2013 SEC Football Simulated Preview From WhatIfSports.com image

2013 SEC Football Simulated Preview

We simulate the SEC football season

WhatIfSports.com
August 27, 2013

Using our college football simulation engine, WhatIfSports.com simulated thousands of college football games to create thhe 2013 SEC Preview. Team ratings, player ratings and depth charts are accurate as of August 17th. What you see in the SEC Predictions table is the most likely outcome based on the computer simulations. The team-by-team schedules use Absolute Records, which you can learn more about below. Those same game-by-game simulations also generate average points per game for both teams.

SEC Predictions
EastWLOverall Record
Georgia539-3
South Carolina538-4
Florida538-4
Vanderbilt447-5
Tennessee356-6
Missouri356-6
Kentucky355-7
WestWLOverall Record
Alabama6210-2
Texas A&M539-3
Mississippi448-4
LSU447-5
Mississippi State447-5
Arkansas356-6
Auburn265-7

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For this analysis, thousands of college football games are simulated, with the sum of the winning percentages of those games being our final predicted record. As can be noted, sometimes a team is "favored" (wins more than 50% of the time) in a different number of our games than the expected record shows. We list this record as the Absolute Record. The assumption of the Absolute Record is that the more likely scenario always happens. Since we know that it does not, our expected record (in the table above) is far more accurate. Also, especially since we are rounding, it is possible for a team to win a game more often, yet score the same or fewer points on average. In those cases, for Absolute Records, we always take higher winning percentage and are not predicting a tie or a win by an underdog. This is another reason why the expected records are more accurate, as the teams are so evenly matched, the game could easily go either way.


Georgia

Todd Gurley

One missed pass away from possibly winning the national title.

Georgia saved its best for last, with freshman Todd Gurley running up, down and over the eventual conference and national champion Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game. Gurley had a 122-yard performance, averaging 5.3 yards per carry with two touchdowns and no fumbles, while the Dawgs amassed nearly 400 total yards of offense.

But Alabama ran for a few yards of its own - 350 to be exact, and won.

And that's sort of the point when it comes to Georgia. It always does a great job, but someone else is always doing it better.

So how do the Dawgs finally get over the hump and complete that one extra pass to play for the whole ball of wax? Consistency.

Georgia finished the season ranked sixth in the conference in total defense, but was nearly last in run defense, ahead of only Tennessee and Auburn, who couldn't slow down a toddler in 2012. Just when it seemed like there was something positive – the pass defense – that came mostly from teams choosing to pound away on the run D.

So which Georgia is going to show up this year?

Is it the one that fought the Tide tooth and nail to the finish and closed strong in the Capital One Bowl against Nebraska? Or is it the team that needed six Florida turnovers to win its first signature SEC game since 2008, and embarrassed itself while being undressed earlier in the year by the South Carolina Gamecocks?

- Russ Mitchell, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Georgia Bulldogs
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@Clemson Tigers6628-21
2South Carolina Gamecocks5024-24
4North Texas Mean Green9334-16
5LSU Tigers6224-20
6@Tennessee Volunteers6229-23
7Missouri Tigers7428-19
8@Vanderbilt Commodores6525-20
10Florida Gators5023-22
11Appalachian State Mountaineers9556-7
12@Auburn Tigers7929-18
13Kentucky Wildcats7829-18
14@Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets8330-20

South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney

Getting the right breaks starts with the schedule, and USC can't ask for anything more than missing Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M from the West and getting Florida at home. It's obviously a stretch to call it a one game season, but if the Gamecocks beat Georgia in Athens early on, it might not be the underdog the rest of the way. Even if they lose, there's still not another game on the slate they can't win, and that includes Clemson, North Carolina and Mississippi State, who all have to come to Columbia, and 11-1 could possibly get it done.

The offensive line could be the best yet under Spurrier, the secondary is going to be air tight, and there's a freak of nature from another planet working on the defensive line who'll take all the heat and attention away from everyone else. Jadeveon Clowney is a special player, and this just might be a special team if Spurrier can work just enough magic at running back and linebacker to get by.

