My colleague Edward Aschoff (you know him better as the ATL Kid) has reviewed his “fearless predictions” from the preseason.
When have we ever seen a better cornerback combination in this league? I’m sure some LSU fans might say last season with Patrick Peterson and Claiborne.
Either way, what an amazing run of cornerbacks on the Bayou.
As for my “fearless predictions,” I nailed five of the 10 and still have a chance for two more.
Here’s a look back:
1. The SEC will make it six in a row: This was a no-brainer. If I had really wanted to go out on a limb, I would have predicted 10 in a row. I don’t see the dominance of this league ending anytime soon. College football is an SEC world right now. Don’t think so? Cast an eye toward New Orleans in three weeks when Alabama and LSU play for the crystal trophy.
2. Alabama senior linebacker Courtney Upshaw will lead the SEC in sacks: I wasn’t way off on this one. Upshaw is tied for fourth with 8.5 sacks, and technically, could still get there with a monster game in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game. He had two sacks in last year’s bowl game. Upshaw was a big-play machine for the Tide this season. His 17 tackles for loss rank second in the league.
3. South Carolina will win 10 games: Bingo! The Gamecocks hit the 10-win plateau for only the second time in school history and they did so despite losing star running back Marcus Lattimore for the second half of the season with a knee injury and fifth-year senior quarterback Stephen Garcia being dismissed from the team back in October. The Gamecocks avoided Alabama and LSU, and that was a big help. Nonetheless, the Head Ball Coach did some of his finest coaching this season.
4. Arkansas senior linebacker Jerry Franklin will lead the Hogs in tackles … again: Franklin came through for me … again. He was a perfect 4-for-4 during his career and goes into the bowl game with a team-leading 93 total tackles, six ahead of senior safety Tramain Thomas. Franklin has a chance to record 100 tackles or more for the second straight season. He’s been a rock for the Hogs and has a chance to become the first player since 1960 to lead Arkansas in tackles for four straight seasons.
5. Ohio State’s bowl drought against the SEC will continue: Ohio State beat Arkansas on the field last year, but later had to vacate the win. Something about a tattoo parlor and ineligible players. So, officially, the Buckeyes are still 0-9 against the SEC in bowl games. Florida could make it 0-10 if the Gators take care of the Buckeyes in the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl (aka the Urban Meyer Bowl) on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla.
6. There will be more Colonel Reb sightings than Black Bear sightings in the Grove: This one is up for debate, although I would have nailed it had I predicted there would be more Colonel Reb sightings than Ole Miss wins this season. And now that I think about it, there probably were more Colonel Reb sightings than Ole Miss touchdowns the last month of the season.
7. LSU sophomore running back Spencer Ware will rush for 1,200 yards: I whiffed on this one. Ware got off to a nice start, but is currently second on the team in rushing with 700 yards. Michael Ford leads the way with 755 yards. The Tigers used their depth at running back wisely, which is one of the reasons they were able to wear teams down in the second half. They go four deep at the position, which means nobody was going to rush for 1,200 yards this season. Ware’s suspension against Auburn didn’t help him any, either.
8. South Carolina’s super-duper combo of Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery will combine for more than 3,000 all-purpose yards for the second straight season: Lattimore’s season-ending knee injury against Mississippi State pretty much killed any chance of this one happening. Plus, Jeffery dipped from 1,517 receiving yards a year ago to 614 yards this season. The Gamecocks had trouble getting him the ball at times and tweaked their offense once Connor Shaw took over at quarterback.
9. Vanderbilt will win as many games as they have the past two seasons combined: The Commodores accomplished that feat before the month of October was up and wound up winning two more games (six) than they had the last two seasons combined. James Franklin came in and shook things up – literally. The Commodores are headed to just their fifth bowl game in school history and were easily the most improved program in the league this season. They lost to Arkansas, Florida and Georgia by a total of 13 points. A few more breaks, and this could be an 8-4 or even a 9-3 team right now.
10. Georgia will beat Florida: Considering the Bulldogs had lost 18 of the past 21 games in this rivalry coming into this season, I was out there on a ledge with this prediction. It really looked shaky after Georgia started the season 0-2. But the Bulldogs came roaring back to win 10 in a row, including a 24-20 victory over the Gators and fought their way into the SEC championship game. Kudos to Todd Grantham and that Georgia defense, which was the backbone of the Bulldogs' turnaround this season.