SEC fearless predictions

August, 30, 2010
8/30/10
11:09
AM ET
Anybody can pick divisional winners, players of the year and games of the year.

But let’s delve a little deeper into what to expect this season in the SEC.

Here are 10 fearless predictions to live by in 2010:

[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillMark Ingram will be part of a dynamic rushing duo for Alabama this season.
1. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson will both rush for 1,000 yards: That’s never happened at Alabama, and it’s not something that has happened very often, period, in the SEC. The gold standard in this league for teammates rushing for more than 1,000 yards in the same season was established by Arkansas’ Darren McFadden and Felix Jones in 2007. They combined for 2,943 yards. McFadden finished with 1,830 and Jones with 1,113 that season, each averaging at least 5.6 yards per carry.

2. Mississippi State will violate the great Cowbell Compromise by the first SEC game: It’s a novel concept. But you know the first time Auburn is backed up deep in that Thursday night affair, that stadium starts to rock and Cameron Newton is trying to change a play, those bells are going to clang away.

3. Vanderbilt will score 20 points or more in an SEC game: OK, I know you’re saying, "Way to go out on a limb there, Low." But keep in mind that the Commodores never scored more than 16 points last season in an SEC game and averaged just 8.9 points in eight games against league foes.

4. Jeremiah Masoli will take the bulk of the snaps this season at quarterback for Ole Miss: However, he won’t take the first snap. Look for sophomore Nathan Stanley to start the opener, but for Masoli to take over by that first SEC game against Vanderbilt.

5. For the third time in the past six seasons, Tennessee will lose at least six games: There’s just too much youth and inexperience for Derek Dooley to overcome in his first season in Knoxville. The real goal will be avoiding a third losing season in the past six years. Since joining the SEC in 1933, the Vols have never had three losing seasons over a six-year span.

6. The LSU threesome of Terrence Toliver, Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard will emerge as one of the most dangerous receiving triumvirates in the SEC: They combined for five touchdown catches last season. Don’t be surprised if that number triples in 2010.

7. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett will throw 40 touchdown passes: Yep, that seems like a lot. But Mallett has the arm, the presence in the pocket and the talent at receiver and tight end to do it. Kentucky’s Andre Woodson is the only SEC quarterback to throw 40 or more touchdown passes in a season. He threw exactly 40 in 2007.

8. Georgia will win at least 10 games, the seventh time that Mark Richt has done that in 10 seasons in Athens: Granted, they judge you in this league by how many championships you win. But consistency counts for something.

9. Kentucky’s Randall Cobb will score touchdowns four different ways – running, passing, receiving and on special teams: The guy’s so versatile that he might even write a few of my stories after games this season, direct traffic off campus and then finish his night by cleaning up the stadium. He was second in the SEC to Mark Ingram with 15 touchdowns last season.

10. SEC commissioner Mike Slive will average three more hours of sleep per night with Lane Kiffin no longer in the conference: And Slive's cell phone bill will be cut in half now that he won't be making daily calls to Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton, who's probably sleeping better himself.

Chris Low | email

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SEC SCOREBOARD

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