Close isn't enough anymore for one of the premier programs in college football – yes, right now, South Carolina is one of the premier programs in college football – and the only place to go from 11-2 is 12-1 with an SEC title. This team has the talent to do just that.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 South Carolina Gamecocks
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1North Carolina Tar Heels5724-23
2@Georgia Bulldogs5024-24
3Vanderbilt Commodores5221-19
5@UCF Knights7127-19
6Kentucky Wildcats7425-17
7@Arkansas Razorbacks6825-19
8@Tennessee Volunteers6625-22
9@Missouri Tigers7425-17
10Mississippi State Bulldogs5925-20
12Florida Gators5622-20
13Coastal Carolina Chanticleers9552-6
14Clemson Tigers5522-22

Florida

Jeff Driskel

Louisville 33, Florida 23. The 2013 Sugar Bowl was the best possible thing to happen to this year's Florida Gators.

The 2012 Gators were far more talented and far better than Louisville, but the curtain was pulled back on the problems. Forgetting for a moment that head coach Will Muschamp did everything possible to allow Louisville to pull off the upset with questionable move after questionable move, and ignoring that quarterback Jeff Driskel's internal clock to get rid of the ball was set three seconds too slow, the game showed that there's lots of work to be done. Had Florida come away with a decisive win, it would've seemed like everything was on the right track and the coaching staff would've had a 12-1 Sugar Bowl Champion t-shirt to wave every time anyone questioned why there wasn't more downfield passing or why the pass protection wasn't far better.

There's no excuse to be dead last in the SEC in passing, but it's not exactly going to be back to the fun ‘n' gun days with the receiving corps still a concern and Driskel not exactly Tom Brady on the deep balls. There has to be more explosion and all the athletes and all the talents on both sides of the ball need to shine through on a more consistent basis. It's okay to bludgeon your opponent and rely on defense and special teams to get the job done, and it's also okay to score a lot of points.

Once again, Florida will have one of the most talented teams in America, and once again, everything that went right last year should work once again, but to get from BCS good to BCS championship great, there are still holes that need patching.

Those who don't learn from losing to Louisville are doomed to repeat it.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Florida Gators
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Toledo Rockets8430-18
2@Miami (FL) Hurricanes6625-21
4Tennessee Volunteers6425-19
5@Kentucky Wildcats7024-17
6Arkansas Razorbacks6823-19
7@LSU Tigers5120-18
8@Missouri Tigers6523-17
10@Georgia Bulldogs5022-23
11Vanderbilt Commodores5119-19
12@South Carolina Gamecocks4420-22
13Georgia Southern Eagles9552-6
14Florida State Seminoles5022-22

Vanderbilt

Kenny Ladler

And the funny part about it is that head coach James Franklin actually believes his team could've done more.

This is Vanderbilt we're talking about - everyone's homecoming date and the perennial SEC lightweight/doormat - but last year the team not only hung around in several key games, it won a few of them. The 48-3 thumping from Georgia was the lone blip, but the Commodores pushed South Carolina hard, came up with a strange game in the loss to Northwestern and had Florida in trouble before a Jeff Driskel home run. If everything had gone 100% the right way, yeah, the Commodores might have gone 11-1, and while close games are a way of life for SEC teams, at least Franklin now has everyone believing that more good things are possible.

This year, the key will be the quarterback play and the need for consistent firepower on the days when the terrific-looking defense is off. Jordan Matthews and the receiving corps will be outstanding, and the O line should be even better with four starters returning.

If punter Colby Cooke has a good year, the special teams will be among the SEC's best, and the defense should finish in the top 25 as long as the line turns promise into production right out of the gate.

No, Vanderbilt isn't going to win the SEC title, and yeah, things won't go as well over the second half of the season in 2013 like they did in 2012, but Franklin isn't going to bother with all the negatives against Vanderbilt football, and better yet, neither will his team.

