six or seven games and it isn't considered good enough with the high expectations that last year set.

South Carolina

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    Best-Case Scenario

    The South Carolina defense continues to hold up as one of the conference’s best, led by a veteran secondary and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Quarterback Connor Shaw finally has that breakout season like Taylor Martinez had last year, and becomes one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. Steve Spurrier gets South Carolina in the SEC title game with a chance to really put this program over the top.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    The inexperience at the linebacker position really cripples the defense and costs this team a couple of games late down the stretch. The inconsistency on the offensive side of the ball also doesn't help matters, which costs the team games against Georgia and Clemson. South Carolina makes a bowl game, but fails to get over the hump for the third season in a row.

Tennessee

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    Best-Case Scenario

    The veteran offensive line keeps the Tennessee offense alive and kicking, while a defense that returns majority of its starters takes a few steps forward after a dismal performance last year. New head coach Butch Jones shows that he can turn a program around the way he has done in the past, and finally somebody is able to give Volunteer fans hope. A tough schedule ahead doesn't make things easy, but a bowl appearance has folks in Tennessee going nuts. 

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    With nearly every big name on the offense no longer on the roster, the potential to score points takes a complete nosedive. Despite the experienced defense, the unit continues to give up touchdowns at a ridiculous rate and Tennessee misses the bowl season for the third year in a row. Volunteer fans are then left wondering if things will ever start looking up.  

Texas A&M

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Johnny Manziel continues to play out of his mind as a sophomore and ends up winning a second Heisman Trophy. The Aggies get off to a hot start by beating Alabama earlier in the year and the momentum trickles down throughout the season. Texas A&M ends up winning the SEC and represents the conference with a chance to win yet another national title. Everybody is then left wondering how the success happened so quickly.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Defenses discover how to defend that sneaky little quarterback, especially without that wonderful offensive line protecting him. The Aggies end up bombing with a difficult SEC West schedule and the defense takes a hit with many of its top contributors from a year ago moved on. Texas A&M is then looked at as a fluke and will be left battling for respect in 2014.

Vanderbilt

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    Best-Case Scenario

    Vanderbilt continues to make the amazing progress under head coach James Franklin by winning eight or nine games. This includes winning at least one of the three tough road games on the schedule (Texas A&M, South Carolina or Florida). With a big and physical offensive line, and a defensive line that is capable of holding its own, the Commodores continue to surprise its peers in this conference.

     

     

    Worst-Case Scenario

    The offense can't find an identity with Jordan Rodgers and Zac Stacy no longer around. Points are hard to come by and Vanderbilt ends up getting smoked with an improved SEC schedule on tap. After all, this has to happen to this program at some point, correct? I mean, Vanderbilt can't just keep winning every season. Eventually you figure this team will get exposed and it will become the Vanderbilt program everybody used to laugh at.

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