Alabama's Saban would be able to see a lot of room for improvement by his Alabama team. Although the record last year was respectable, as anyone who has been paying even scant attention knows, Saban is not about the result. There is no doubt the Crimson Tide coach sees much room for improvement in the process, and that's how he measures the job.
But they put scoreboards in the stadiums and they put the weekly standings in the newspapers (in those places that still have newspapers) and there is a record of championships.
Therefore, we will predict a modest improvement for Alabama this year. It is not reasonable to expect a football team to go undefeated, but where does one predict defeat for Saban's team? There will be tough games for Bama, but does any Crimson Tide opponent look like a favorite this summer?
While Alabama has little room for improvement (and not many would predict a big falloff for the Tide), there are some SEC teams poised to be much better in 2014 than they were last season. Undoubtedly, one or more conference teams will also have a disappointing downturn. For most, though, the best predictor of an upcoming season is how the previous season went.
What does it look like based on last year's conference record and this year's schedule? Which teams improve, which teams go down, and which stay about the same?
Here is a look at each SEC team with its 2013 conference record and its two opponents from the opposite division for 2014:
Florida, 3-5, at Alabama, LSU
Georgia, 5-3, at Arkansas, Auburn
LSU, 5-3, at Florida, Kentucky
Mississippi State, 3-5, at Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Missouri, 7-1, at Texas A&M, Arkansas
South Carolina, 6-2, Texas A&M, at Auburn
Tennessee, 2-6, at Ole Miss, Alabama
Texas A&M, 4-4, at South Carolina, Missouri
Vanderbilt, 4-4, Ole Miss, at Mississippi State
One man's gut reaction is that Florida and Arkansas improve the most and Vanderbilt and Missouri have the biggest drops.