Generally, we are the "authors" of "content" around here - "here" being a blog and not a message board. Recognize, we do, that you've come here not to contribute, but to consume. Nevertheless, there is the sporadic occasion where, either for our benefit or for to exercise the thinkifiers of the masses, we ask you a question. Today's question is ...
After week 1 how have your preseason predictions changed, if at all?
With the first sixty minutes of SEC football in the books (only 660 more until the SEC Championship game), we have learned that highly-touted true freshmen can score gobs against teams recently promoted to the Bowl Subdivision; that John Chavis' scheme for sufficiently utilizing the talent on LSU's defense does not work on the West Coast; that Alabama may be even more Alabama than they were in 2008; and that, considering the similar offensive outputs of Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt, there must be some principle of diminishing offensive returns against Championship Subdivision teams. How does all this influence your preseason picks?
The official RCR answer comes after the jump.
Generally, preseason prognosticators predicted potential pitfalls against South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and LSU. There were, additionally, narrowly held views that Ole Miss might stumble at Vanderbilt or Auburn. Ten regular season wins was the most common prediction with more variation toward eleven than nine. Taking these teams into account, consider this stab at ranking Rebel opponents by likelihood of victory (from least likely to most likely):
After the Tide's convincing win over Virginia Tech, this ought to be fairly elementary. The Rebels' best arguments for winning are that the Hokie defense was unable to achieve the kind of quarterback pressure for which Ole Miss hopes from its front seven and Tech's offense was even less impressive than the moribund performance of the Red and Blue. Reaching expectations of offensive production and defensive pressure will be essential to beat Alabama.
The dominating performance over Missouri State answered few of the questions around the Razorbacks, but answered the most important one - aerial offense has, indeed, come to Fayetteville. However, the Arkansas performance did not, so much, inspire more trepidation among this Rebel, but, rather, it held anxiety about Arkansas steady, while my worries declined with regard to other teams.
Winless over (now) 14 games, Washington outgained the Bayou Bengals in Seattle. The Chavis defense has not arrived in Baton Rouge. Jordan Jefferson was effective, but far from impressive. Charles Scott does not compare favorably with Brandon Bolden, Mark Ingram, Michael Smith, or, for that matter, Christian Ducre or Ontarrio McCaleb. Unless something changes, an LSU win would be a surprise.
The Tigers have a running game. They convincingly beat a Louisiana Tech team that is expected to make some strides under third-year coach Derek Dooley. Also, this is an away game that comes the week after what I've just recently predicted to be our second-toughest opponent in Arkansas.
Sandwiched between the road trip to Columbia and the home date with Alabama, this remains a textbook trap game. Vanderbilt's demolition of some already-forgotten Championship Subdivision team, though, made positively no impact on my feelings about this game.
When it comes to disappointed victors, it's hard to find any team more dejected in victory (besides Iowa and, perhaps, Ohio State) than the Gamecocks. Besides, Houston Nutt has (WARNING POORLY RESEARCHED STATISTIC BASED UPON COMMON KNOWLEDGE) played South Carolina more than any other active SEC head coach. Our staff is familiar with this team. This game has been marked on almost everybody's calendar. We expected a dogfight. Instead, we are, in my opinion, pleasantly surprised with the disappointing state of the Carolina program.