This isn't your father's Vanderbilt football program anymore.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Vanderbilt Commodores
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Ole Miss Rebels4419-21
2Austin Peay Governors9549-6
3@South Carolina Gamecocks4819-21
4@Massachusetts Minutemen9531-11
5UAB Blazers9032-15
6Missouri Tigers6524-17
8Georgia Bulldogs3420-25
9@Texas A&M Aggies3121-26
11@Florida Gators4919-19
12Kentucky Wildcats6323-17
13@Tennessee Volunteers5024-22
14Wake Forest Demon Deacons7624-16

Tennessee

A.J. Johnson

There will be a year of rebuilding that needs to be done after losing so much talent from the passing game and with a defense that was so miserable last season, but making Tennessee great again should require just a little bit of tweaking more than a full-blown teardown.

Eight starters return on defense, and while last year might have been a nightmare, there's size up front, speed in the secondary, and the potential for a killer linebacking corps if Curt Maggitt is back from his knee injury and Dontavis Sapp can shine on the other side of all-star A.J. Johnson.

The passing game is going to require a complete redo but the running backs are solid, the young talent is there at quarterback and the line has the potential to be one of the SEC's most consistent and productive.

There's experience returning to go along with enough talent to get by, but Butch Jones has some long haul work to do on the recruiting trail. His 2014 class is shaping up to be fantastic, and it's not like the recruiting classes have been bad over the years, but he needs to beef up the talent level even more while quickly developing the nice base that's in place.

No, it's not going to happen overnight, but if Jones is as good as he looks so far, Tennessee appears to be ready to be relevant again very, very soon. That might not be fast enough for Vol fans ready to get back to the glory days, but the program is on the right track.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Tennessee Volunteers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Austin Peay Governors9551-8
2Western Kentucky Hilltoppers7530-20
3@Oregon Ducks3222-30
4@Florida Gators3519-25
5South Alabama Jaguars9132-16
6Georgia Bulldogs3823-29
8South Carolina Gamecocks3422-25
9@Alabama Crimson Tide2120-30
10@Missouri Tigers5325-22
11Auburn Tigers6226-21
13Vanderbilt Commodores5022-24
14@Kentucky Wildcats5225-23

Missouri

James Franklin

Texas A&M, Missouri called. It wants your 2012 season.

Mizzou set itself up perfectly to throw a curveball to the SEC with a team built on speed, athleticism and offensive prowess after ripping up big numbers and doing nice things in the Big 12. Unfortunately, right down to Johnny Manziel turning into an amped-up version of what James Franklin was supposed to become, Texas A&M did the finesse thing better.

Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin flat out admitted that A&M couldn't line up and blast away with the Alabamas and LSUs of the world, and it didn't try. Missouri couldn't seem to figure out what it wanted to do, mixing up an attempt to power away for the ground game and hoping the crisp passing attack would show up when needed, but nothing worked thanks to injuries on the offensive line, health issues for Franklin, and almost no clutch plays outside of the four-overtime win over Tennessee.

This is a Missouri team built on speed and athleticism, but there wasn't the decided schematic advantage needed to do razzle dazzle O like Texas A&M did, and when it was time to play “grown man football,” the Tiger lines took a seat at the kiddie table.

So now the call has gone out by head coach Gary Pinkel for the team to be more physical, far tougher and more prepared to handle life in the rough and tumble SEC. However, if Missouri could just go back to being Missouri, and not try to become something it's not, there's a chance for a quick turnaround.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Missouri Tigers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Murray State Racers9544-8
2Toledo Rockets6128-23
4@Indiana Hoosiers4723-25
5Arkansas State Red Wolves7126-19
6@Vanderbilt Commodores3417-24
7@Georgia Bulldogs2619-28
8Florida Gators3517-23
9South Carolina Gamecocks2617-25
10Tennessee Volunteers4722-25
11@Kentucky Wildcats5121-20
13@Ole Miss Rebels3719-24
14Texas A&M Aggies2419-28

Kentucky

Mark Stoops

Okay, so Julius Randle, Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson and James Young are the really big names generating a buzz in Lexington, but Mark Stoops is hoping to shift a little bit of the spotlight over to the football side. But it's not going to be easy.

