Will the Alabama Crimson Tide lose two regular season games in 2016 or will they reach the four-team playoff to live up their preseason billing as the No. 1 team in the nation?
Will the Ole Miss Rebels fly high under gifted quarterback Chad Kelly this coming season or will Tennessee live up to its preseason billing as a legitimate playoff contender?
You’re going to find out the answers to these questions and much more as I offer up my five bold college football picks for the SEC as the 2016 regular season quickly approaches. Now, let’s get started.
5 Bold College Football Winning Predictions For SEC
Alabama Loses Two?
Alabama has won four out of the last seven national titles under head coach Nick Saban, but I think the Alabama Crimson Tide are looking at a two-loss campaign in 2016, including one loss in Week 3 against an Ole Miss team they’ve fallen to in each of the last two seasons. Alabama’s regular season opener at home against No. 20 USC will be no walk in the park and road dates against Tennessee and LSU could potentially produce stunning outcomes.
The Crimson Tide need to find a new starting quarterback and running back and needs to rebuild their offensive line while replacing a slew of elite defenders that all took their respective acts on to the NFL. Alabama loses two regular season games, so when it happens, don’t be shocked!
Ole Miss to Fly High in 2016!
Ole Miss went 10-3 and was the only team in the country to beat Alabama last season. While the Rebels need to replace NFL first round draft picks, in defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss does have an elite quarterback they can turn to in Chad Kelly and a pair of running backs in Akeem Judd and Jordan Wilkins that both averaged more than 5.0 yards per carry in backup roles last season. Kelly threw for a stellar 4,042 yards and 31 touchdowns last season and could very well surpass those figures in 2016!
Will Georgia Contend?
I like former Alabama assistant Kirby Smart and I believe his hiring will help a Georgia team that won 10 games last season, contend for the SEC crown in 2016, even though I don’t see them winning. On offense, Smart has eight returning starters from last season’s squad, including quarterback in Greyson Lambert, although he’s currently in a quarterback battle with gifted freshman Jacob Eason.
Whoever starts under center will find life a lot easier if gifted running back Nick Chubb returns to form after recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered against Tennessee early last season. Chubb rushed for over 1,800 yards as a freshman two years ago and his return to health could make the Dogs a dangerous bunch on offense.
Georgia ranked a stupendous seventh in total defense a year ago and led the nation in pass defense by limiting the opposition to just 156.4 passing yards per contest. The Dogs will contend in 2016!
LSU to record double-digit wins?
LSU came up just short of winning 10 games last season, but they have a ton of elite talent and one of the best running backs in all of college football. The Tigers ranked 39th in total offense in 2015 (437.9 ypg) and 44th in scoring (32.8 ppg) thanks mostly to their seventh-ranked rushing attack (258.0 ypg). LSU will once again lean heavily on Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette after the bruising big back rushed for a stunning 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2015.
Ultimately though, it will be the play of talented but inconsistent quarterback Brandon Harris that could determine just how far the Tigers go in 2016. Harris underachieved in 2015 by completing just 53.8 percent of his passes while tossing just 13 TD passes and six interceptions and that just won’t cut it in 2016. Right now, I’m thinking another nine-win campaign sounds about right.
Tennessee to live up To Preseason Billing?
The Vols have an athletically gifted dual-threat signal-caller in Joshua Dobbs that can make plays both, on the ground and through the air, not to mention a pair of talented running backs that could likely start for any team in the country in Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara.
Tennessee also had a solid defense in 2015 as they ranked a stellar 16th in the nation in points allowed (20.0 ppg) and they could be even better on defense thanks to the hiring of new defensive coordinator, Bob Shoop, this offseason. Head coach Butch Jones has slowly built this team up and now the Vols are really on the national mp. With a very soft schedule in 2016, I think the Vols will fulfill all of their preseason expectations, but they’re not reaching the College Football Playoff.