SEC Win Total Projections for 2014

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SEC Win Total Projections for 2014

The start of the 2014 college football season is still over 80 days away, but there is no shortage of news to fill the offseason in the SEC. The preview magazines for 2014 are already on newsstands, and Vegas isn’t far behind with its projections for the upcoming season.

CG Technology has released its win total projections for 2014, with Alabama picked the highest at the over/under of 10.5. The lowest team in the projections was Kentucky at just 3.5.

As expected, the East was a tossup. South Carolina checks in at the over/under of 9.5, while Georgia is on the board at nine. CG Technology also thinks Florida makes a big jump in the win total this year, as the Gators are placed at eight.

There is plenty of time to refine predictions over the next few months, but with the release of the win total projections, let’s take a look at the early thoughts on the over/under projections.

Athlon’s Braden Gall (@BradenGall) and Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven) give their early thoughts on CG Technology’s projections for 2014.

SEC Win Total Projections for 2014: Over, Under or Push
 

East Division

Florida
Opening Number: 8

Braden Gall: Under
A four-game improvement isn’t out of the question and this offense should be dramatically improved. But Alabama, Florida State and LSU are just the tip of the scheduling iceberg in Gainesville this year. I’ll say 7-5.

Steven Lassan: Under
Under, but not by much. Florida has too much talent to finish 4-8 again, and the Gators should have better luck in the injury department. New coordinator Kurt Roper should help Jeff Driskel develop into a solid quarterback, and Florida should be solid on defense once again. Crossover games against LSU and Alabama keep the Gators’ win total under eight.
 

Georgia
Opening Number: 9

Braden Gall: Push
Two tough non-conference games and some brutal SEC tests (at South Carolina, Auburn, Florida, at Mizzou) means that the Bulldogs could win the East at 9-3 even if South Carolina has a better overall record.

Steven Lassan: Over
Georgia is my pick to win the SEC East this year, and I think the Bulldogs could push for 10 or 11 wins. Road games against Missouri and South Carolina are swing dates, and the annual trip to Jacksonville against Florida is never easy. The addition of Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator, along with a healthy Todd Gurley at running back is enough for Georgia to get to 10 victories.
 

Kentucky
Opening Number: 3.5

Braden Gall: Over
The schedule is brutal, but the overall talent is improving for the Wildcats and this coaching staff has to be good for two more wins, right? Only one SEC win likely gets Kentucky to four wins.

Steven Lassan: Over
I see three guaranteed wins for Kentucky – Tennessee-Martin, Ohio and ULM. On paper, it’s hard to find a win in SEC play, but the Wildcats made progress under Mark Stoops last year and should take another step forward in 2014. I don’t know which team it will be, but I think Kentucky beats someone in the SEC this year.
 

Missouri
Opening Number: 8

Braden Gall: Push
I really want to pick Mizzou to win the East but a couple of tough road games temper my expectations . I will take the push, however, due to a very weak non-conference slate. A 5-3 SEC mark wins the over on this bet.

Steven Lassan: Push
Missouri’s slate isn’t overwhelming, but it seems there are a lot of swing games. The Tigers play at Texas A&M and Tennessee late in the year – two teams that will improve as the season progresses. Could easy take the over here if Missouri finds a replacement for receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.
 

South Carolina
Opening Number: 9.5

Braden Gall: Over
There are holes to plug on both sides (QB/DL) but this is a great year to rebuild in the East and the Gamecocks schedule isn’t overly taxing. South Carolina gets a lot of key games at home.

Steven Lassan: Over
Over, but it’s close. Road dates against Florida and Auburn will be challenging, and I like Georgia to win in Columbia this year. Even with the departure of quarterback Connor Shaw and a couple of key losses on the defensive line, South Carolina will be a top-10 team.
 

Tennessee
Opening Number: 5

Braden Gall: Push
This is the hardest schedule in the SEC in 2014 and it includes a road trip to Oklahoma in the non-conference. Even the Vols pull an upset, Tennessee has to win three SEC games to reach bowl eligibility and that is difficult to see.

Steven Lassan: Over
Admittedly, this is going to be tough. However, as I mentioned with Kentucky, I think Tennessee beats someone we don’t expect. The Volunteers should go 3-1 in non-conference play and will need to pickup three wins against SEC foes. The late-season slate – Kentucky, Missouri and at Vanderbilt – might be the best opportunity for the Volunteers to get to six victories.
 

Vanderbilt
Opening Number: 6

Braden Gall: Over
The non-conference schedule (or lack there of) provides four locks for the Dores so a 3-5 mark in the SEC would win the over. This is the toughest conference slate Vandy has played three years but three SEC wins feels very doable for a team with 18 wins in the last two seasons.