Stoops will bring in a more exciting offensive style while hoping his skills as a defensive coach will pay off right away. If nothing else, he should benefit from the lumps taken under Joker Phillips over the last few years and benefit from having more depth and experience across the board. While the Wildcats won't contend for the SEC title any time in the near future, there's a chance Stoops has the right mix of talent at the right time to get back to a bowl, but first, the team has to be competitive.

In his first season, okay, another 2-10 season might be allowed for now as long as there are signs of improvement. Go ahead and lose to South Carolina and Alabama, but don't get embarrassed.

The goal has to eventually be higher than simply not getting pantsed by the rest of the league, but being more fun and exciting is a good way to start. The coaching change should give that a boost.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Kentucky Wildcats
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Western Kentucky Hilltoppers7325-18
2Miami (OH) RedHawks8730-16
3Louisville Cardinals3721-24
5Florida Gators3017-24
6@South Carolina Gamecocks2417-25
7Alabama Crimson Tide1214-28
9@Mississippi State Bulldogs2921-27
10Alabama State Hornets9544-9
11Missouri Tigers4920-21
12@Vanderbilt Commodores3517-23
13@Georgia Bulldogs2218-29
14Tennessee Volunteers4823-25

Alabama

Nick Saban

Just how much next-level, five-star skill has Nick Saban amassed over the years? In the 2013 class alone, Alabama brought in six five-star talents according to Scout including the No. 1 defensive tackle (A'Shawn Robinson), No. 1 middle linebacker (Reuben Foster), No. 1 tight end (O.J. Howard) and six other players ranked in the top five in their respective positions. The 2012 class welcomed in three five-star guys, and that didn't include four-star running back T.J. Yeldon or receiver Amari Cooper. The best offensive tackle (Cyrus Kouandjio), middle linebacker (Trey DePriest) and safety (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix) and No. 2 center (Ryan Kelly) came from the 2011 class, and 2010 brought in a whopping 16 prospects, including New York Jet corner Dee Milliner, ranked four stars or higher.

So that's why it's just assumed that all the pieces will be filled in where needed. Milliner is off to the NFL, so some elite talent needs to step up in his place at corner. Three starters are gone off the incredible offensive line, so more pro prospects are rising up to join the fun this season. Two starters are gone from the defense front three, and more 290-to-310 pounders are rolling out to stuff things up on the inside.

But there are potential holes at corner and backup quarterback, even for a team with so much skill. Remember, as good as the Tide was last year, it needed a minor miracle to beat LSU, lost to Texas A&M, and wouldn't have played for the national title had Oregon slipped past Stanford or if Ohio State was eligible.

With the players, the coaching and a relatively lighter schedule, no one is going to pick against Alabama to do anything less than get back to the SEC title game – watch out for Georgia from the East in the national title chase. The Tide machine will just keep on rolling, and it shows no signs of stopping.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Alabama Crimson Tide
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Virginia Tech Hokies8728-15
3@Texas A&M Aggies5226-24
4Colorado State Rams9232-13
5Ole Miss Rebels6925-19
6Georgia State Panthers9537-11
7@Kentucky Wildcats8828-14
8Arkansas Razorbacks8130-16
9Tennessee Volunteers7930-20
11LSU Tigers7625-16
12@Mississippi State Bulldogs8129-19
13Chattanooga Mocs9556-6
14@Auburn Tigers8731-14

Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel

It's one thing to get the ball close to the pin, but it's not like Alabama is folding up shop. LSU isn't going anywhere, Ole Miss is growing into a power, and Auburn and Arkansas aren't going to stink like that again. Kevin Sumlin has the style and he's upping his recruiting game with a whopper of a 2014 class on the horizon following a great 2013 haul, but even though this is now the hot program with the hot coach and hot player in the hot system, it's going to take a whole lot of luck to go from being Cotton Bowl good to SEC title good to national title good. With expectations through the roof after the bar was set so high last season, now the problem will be that 11-2 won't get it done.

