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SEC Football Round Table 2013: Answering The Hard Questions

Here is my stab at the answers to some challenging questions about the SEC.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

I'm doing an SEC Round Table organized by SB Nation's Bud Elliott. What we do for this is answer a series of questions that are posed to all SEC blogs, and then the organizer looks at the various articles and picks out notable comments.

In the meantime, please add your own comments, pro, con, or just different, to my answers.

So let's get started:

Predict the SEC's overall record in its games against other BCS conferences, and tell me which is more likely: the SEC winning 13 or more of the games, or the SEC winning 11 or fewer.

For this question, the projected winner will be in bold:

  • Georgia at Clemson
  • Alabama v. Virginia Tech (Atlanta)
  • Mississippi State v. Oklahoma State (Houston)
  • LSU v. TCU (Arlington)
  • North Carolina at South Carolina
  • Washington State at Auburn
  • South Carolina at UCF
  • SMU at Texas A&M
  • Florida at Miami
  • Tennessee at Oregon
  • Louisville at Kentucky
  • Arkansas at Rutgers
  • Missouri at Indiana
  • Florida State at Florida
  • Georgia at Georgia Tech
  • Clemson at South Carolina
  • Wake Forest at Vanderbilt
  • Ole Miss at Texas

Based on my projections, I have the SEC winning exactly 13 games, which means that you'd have to consider a 13 over-under at basically 50%.

Despite my choices, I think the SEC winds up with 11 or 12, not 13.

Which non-conference game not involving your own team are you most excited to watch? Why?

Definitely Clemson at South Carolina. That should really be a barn-burner, and it is truly possible that Clemson will be favored in Columbia. How weird would that be?

Which SEC opponent is the biggest mystery to you at this point?

Tennessee. With all the turmoil in Knoxville over the last several years, I have no idea what to expect from first-year coach Butch Jones, who was not the most popular choice to replace Derek Dooley, but who has done a good job with his first recruiting class.

Are you in favor of a nine-game conference schedule? Is preserving annual cross-division rivalries (Bama-VOLS, LSU-UF, UGA-AUB) worth adding seven more conference losses to the aggregate and having fewer teams make bowls?

I am not in favor of a nine-game SEC schedule. I think it would do more to hurt the SEC's chances to play in the national championship game than help them.

But leaving that aside, there are many teams who would wind up with two or less opportunities to play lesser opponents. For example, Kentucky is going to have to play Louisville every year. Georgia has to play Georgia Tech. Florida, Florida St. and Miami. South Carolina, Clemson. These games are almost required by the states in question, and adding another SEC game would be just fine for Alabama, who has no permanent extra-division rivalry, or LSU. But it would truly suck for the teams that already have at least one rivalry game out of conference.

Unless that can be addressed, a nine-game SEC schedule has a built-in bias for teams with Division I rivalries already in place.