Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Jan 2013

ESPN: Alabama's 2013 SEC Challengers

There's no question that Alabama is the premier program in college football right now, and they'll likely be a favorite to win the SEC and national championship again next season. There are a handful of other potential challengers in the conference, and with the recent release of the 2013 SEC conference schedule, we ran very early projections for the race next fall. One set of projections was based on this year's final FEI ratings, and one set of projections was based on the updated Program FEI ratings. As expected, imbalanced cross-divisional scheduling will be as big a factor as ever.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 10 Jan 2013

3 comments, Last at 20 Mar 2013, 3:42am by Daniel888


by JIPanick :: Thu, 01/10/2013 - 10:44pm

Not an Insider, but next year the Ags get Kyle Field when they play 'Bama and get a relatively easy draw of SEC East teams... If they'd played this schedule last year (replacing A&M's Florida loss with a game against Vanderbilt or Missouri) Alabama wouldn't even have won the SEC West.

So, I'm not sure I'd even consider the Crimson Tide the SEC West favorites straight up.

Of course, I may be a little biased. =D

by cfn_ms :: Fri, 01/11/2013 - 12:23pm

One interesting thing about A&M is they were actually -7 for net fumble turnovers ( http://www.ncaa.com/stats/football/fbs/current/team/1059/p2 ) which suggests that they had bad luck this year on that front. Of course, without knowing how many times the offense put the ball on the ground vs defensive forced fumbles it's just guesswork (A&M COULD have dropped the ball a lot and forced few fumbles, in which case you'd expect a margin like this, though I doubt that's the full explanation here), but that at least suggests that A&M did this well even with some bad luck.

Of course, I have no idea how lucky/unlucky they did wrt injuries (which does matter), and it's certainly true that 2012 was an outlier (typically you expect the next year to be something between the previous year and whatever a program tends to run at; in A&M's case that would mean some decline), and I haven't thought much at all about personnel losses... but at the least A&M ought to be rated as a fairly credible challenger to Bama.

Wouldn't buy them at all as the favorite though; it's a plausible outcome that A&M substantially declines, while Bama seems a virtual lock to be top 5 again next year, with something like 10th seeming almost a worst case scenario given how consistently excellent the Tide have been year after year. HFA just isn't enough to outweigh the presumably much higher projected power rating for Bama compared to A&M.

by Daniel888 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/20/2013 - 3:42am

This was a really good challenge. To bad that I was not there last time, but I will be for sure next time. This was a good webpage!