Yes, A&M could beat Alabama for the second straight season, but can it win at Arkansas and at Ole Miss? Can it win at LSU and Missouri to close out the regular season? Yes, it'll be good enough to win any of those games, but this is the SEC, and if you're an elite program, you have to win all of those games, or at least only drop one, or it's over. Just ask Arkansas in the Bobby Petrino years.

Fortunately, A&M is closer than it's been in many, many years to contending for a national title, and with the curveball of an offense that's giving the SEC nightmares, a defense loaded with athletes, and a transcendent superstar at quarterback who seems able to raise his game just when everyone starts doubting him, of course Texas A&M is in the national title chase.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Texas A&M Aggies
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Rice Owls8132-19
2Sam Houston State Bearkats9555-8
3Alabama Crimson Tide4824-26
4SMU Mustangs8933-16
5@Arkansas Razorbacks7129-20
7@Ole Miss Rebels7128-21
8Auburn Tigers8129-18
9Vanderbilt Commodores6826-21
10UTEP Miners9537-15
11Mississippi State Bulldogs6629-24
13@LSU Tigers6525-20
14@Missouri Tigers7628-19

Mississippi

Bo Wallace

Even with all the talent being brought into Oxford, Ole Miss still ranked sixth in the Scout.com SEC recruiting rankings behind Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia and LSU, while Auburn, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and South Carolina all had top 25 classes, too. Getting a great recruiting class puts Ole Miss in the discussion and should make the program competitive, but in the toughest division in the toughest conference in college sports, it doesn't guarantee anything.

The other issue is the harsh reality of the schedule with road games at Vanderbilt, Texas, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State to go along with home games against Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas and Missouri. So even with 11 starters coming back on defense and almost all the key players back on offense, like the recruiting rankings, this could be one of the 15 best teams in the country and still be no better than third or fourth in the West with an eight-win season being worthy of jumping jacks.

But enough with the doom and gloom. Ole Miss is in the SEC and it's in the West – that's the deal, and Hugh Freeze isn't making any excuses or worrying about anyone else. All of a sudden, this is a really, really interesting team with one of the nation's best pass rushes – and all the linemen back – to go along with tremendous speed and athleticism across the board. The program and the team made a night-and-day improvement in just one year, and Freeze has the look and the attitude of one of the next great college football coaches.

The offense has a terrific group of receivers to play around with, several fast options at running back, and a veteran quarterback in Bo Wallace who might be a major factor if he cuts down on his interceptions.

The special teams should be excellent with the somewhat controversial move of redshirting All-America punter Tyler Campbell last season about to pay off, and the defense will be as dangerous and aggressive as any in America.

No, Ole Miss might not be a lock to win the SEC title, or even the West, any time soon, but Freeze is making the program a player. After decades of frustration, that's a good enough step for now.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Ole Miss Rebels
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@Vanderbilt Commodores5621-19
2Southeast Missouri State Redhawks9551-6
3@Texas Longhorns4724-24
5@Alabama Crimson Tide3119-25
6@Auburn Tigers7326-17
7Texas A&M Aggies2921-28
8LSU Tigers5922-20
9Idaho Vandals9535-12
11Arkansas Razorbacks6827-21
12Troy Trojans8230-18
13Missouri Tigers6224-19
14@Mississippi State Bulldogs5323-22

LSU

Zach Mettenberger

Last year's team was loaded – beyond loaded – with top talent, and today many of the key parts to that very good, but ultimately disappointing puzzle, are off working in the NFL. Meaning once again, Les Miles has to rebuild a bit as well as reload.

However, look a little deeper.

It's true the Tigers lost 11 juniors early to the draft, many of them defensive starters. However, it's not like this came as a surprise to Miles and his staff.

