DME ranks the SEC: Ole Miss, Miss State fall into the 7-10 range

The Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 6/25/20

After starting with the bottom four teams, the Daily Mountain Eagle continues its SEC college football rankings with teams 7 to 10 — with hope that there is indeed a college football season in 2020.

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DME ranks the SEC: Ole Miss, Miss State fall into the 7-10 range

Posted

After starting with the bottom four teams, the Daily Mountain Eagle continues its SEC college football rankings with teams 7 to 10 — with hope that there is indeed a college football season in 2020.

Publisher James Phillips, Sports Editor Johnathan Bentley, Sports Writer W. Brian Hale and New Media Coordinator Jeffery Winborne are each ranking teams starting this week and ending next week with No. 1-2. Today’s we look at the picks from both Phillips and Winborne.

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James Phillips
No. 7 Tennessee
2020 Prediction (8-4, 5-3)
Tennessee will continue to improve, but the Volunteers are not improved to the point to upset the powerhouses on their schedule (Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia and Florida). A third-place finish in the SEC East for 2020 wouldn’t be bad after how ugly Tennessee started last season. If Tennessee had a little stronger prospects at quarterback, I think the Volunteers could upset Georgia or Florida, but that upset may have to wait until 2021.

No. 8 Kentucky
2020 Prediction (8-4, 4-4)
Kentucky is looking for yet another winning season in 2020, and I think the Wildcats will pick up eight wins. It may be hard to keep Mark Stoops if they do get that many wins again. Key games will be against division rivals South Carolina and Missouri. There are a lot of positives in the land of the bluegrass to start this season. The biggest one is having Terry Wilson back at quarterback.

No. 9 Ole Miss Rebels
2020 Prediction (6-6, 3-5)
Lane Kiffin is another first-year coach who will struggle to get bowl eligible in 2020. Ole Miss should win the games they are supposed to win and lose the games they are supposed to lose, before eventually taking down their biggest rival, Mississippi State to make it to a lower bowl. There is still plenty of offensive power on the Rebels roster, and Kiffin will help the team score lots of points in games against inferior defenses.w

No. 10 Mississippi State
2020 Prediction (6-6, 2-6)
It may be a tough first year for coach Mike Leach in Starkville. Mississippi State is going to be a team on the bubble for making a bowl. Bulldogs fans may have a short drive to the Birmingham Bowl to see them, but they will need a win over a team like N.C. State, Ole Miss or Kentucky to make that happen. No matter what, it will be fun to watch Leach’s team throw the ball all over the field. That’s something that has never been seen in Starkville.

Jeffery Winborne
7. South Carolina
2020 Projection (8-4, 5-3)
Will Muschamp is perhaps the most overrated coach in the SEC. He proved successful as a defensive coordinator, but floundered as the top guy at Florida and is doing much the same with the Gamecocks. His career defining win came against Georgia last year in the form of a double-overtime win on the road en route to a... 4-8 season? Yes, Carolina has proven capable of producing moments of brilliance, but at the end of the day moments will not win championships. With that said, the schedule shapes up nicely for Muschamp’s team to see improvement in the win-loss column, but it’s much the same for a middle of the road SEC team.

8. Texas A&M
2020 Projection (8-4, 5-3)
What has Jimbo Fisher done in his career to justify the position he continues to find himself in College Station? His only national championship came under Jameis Winston before leaving Florida State in shambles. Regardless, the Aggies no longer have Clemson on the schedule, freeing up at least one more win than a year ago. Kellen Mond returns at quarterback, but that experience can only go so far until Texas A&M can establish an identity and prove themselves to be able to consistently win big games.

9. Mississippi State
2020 Projection (7-5, 3-5)
Pirates! Yep, we’re all in for a fun ride having Mike Leach in the SEC. The question, however, is will all of that swashbuckling fun turn the Bulldogs back into a team that can challenge LSU and Alabama for the SEC West? The Bulldogs defense finished 1st in the country a year ago, giving up 263.1 yards per game. By comparison, the offense finished 70th in the FBS. Leach has a proven offensive mind, but there is much work to be done. The biggest question mark revolves around running back Kylin Hill. Regarded as one of the best backs to return in the SEC, the senior Mississippi native has said he will not play unless the state changes the flag. If that holds true, Leach’s challenge gets even harder as he tries to rebuild the Bulldogs program.

10. Ole Miss
2020 Projection (7-5, 3-5)
Two words, Lane Kiffin. Indeed, that Lane Kiffin has returned to the SEC after three seasons as the head coach with Florida Atlantic, leading the Owls to a 26-13 record. While his success there and as an offensive coordinator can not be overlooked, Kiffin has yet to prove he can win as the top guy at a major college football program. His tenures at Tennessee and USC were less than stellar, and Ole Miss is severely lacking the talent needed to challenge for the West. The Rebels/Black Bears/Land Sharks will definitely see improvement from a year ago, but unless Kiffin can pull off some sort of miracle, Ole Miss fans will have to settle for another year in the lower tier of the SEC.