We have been covering SEC football this week and today we take a look at how the two new additions to the SEC will perform in their inaugural season.
Question # 4: How will the two new additions to the SEC perform this season?
Kevin – College Football Zealots: I think it’s going to be rocky. Neither of these teams lit up the Big 12 so it’s unlikely that they will come into the SEC and immediately compete for SEC titles. I really liked Missouri last year and they burned me by starting 4-5. Granted they lost to some tough teams (OU, K-State, Okie State and Baylor) but they also iced their own kicker in a loss to Arizona State. Missouri has the talent to compete in the East but I don’t think they will be good enough defensively to keep up with the Joneses this season. That being said, they will beat some teams they aren’t supposed to.
I believe it will be rougher for Texas A&M this year. They have a new head coach, a new QB and are installing a new offensive scheme. They also play in the SEC West. I think the Aggies go 2-6 or 3-5 in conference depending on who wins the Missouri/A&M game.
Lisa – So Fried Sports: I’m picking Missouri to finish 3rd in the East. Gary Pinkel returns his high acclaimed quarterback, James Franklin, who finished last season 2,865 passing yards, a 63.8 completion percentage, 21 passing touchdowns, 981 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. If Franklin is 100% healthy after having shoulder surgery this spring his numbers should get even better. More good news for Coach Pinkel — he may have the best defensive front in the East. The bad news — his offensive line lacks experience. Still, the schedule sets up nicely for the Tigers to have a respectable inaugural season in the SEC.
I’m picking Texas A&M to finish 5th in the West. A new conference isn’t the only unknown for the Aggies right now. They have a new head coach in Kevin Sumlin, who replaced Mike Sherman. It’ll be fun to watch Sumlin’s pass-oriented spread attack take on the monster defenses of the SEC. He was an interesting hire considering the Aggies had no problem scoring points. What they did have a hard time with was stopping points being scored on them AND finishing games.
Offensively, A&M had to say farewell to quarterback Ryan Tannehill and tailback Cyrus Gray. But the good news is the team will have a veteran o-line returning, which should help its offense stay on track. On the flip side, the defense may have some difficulty, even with an experienced group of linebackers returning. The Aggies young secondary will be fiercely tested in the West going against All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson and a very good passing quarterback in AJ McCarron.
John – MrSEC: Missouri lands in a muddled SEC East where any number of teams could wind up between 6 and 8 wins. The Tigers — if quarterback James Franklin is healthy — should be able to move the ball against most SEC teams. But against juggernaut defenses like Alabama, the going will be tough.
Texas A&M is breaking in a new coach, a new pass-happy system, and a new quarterback. All in the West Division. Ouch. That won’t be easy. Especially considering the fact that Kevin Sumlin still says any one of four different guys could start at QB. Show me a team with multiple good quarterbacks and I’ll show you a team that doesn’t have one GREAT quarterback.
The Saturday Edge – This is a tough one. I think they are both going to struggle in their inaugural season in the SEC. I don’t believe either defense will be up to SEC standards and I don’t think either school got any favors from the schedule-makers. I am a big fan of teams that can run the football, and despite Sumlin’s reputation as a spread Guru, A & M’s offensive strength is their running backs and offensive line. They play each other the final game of the season, and since the Aggies get Missouri in College Station, I’ll take them to pull out the win and earn a bowl berth.
Join us tomorrow for our final installment of SEC football. We’ll be looking at which teams are more likely to cover the spread in the South Carolina @ Vanderbilt game and the Alabama vs Michigan game.
Get more great college football analysis over at Saturday Edge.