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Outrageous College Football Predictions for the SEC in 2018

Alabama Crimson Tide QB Jalen Hurts

Alabama Crimson Tide QB Jalen Hurts

We're starting to see the college football polls come out and odds being set in Vegas. The preview magazines, talk shows and talking heads have all had their say.

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All we need to do now is kick off another ho-hum season that is sure to have very few surprises and play out exactly how we all think it will, right?

You know that's not how this works.

For better or worse, it's time once again for some *OUTRAGEOUS college football predictions as the 2018 season approaches.

Up next is the powerful SEC. Alabama is the clear front-runner and rightfully so. That said, look for some new faces to step up and challenge the Tide for the crown, while some traditional powers take a step back.

Outrageous College Football Predictions for the SEC in 2018

South Carolina Win the SEC East

We know Will Muschamp's defenses are going to show up and play every Saturday. The 2018 Gamecocks, however, also boast what should be the most talented offensive unit since he took over. Look for a national coming out party for quarterback Jake Bentley to be the catalyst for a 10-win season in Columbia. It doesn't hurt to have some of the biggest games on the schedule at home.

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Georgia loses three games

The Bulldogs had a dream season in 2017, but they also lost some generational talent at running back, offensive line and linebacker. They aren't at Alabama's level from a personnel standpoint yet — where they can lose big-time talent and simply reload. Trips to South Carolina, Missouri and LSU all before the end of October are going to stress this team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. There's also the season finale against Georgia Tech, who will be especially tough on offensive this season. The Bulldogs will drop three of those four games.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Georgia

Jalen Hurts becomes Alabama's most dangerous offensive weapon

Sure, it's not all sunshine and roses as far as the quarterback situation in Tuscaloosa goes. That said, Hurts is a great athlete and a smart kid. He knows his football future at any level beyond college is not under center. Look for Nick Saban to find creative ways to work Hurts into the offensive game plan every week as a passer, runner and receiver. He will score touchdowns as all three at some point during the season as well.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Alabama

Vanderbilt goes bowling

The idea of playing in a bowl game shouldn't be outrageous for most teams, but most teams aren't Vanderbilt. The Commodores have only played in eight bowl games throughout the 127-year history of the program. Look for head coach Derek Mason to lead his squad to its second bowl appearance in three seasons on the back of a solid year from quarterback Kyle Shurmur. Games against Middle Tennessee, Nevada, Tennessee State, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Ole Miss, and Tennessee are all winnable for this club. They'll win at least six of those.

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Auburn finishes fourth in the SEC West

A lack of depth and experience on the offensive line is what will doom the Tigers in 2018. They have one guy with significant starting experience up front on the two-deep depth chart. That's fresh meat for the defensive lines of Washington, LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama. Auburn will be dealing with the same weaknesses in its secondary, where some true freshmen will see the playing field early and often. This is a rebuilding year for Gus Malzahn.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Auburn

*Remember, "outrageous" can be defined as “wildly exaggerated or improbable,” and “very bold, unusual, and startling.” These are "outrageous" predictions and should be treated as such.

— Written by J.P. Scott who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on Fox Sports, Yahoo!, Bleacher Report, SBNation and Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.