With the SEC hosting football media days this week, I'll graciously let the world in on my preseason picks for the conference. (I've done the Big 12 already.)
SEC - 2017 projected final standings
*In the West, I'm taking Auburn to beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, giving the Tigers the division. Even though I still think the Crimson Tide are the best team in the country, I'm willing to bet Auburn can engineer an upset behind talented signal-caller Jarrett Stidham.
*I don't love Florida's team as much as this would suggest – it's just that schedule. The Gators have three true road games: Missouri, South Carolina and Kentucky. Given that they're catching Florida State in Gainesville and a woefully inexperienced Michigan team in week one, I somehow see them in the thick of the national championship race late in the season.
*I nearly took Georgia to win the East, but I bailed at the last second. Although the Bulldogs have an extremely talented roster, I didn't see much last season that made me think they were going to take off this year. The team just came off as listless at times.
*In terms of surprises, I like where Missouri's heading. The Tigers have enough firepower now on offense to start stressing opposing defenses. I'm banking on Barry Odom working some magic on the other side of the ball. I don't see Mizzou challenging near the top of the conference, but they will probably score at least one upset no one expects. (Looking at you, Florida.)
*As for flops, I'm not a buyer on Mississippi State. I also don't know if 7-5 would keep Kevin Sumlin employed at Texas A&M – in fact, I'm fairly certain that it won't.