Steven Lassan: Push
Derek Mason has a tough assignment ahead as he tries to replace James Franklin after back-to-back nine-win seasons. If LSU transfer Stephen Rivers brings stability to the quarterback position, the Commodores have the defense and rushing attack to push for seven or eight wins. Vanderbilt should go 4-0 in non-conference play, with swing games against Kentucky and Mississippi State the key to whether or not the Commodores hit the over.

 

West Division

Alabama
Opening Number: 10.5

Braden Gall: Over
But just barely. I have Bama winning the SEC and playing in the playoff so 11-1 is almost a must. Frankly, this isn’t an overly troublesome SEC schedule, especially for a team as talented as Bama.

Steven Lassan: Over
I get the preseason concerns about Alabama and the concern at quarterback. But let’s consider this: Only one of the Crimson Tide’s victories was decided by seven points or less last year (Texas A&M). Alabama still has plenty of talent, including a defense and rushing attack that will be among the best in the nation. It seems likely the Crimson Tide drops a game, but I can’t see two losses in the regular season.
 

Arkansas
Opening Number: 4.5

Braden Gall: Under
This one will be tight but with a really tough trip to Lubbock in the non-conference and another nasty slate in the SEC, it’s hard to find more than four wins for Bret Bielema and the Hogs.

Steven Lassan: Under
Much like Kentucky, Arkansas is going to show improvement in 2014. However, the SEC West is college football’s toughest division and there are few guaranteed wins. I would slot the Razorbacks in for wins against Nicholls State, Northern Illinois and UAB and bank on this team finding one in conference play. After all, Arkansas nearly beat LSU last year and lost by seven to Mississippi State on Nov. 23.
 

Auburn
Opening Number: 9.5

Braden Gall: Under
This might be the toughest team to tackle (literally) in 2014. The offense should be unstoppable again but the defense has questions and the road schedule is nasty: at Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Miss. State and Kansas State.

Steven Lassan: Over
This might be the toughest prediction on the board. Auburn’s offense is lethal even without tackle Greg Robinson and running back Tre Mason. The defense will show improvement in the second year under coordinator Ellis Johnson. However, the biggest obstacle to Auburn’s win total is the schedule. Road dates against Mississippi State, Kansas State, Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss are all games the Tigers could lose.
 

LSU
Opening Number: 9

Braden Gall: Push
The Tigers have issues under center and play a pretty nasty slate, including a neutral site game with Wisconsin. The talent is still there to post another 9-10 wins but the rest of the league appears to have caught up with Les Miles. I'd go under if I had to pick one but Vegas seems to have this one right on.

Steven Lassan: Push
Don’t see LSU hitting the over, but I could see the under. The Tigers have loads of talent, but Les Miles’ team is very young at some key spots – quarterback, defensive tackle and wide receiver. The schedule isn’t terribly taxing, but Ole Miss and Mississippi State have closed the gap and road dates against Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Florida will be a challenge.
 

Mississippi State
Opening Number: 7

Braden Gall: Push
I really want to take the over and Hail State is surging on defense and under center. But the slate is still really tough and this team rarely finishes better than 3-5 in SEC play.

Steven Lassan: Over
The Bulldogs should be 4-0 in non-conference play, which means they need to get four wins in SEC play to hit the over. That seems reasonable with crossover games against Kentucky and Vanderbilt, along with home dates against Texas A&M and Arkansas.
 

Ole Miss
Opening Number: 7.5

Braden Gall: Over
This feels like one of the safer bets on the board as the talent for Ole Miss is as strong as its ever been. It also gets some big swing games at home. An 8-4 seasons feels almost like a lock with 9-3 well within reach.

Steven Lassan: Over
There’s little doubt Ole Miss is trending in the right direction. The talent level is improving under coach Hugh Freeze, and the Rebels should have a healthy Bo Wallace at quarterback and C.J. Johnson at defensive end in 2014. Boise State and UL Lafayette are tough non-conference matchups, but with Auburn, Alabama and Mississippi State visiting Oxford, the potential is there for Ole Miss to play spoiler. 8-4 is reasonable and don’t rule out a 9-3 finish.
 

Texas A&M
Opening Number: 7

Braden Gall: Push
This number is right on. The Aggies will really struggle early in the year but could be very dangerous late in the season (especially, with all those home games). Four easy wins in the non-conference makes the under tough to see.

Steven Lassan: Push
Tempted to take the under here, but I will guess Texas A&M finds a way to get to seven victories. The defense is a huge concern and losing linebacker Darian Claiborne and tackle Isaiah Golden certainly doesn’t help. The Aggies still have a ton of talent, and the offense will score plenty. Expect Texas A&M to improve throughout the year, making this team a threat to Missouri or LSU at the end of 2014.

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