The majority of these players were redshirt juniors that were clearly ready for the next step. As a result, and as part of defensive coordinator John Chavis' usual coaching formula, LSU ran a full rotation of players throughout the 2012 season. So there's more experience in Tiger Stadium than might appear at first glance.

Unfortunately for LSU, while its nemesis, Alabama, was blessed by the scheduling genie, the Tigers must travel to Athens to face Georgia and deal with Florida, along with that unenviable road trip to Tuscaloosa.

Even with the return of senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger and doubts about star tailback Jeremy Hill, the Tigers still return a backfield that would be the envy of most teams in the FBS.

On defense there's more speed than a locomotive, and it's possible the replacements at defensive tackle could be even better - some on the bayou swear that DE Jermauria Rasco has a faster first step than his predecessor, No. 5 overall draft pick, Kiki Mingo.

Still, the tough SEC beckons. Once again, this is a ridiculously talented team with all the parts in place to win a national championship. But as the last two seasons have shown, merely being ultra-talented isn't quite enough.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 LSU Tigers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@TCU Horned Frogs5221-20
2UAB Blazers8729-16
3Kent State Golden Flashes8427-15
4Auburn Tigers7625-16
5@Georgia Bulldogs3720-24
6@Mississippi State Bulldogs5222-21
7Florida Gators4918-20
8@Ole Miss Rebels4120-22
9Furman Paladins9548-7
11@Alabama Crimson Tide2416-25
13Texas A&M Aggies3520-25
14Arkansas Razorbacks6523-19

Mississippi State

Tyler Russell

It's one thing to think that you'd rock in any other division in any other conference, but if you lose by 14 to Northwestern – fine, so the game got scary late and the Wildcats were actually good – after getting blown away by the Rebels, it's hot seat time for Dan Mullen.

Fortunately, he has the team and the players in place to be more competitive with the high-end powers and the talent to hold serve against the mediocre teams.

Tyler Russell is growing into his own at quarterback, and while he needs receivers to throw to, he has a good veteran line to work behind and a good-looking stable of backs to hand off to. The special teams are solid, and the defense should be a bit better with just about everyone of note returning to the front seven and decent upside in the secondary to make up for the loss of Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay.

The Bulldogs will go bowling again with at least six winnable games, and they'll be a tough out for the Alabamas and LSUs of the world, but they want to be part of the real fun – the BCS fun. It's a rough time to try doing that in this division in this conference, and while Mullen and his team might have some rough patches, there's nothing more dangerous than a good team being overlooked and disrespected.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Mississippi State Bulldogs
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@Oklahoma State Cowboys4225-26
2Alcorn State Braves9551-8
3@Auburn Tigers7426-17
4Troy Trojans7632-21
6LSU Tigers4821-22
7Bowling Green Falcons8230-19
9Kentucky Wildcats6927-21
10@South Carolina Gamecocks4120-25
11@Texas A&M Aggies3424-29
12Alabama Crimson Tide1919-29
13@Arkansas Razorbacks5424-22
14Ole Miss Rebels4722-23

Arkansas

Bret Bielema

It all makes sense in theory.

You're Arkansas and you're trying to get past the Bobby Petrino embarrassment and the John L. Smith fiasco, and you need a head coach. Knowing you're Arkansas, and you can't beat Alabama, LSU and other SEC teams in a recruiting arms race, you need to find a head coach who can win big things without needing to bring in a slew of four and five-star super-recruits. There's Boise State's Chris Petersen, but he might be angling for something a little bigger. There's TCU's Gary Patterson, but he seems to be firmly entrenched in Forth Worth and is bent on making the Horned Frogs into a Big 12 player. And then there's Bret Bielema, a very young, very talented, very brash star at Wisconsin, who was known for recruiting “to a type” and cranking out winner after winner.

More than just the ability to take what Barry Alvarez started and run with it, Bielema grew a big-time attitude, for good and bad.

