SEC Over/Under Win Predictions: Western Division

Mike Ehrmann

The veteran quarterback driven league is no more, and that could make for a very interesting (and weird) 2014-15 season in the SEC.

The always fun and way-too-early over/under win projections came out early last week from AgainstTheNumbers.com. I believe it to be the first site thus far to put out their season win totals for each team in the Southeastern Conference. ATN also has season win total predictions for other conferences, also.

So since ATN went ahead and put out their season win totals for all SEC teams, I figured I'd go ahead and lay out some over/under predictions of my own based on their lines. And, I have to say, after going through each team's schedule and predicting each game, I found that this fall in the SEC may be the wildest we've seen in some time.

What I mean by that is the league is wide open this season. Annd my predictions showed just that. I hope to do a schedule breakdown of each SEC team in the near future and lay out my division winners for both the SEC West and SEC East. And they will no doubt surprise you.

Here are my over/under win predictions for 2014-15:

Alabama Crimson Tide – 10.5

For the first time in what seems like ages, the Crimson Tide will roll into a new season without quarterback AJ McCarron or CJ Mosley. Finding McCarron's replacement has proven to be a challenge, but what Nick Saban and the Tide aren't concerned with are the skill players who will surround the new quarterback. You're probably in good shape if you're third string tailback is setup like this.

One of the best sets of skills players in the nation in WR Amari Cooper and a stable of running backs, including TJ Yeldon, return looking to avenge their two-game losing skid to end last season. Alabama doesn't play a true road game until the sixth week of the season (at Ole Miss), and also have the luxury of a pretty soft schedule once they hit the road minus the showdown with LSU in Baton Rouge, which could decide the winner of the SEC West.

Prediction: Over 10.5 wins

Arkansas Razorbacks – 5.5

For me, the one projection from ATN that stuck out the most was Arkansas at 5.5. It's right on the edge of staying home during bowl season for the third consecutive year, or Bret Bielema taking the Razorbacks to a presumably small, but momentum-building bowl appearance.

But this one is easy in my opinion. Looking at Arkansas' schedule it's tough to find a fourth or fifth win, let alone a sixth for the over. Perhaps Arkansas could surprise folks this fall, but I'm not so optimistic.

Prediction: Under 5.5 wins

Auburn Tigers – 9

Gone are big-time playmakers Tre Mason on offense and Dee Ford on defense, but Nick Marshall, the junior college quarterback who wasn't named the Tiger starter until weeks before last season started, returns fresh off a trip to the national championship game to lead Gus Malzahn's spread offense for a second season.

Auburn has the chance to get off to a hot start, playing just one road game in the first six weeks of the season before playing in Starkville, Oxford and Athens before the Iron Bowl showdown in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers could never reproduce the luck they experienced last season, but they won't need it to beat their 9 game win total projection.

Prediction: Over 9 wins

LSU Tigers – 8.5

LSU is one of the more interesting teams in the SEC heading into the fall. After losing Zach Mettenberger, Jarvis Landry, Odell Bechkam Jr. and Jeremy Hill on offense, and Ego Ferguson on the defensive side, the Tigers have a lot of holes to fill. But like Nick Saban, one thing Les Miles knows how to do is recruit elite talent to replace his NFL draftees.

Top running back Leonard Fournette will be needed to produce right away, and I don't see any reason why he won't shine early on. The question for LSU is the QB position and whether Brandon Harris or Anthony Jennings can get freshman WR Dupre the ball to make plays for a depleted receiving corps.

After opening with Wisconsin, LSU plays three cupcakes in the next four weeks, which will inflate the win column a bit, but I think the Tigers will be in good shape in covering their 8.5 win projection.

Prediction: Over 8.5 wins

Mississippi State Bulldogs – 7

"Mississippi State could win the SEC West." – an actual quote from ESPN's Jesse Palmer. This alone was enough to doom State's season before it even began. I understand you think Dak Prescott is good (and he is), but dude... that crossed a line. YOURE SO FAR PAST THE LINE YOU CANT EVEN SEE THE LINE. THE LINE IS A DOT TO YOU *Joey Tribbiani voice*

Prediction: Push

Ole Miss Rebels – 7

Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss start their season off with a pair of near "trap games" and, if they're not careful, could end up 0-2. The always pesky Boise State is first, then the Rebels head to Nashville for a matchup with Vanderbilt. But if the Rebels can go the first two week unscathed, Ole Miss could head into Alabama at 4-0. And that would be interesting.

I feel seven wins in an intriguing number for Ole Miss. DOCTOR BO is back for his senior season and sophomore WR Laquon Treadwell will give SEC secondaries fits again and Wallace a primary target. Ole Miss could be a sleeper in the SEC West.

Prediction: Over 7 wins

Texas A&M Aggies – 8.5

No Johnny Manziel, and no Mike Evans. The Aggies may not be as explosive as they were the past two seasons, but Kevin Sumlin did his best recruiting job trying to fill the voids left by his two superstars.

2012, much like 2013 was for Auburn, may never be duplicated in College Station. The Aggies were the new kids on the block and bursted out to a 10-2 record and a Cotton Bowl appearance, but came back down to earth in 2013. I think 2014 may be more of the same.

Prediction: Under 8.5 wins

Over/under predictions for the SEC East will come out tomorrow.

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