Dooley: There are more overs than unders in SEC
As we actually find ourselves heading in the general direction of a college football season starting in the SEC, we continue to take small steps until we get there.
Usually by this time we would have every SEC schedule memorized, but when they all were changed and tightened up to be even more provincial than normal, we now have to keep one handy to look one up.
And I've always believed that you can't truly compile an over/under without knowing who each team plays. (Texas A&M last year was a perfect example with its brutal schedule.)
I feel comfortable enough to now look at the over/unders for the league and tell you which way I would go. Remember, gambling is illegal at Bushwood and I am not encouraging someone to bet, especially in a year where we don't know if all the games will be played.
Certainly the virus could still cancel games. So could player demands for social justice. What happens if you bet the over and the season ends after three games. I know Vegas is fond of giving back your money (he said sarcastically).
There are a lot of things to consider here in this 10-game season. Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network and ESPN brought up a great point on the Tailgate radio show Thursday.
"This will be the least physical season we've ever seen in the SEC," he said.
His theory, which I believe, is that players missed so much time with their respective strength coaches and missed spring where a lot of tackling practice takes place. I also believe coaches are less likely to do a bunch of hitting leading up to the season because they have more concerns about injuries than ever.
After all, they never know when a position room will get wiped out for a week by the virus.
So teams that rely on a precision passing game might get a boost. Hmm, are you hearing this Kyle Trask?
"You can make an argument for that," UF coach Dan Mullen said Saturday. "Those are all legitimate points right there. You have to understand, we missed a lot. We usually have two, three full scrimmages in the spring, never mind the 'thud' practices.
"So we'll see."
Anyway, there is a lot to put into the cauldron that was full of all kinds of unusual ingredients already.
Ready for some over/unders?
Why I'll take the over: Who is beating the Tide? You, Georgia? You, LSU? You, Tennessee? I just can't see this team losing more than once in the regular season.
Why I'll take the over: Settle down now, Razorback fans, but I'm going over. Barely. There certainly is a chance Arkansas could be the first team in the history of the SEC to go 0-10 and there is that 19-game SEC losing streak with the meter running. I think they find a way to win two games. (I did mention not to bet on any of these, right?)
Why I'll take the under: This looks like a lock to take the over. But then you go looking for wins on the schedule. It could come down to having to beat LSU to get to seven wins. I don't like it.
Why I'll take the under: The defending national champs who lost so many coaches and so many players will also be playing with a big target. The schedule is manageable, but to reach the over the Tigers will have to win 2 of 4 against Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Texas A&M and not stub their toes anywhere else.
Miss. State 3.0
Why I'll take the over: I think this is a lock. There are four winnable games and coach Mike Leach will find a way to win another.
Ole Miss 4.0
Why I don't want any part of this: Stay away. Lane Kiffin is a good coach. There aren't enough sure wins. He's gonna have a great offense. He won't have any defense. Stay away.
Texas A&M 6.5
Why I'll take the over: Albeit reluctantly. This is a veteran team with a veteran quarterback. I'm certainly not sold on the Aggies winning the West. But the schedule feels like it was built with six wins minimum.
Why I'll take the over: It won't be easy to get to eight wins and you hope for more. But I have said all along that Florida's coaching staff is built for everything we have been dealing with. Dan Mullen says he has the kind of team that can win a championship. I believe him.
Why I'll take the under: I'm not saying Florida will win the East. That's a prediction for later down the road. I can see both teams finishing with 8-2 records. It will then depend on who wins the World's Largest Outdoor Corona Party. I'd bet against Georgia beating Auburn AND Alabama early AND winning the sandwich game in between them (Tennessee) AND beating Florida AND not stumbling into a loss like the Dogs did against South Carolina last year.
Why I'll take the over: If you can smell fall in the air, you can also smell everyone discounting coach Mark Stoops. (It smells a little like horse manure). He'll win five games. Count on it.
Why I'll take the under: I looked for wins on the Missouri schedule. I found two.
South Carolina 3.5
Why I'll take the over: I think the Gamecocks can win four. But not more.
Why I'll take the over: I can certainly see four wins easily. And athletic director Phil Fulmer proclaimed that Tennessee is back after last season. And Georgia State is not on the schedule. Look, there is a difference between beating up on mediocre teams in the back end of your schedule and being back. Coach Jeremy Pruitt will win five, maybe six. That's not back.
Why I'll take the under: As I conducted this exercise, on every team's schedule I counted the Vandy game as a win. We know what that means.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.