Aloysius has a thing about honey. (Not surprising; he is a bear, after all.) Whenever I watch romance movies where the guy calls his lover “Honey”, Aloysius always perks up, looks at me, and says “Honey? Where?”
Aloysius can consume prodigious amounts of the stuff. You have not known life until you have known the challenge of trying to keep honey in the house when you have a bear around.
At any rate, Aloysius wanted to wield the vaunted bulldog tooth again and project a predicted order of finish for the entire SEC (not just Georgia). So without further ado, here we go. What follows is almost entirely Aloysius’s words (I may interject a thought of my own from time to time).
1: Florida (7-1 SEC, 11-1 overall) No Tim Tebow? No Charlie Strong? Urban Meyer flaking out? No problem. Florida and Alabama are still light years ahead of the rest of the conference, and will be for many years to come. The key game here is Florida-Alabama in Tuscaloosa in October: Alabama will take this one. But these two teams will meet again in the ATL in December, and Florida will take that one.
2: South Carolina (5-3 SEC, 8-4 overall) Every year South Carolina talks about how this is going to be their year. And this really does have the potential to be a very good year, by South Carolina standards at any rate. A loss to Clemson in the final week of the season will be a downer for them.
3: Georgia (5-3 SEC, 9-3 overall) An early loss at the Dead Cockroach gives South Carolina the head-to-head advantage over Georgia. Aaron Murray will come into his own as the season progresses, but playing a decent Auburn team after ten consecutive weekends of football will be too much for Georgia.
4: Kentucky (2-6 SEC, 6-6 overall) Wake these people up when basketball season starts.
5: Tennessee (1-7 SEC, 4-8 overall) Philip Fulmer did some amazing things at Tennessee, but his program started to slip during his final years. Lane Kiffin came in and turned the program into a complete and utter joke before hightailing it to the Left Coast. The new guy is solid and brings a sense of stability, but it will be at least a couple of years before Tennessee is any good.
6: Vanderbilt (0-8 SEC, 2-10 overall) New coach Robbie Caldwell made a big impression at SEC Media Days, showing that he has a big sense of humor. He will need every bit of it to get through this season.
1: Alabama (8-0 SEC, 12-0 overall) Alabama makes it through the regular season undefeated. But repeating as national champions is a very tough thing to do and has not been done in a very long time. A very tough loss to Florida in the SEC championship game knocks them out.
2: LSU (6-2 SEC, 10-2 overall) Les Miles is definitely feeling the heat these days. LSU will have a good season despite failing to beat Florida or Alabama for the third consecutive year, and this will take some of the heat off.
3: Ole Miss (6-2 SEC, 10-2 overall) Jeremiah Masoli will make a huge impact down the stretch for Ole Miss. Not enough to win them the SEC West, though.
4: Auburn (4-4 SEC, 8-4 overall) In Cameron Newton, Gus Malzahn may have finally found a quarterback to run his offense. If so, then Auburn could be dangerous.
5: Arkansas (2-6 SEC, 6-6 overall) Some are expecting big things from Ryan Mallett and Arkansas this year. Others believe that Arkansas will be as much of a flop this year as Ole Miss was last year. Two September games at Georgia and against Alabama will tell the story for Arkansas.
6: Mississippi State (2-6 SEC, 6-6 overall) In Year 2, Dan Mullen manages to attain bowl eligibility. That’s progress.
This will be another banner year for the SEC, with ten teams bowl eligible. It will be tough, but the SEC will manage to find homes for everybody. Florida and Alabama will tangle in the SEC championship, with Florida shooting down Alabama’s bid to repeat as national champions. Florida will go on to the BCS championship and defeat whoever emerges out of the Big 12 (or Big 10), thereby collecting its third national championship in five years and earning the SEC its fifth consecutive national championship.