His Badgers were the big, bad bully on the block with massive offensive linemen paving the way for record-setting running backs and giving ultra-efficient quarterbacks ten days to throw. Meanwhile, his teams almost never beat themselves, didn't commit dumb penalties, fixed the glitches on special teams without a problem, and won, won, won.

But it might have been a bit of a mirage.

Yes, possibly bringing a physical attitude and style to Fayetteville could make things interesting against the big boys, but the SEC West isn't the Big Ten Leaders. Things are changing, but Wisconsin spent the last several years fattening up on Cream Puff U. and Cupcake Tech on the non-conference slate, and then it was able to rise up for the one or two really, really big games a year. The Badgers were able to come up with the huge victory over an Ohio State here and a Nebraska there, and all credit is due for back-to-back Big Ten championship game victories, but it's one thing to play Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois around the date with Michigan State, and it's another to play Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama in a row – with LSU still looming – like Arkansas has to do this year.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Arkansas Razorbacks
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns5626-24
2Samford Bulldogs9548-8
3Southern Miss Golden Eagles9031-14
4@Rutgers Scarlet Knights6024-21
5Texas A&M Aggies2920-29
6@Florida Gators3219-23
7South Carolina Gamecocks3119-25
8@Alabama Crimson Tide1716-30
10Auburn Tigers6122-18
11@Ole Miss Rebels3221-27
13Mississippi State Bulldogs4622-24
14@LSU Tigers3519-23

Auburn

Gus Malzahn

The 2010 lightning-in-a-bottle, Cam Newton season was supposed to be a jumping off point rather than an aberration, and in a way it was. Gene Chizik and his staff did an excellent job of recruiting finishing second in the 2011 Scout.com rankings and eighth in 2012. Even last year, after the awful, awful year, and with all the turmoil on and off the field, Auburn still came up with the 14th-ranked recruiting class. The talent is coming in, but as Chizik's tenure proved, having good prospects isn't enough. Everyone in the SEC gets great recruits, and in the West, Alabama, LSU and now Texas A&M get better ones.

It might have been a step back to take a giant leap forward if new head coach and former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn turns into a star. He's going to make the nation's 115th-ranked offense far, far more productive and interesting, while defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson should be able to ramp up the pressure and production for a defense that was a complete and utter disaster at times.

There's experience, talent and athleticism on both sides of the ball, and now the new coaching staff has to show it can do something with it all. 2011 was supposed to be a rebuilding year, 2012 was a strange failure, and now it's time to start being a part of the fun again.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Auburn Tigers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Washington State Cougars6424-19
2Arkansas State Red Wolves5923-20
3Mississippi State Bulldogs2617-26
4@LSU Tigers2316-25
6Ole Miss Rebels2617-26
7Western Carolina Catamounts9544-8
8@Texas A&M Aggies1918-29
9Florida Atlantic Owls7827-18
10@Arkansas Razorbacks3918-22
11@Tennessee Volunteers3821-26
12Georgia Bulldogs1918-29
14Alabama Crimson Tide1314-31

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Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

Gridiron Dynasty

Coach, recruit and run your own college football program.

Every DIA, DIAA, DII & DIII College Awaits


SimLeague Baseball

Compete in a full season with your dream team from MLB past and present. Lineups, player settings, trades, prizes and more.

Try It For Free


Hardball Dynasty

Run your own baseball franchise in this in-depth, multi-player baseball game.

Try It at a Discount

What is WhatIfSports?

WhatIfSports.com is a sports simulation and online gaming site providing free content and unique games for the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAA sports and more.

Join WhatIfSports.com today to get these members only benefits:

  • Create your own Dream Team
  • Save your favorite SimMatchup results
  • Play a FREE SimLeague trial season
  • Start playing a Dynasty game
  • Manage baseball games LIVE
  • Access to SiteMail
  • Post in our Forums
  • Build a Buddy list to easily invite friends
  • Use our online Customer Service
  • Earn game credits by using our Referral & Affiliate program

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