DME picks the SEC: Bottom three teams

Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 7/21/19

With SEC Media Days in the books and the season closing in, the Daily Mountain Eagle is ranking the 14 teams in the SEC.

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DME picks the SEC: Bottom three teams

Posted

With SEC Media Days in the books and the season closing in, the Daily Mountain Eagle is ranking the 14 teams in the SEC.

This week, Publisher James Phillips, Sports Editor Johnathan Bentley, Sports Writer W. Brian Hale and New Media Coordinator Jeffery Winborne are each selecting their bottom three teams in the conference. Teams 9 through 11 will be released July 27 and the top two teams will be released on Aug. 17.

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Here are the picks, along with a brief outlook on each team.

James Phillips

14. Ole Miss — Projected (2-10 overall, 0-8 in SEC)

There is no program in the SEC with less excitement surrounding it than the Ole Miss Rebels. Fans in Oxford, Mississippi have zero expectations this season, with good reason.

The team does return a good bit on defense, but it may have been better to just start from scratch. They will beat a couple of lesser opponents on the year, and they could possibly eek out an SEC win over Arkansas or Vanderbilt, but I don’t see it happening. Maybe it is time to find another mascot, because this Land shark just cannot swim.

13. Vanderbilt — Projected (3-9, 1-7)

A Vanderbilt team that has shown some promise in recent years will unfortunately continue to find itself at the bottom of the SEC rankings. I see them possibly defeating Ole Miss in the conference, but that game is basically a toss-up. The Commodores just don’t have the weapons to compete in a top heavy league this year.

12. Kentucky — Projected (5-7, 1-7)

The Kentucky Wildcats shocked the college football pundits in 2018 by earning 10 wins on the season. That number may get cut in half for 2019. The ‘Cats don’t return much, other than quarterback Terry Wilson, and he’s just not good enough without some weapons around him. They will beat Vanderbilt in the SEC, but that’s about it.

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Johnathan Bentley

14. Arkansas — Projected (4-8, 0-8)

Last year was no fun for Arkansas. In Chad Morris’ first year the Razorbacks put together the worst record in Arkansas history. During Morris’ time at SMU, the Mustangs also went 2-10 in his first season and jumped up to five wins in the second season. I see a small progression this season for the Razorbacks.

13. Ole Miss — Projected (4-8, 1-7)

Ole Miss got off to a 5-2 start last season before the bottom fell out. The result was a 5-7 mark. I see the Rebels finishing at around that same level this season. The Rebels have a pair of tough non-conference games this season — at Memphis and home vs. Cal. If Ole Miss can win both they could be in line for a.500 season.

12. Vanderbilt — Projected (5-7, 1-7)

Vanderbilt has lost seven games each of the last three years under coach Derek Mason. I expect the same this season, though that leaves the Commodores just one upset away from their third bowl game in four years. Vanderbilt, which nearly beat No 8 on the road last season, will upset Purdue in Week 2 on the road, but still comes up short of notching six wins.

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W. Brian Hale

14. Arkansas — Projected (3-9, 0-8)

Let’s face facts: last year the Razorbacks were pathetic. They beat one Division-1 school (FBS in today’s modern era terminology) and a Division-2 school (FCS again in the modern terminology) and had no wins in the SEC. Will things improve in 2019? A little. Arkansas recruited well in the offseason with the No. 20 recruiting class and brought in some quality 4-star products that could help the program turn the corner in the coming seasons.

13. Vanderbilt — Projected (5-7, 1-7)

I really like Derek Mason. For all the academic constraints he has to deal with in recruiting when signing prospects, he’d done a good job at Vanderbilt. Unfortunately I don’t see a turning point the Commodores experienced during the James Franklin years. All you have to do is look at Vandy’s first two SEC opponents, Georgia and LSU and you’ll quickly realize it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

12. Ole Miss — Projected (5-7, 2-6)

Ole Miss had one of the most prolific offenses in the country last season, ranking 9th in yards per game. The problem? The Rebels would have probably given up four touchdowns to the Jasper Vikings. Things should improve on defense this season, even if it means finishing 70th in total defense, it’s a step forward. The bad news is several stars on offense have to be replaced, including talented quarterback Jordan Ta’amu. The Rebs’ offense will take a step back, but it won’t be a huge one.

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Jeffery Winborne

14. Arkansas — Projected (4-8, 0-8)

It’s going to be much the same for the Hogs in 2019. They will win their out-of-conference schedule and, again, go winless in the SEC. Chad Morris’ days in Fayette may be numbered after this season.

13. Ole Miss — Projected (4-8, 1-7)

Matt Luke’s defense is far from being the Land Sharks from just a handful of years ago. While their offense will again put up yards, the Rebels gave up an astonishing 483.4 yards per game a year ago with no reason to believe it will get any better. Ole Miss’ only saving grace is they play in the same division as Arkansas.

12. Vanderbilt — Projected (5-7, 1-7)

Vandy will take a step back in 2019 and just miss bowl eligibility. Their cross opponent from the SEC West is Ole Miss and the Commodores will win that one. While I love the optimism from head coach Derek Mason, Georgia comes to Nashville in week 1, setting up a very long season for Vanderbilt.