2018 SEC football projections on the Hour Glass
In 2017 the Southeastern Conference took back the “king of the hill” title in college football, as for the first time in the short history of the College Football Playoff, we saw two teams from the same conference make it into the playoff; then we saw Alabama win a thrilling overtime game 26-23 over Georgia in the National Championship game.
While the league had mass coaching turnover after the season, the league looks to be re-emerging as the premiere football league in all of college football. Talent has never been the issue; but coaching had gotten very average league wise and the SEC needed a kick start in quarterback play.
2018 will be a total face-lift for the “it just means more” league, as five new coaches enter the league and Matt Luke goes from interim to head coach at Ole Miss.
The SEC West will again be the premiere division in all of college football as they welcome Jimbo Fisher, Joe Moorhead and Chad Morris to the party. The SEC East will look to start a resurgence of sorts with Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee, Dan Mullen at Florida and Will Muschamp continuing to improve South Carolina; as all three are chasing Georgia.
Based on our three criteria in our metrics, which are coaching trends, talent and returning quarterback play – here is how we rank the league going into the season with our individual team composites – each teams HG Metric identifier. Our Hour Glass (HG) Identifier is our total metric number that identifies each team on a number scale.
Again – as a reminder, our preseason metric isn’t how we think the season will play out – these are simply like power rankings. Schedules matter and who you play, when you play and who’s cornering the games (teams on each side of a matchup), it all matters.
SEC Power Rankings (2018):
You can see by the HG Stamp calcs – there is a clear divide from the third spot Auburn occupies to the fourth at Texas A&M. From 4th to 9th is a strong second tier of teams that are only separated by less than five points.
Also as a reminder, while the divide between the two top identifiers is nearly 31 points – that doesn’t equate into Alabama being 31 points on the field better than Georgia.
From South Carolina, to Mississippi State, to LSU and everyone in that second tier, it should be a very exciting season to see how these teams pan out.
Looking at the SEC coaches, a reminder we assign new coaches a value of TWO or THREE because we do not know what they will do as head coaches. We assign a defensive head coach a value of 2 and an offensive head coach the value of three, because we see a trend of offensive minded head coaches coming out of the gate at a faster rate than the defensive guys.
With coaches that have a track record we are looking at wins, losses, top 25 wins and losses and more to build their composite stamps.
Quarterback play should be as good as it’s been in the league in a number of years as the SEC has as many as eight established guys who can produce. Question marks still abound at blue bloods Tennessee, Florida and LSU.
And if you missed National Signing Day – that changed our recruiting analytics as far as our three year trend. Talent matters and matters greatly and Georgia has caught Alabama under Kerby Smart.
3 Year Talent HG Composite (attrition accounted for in all rankings)
Finally we have to look at strength of schedules in the league – Georgia plays a lolly-pop non-conference slate, while teams like LSU, Alabama, Miss. State, Tennessee and others play at least one nice out of conference opponent.
LSU opens the season against Miami, which could be a death trap; Texas A&M hosts Clemson in week 2 and Auburn plays PAC12 favorite Washington on the opening weekend of college football.
Again I wouldn’t look for two SEC Teams in the College Football Playoff this year, but it should be a great year again down south with as many as 10 teams being bowl eligible come seasons end and possibly three in a New Years Day Six Bowl.
2018 Hour Glass Projections for the SEC: