Just like last season, we are presenting our best and worst case scenarios for each SEC team. Since it is impossible to accurately predict what 12 teams will do, this is tongue-in-cheek. That should seem obvious, but I have to mention it in case Mississippi State fans freak out when I make a joke about Starkville.
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We're going in alphabetical order and by division. I wanted to mention that in case Mississippi State fans freak out when they are listed last and don't know why.
Best Case: The Gators complete an Impossible Dream season. UF loses to Alabama, but wins the rematch in the SEC Championship Game. The win secures a berth in the BCS Championship Game following Nebraska's upset of undefeated Texas. The Gators blow out Boise State to win their fourth National Championship.
Worst Case: John Brantley is not ready for primetime. After struggling to defeat USF and a stunning loss at Tennessee, Brantley is limited to handing the ball off to UF's backs. The Gators defense cannot make enough plays and UF loses to Alabama, LSU, Georgia and FSU, finishing the regular season at 7-5.
Best Case: Mark Richt moves off the hot seat with impressive wins over Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech. Led by quarterback Aaron Murray, the Bulldogs are finally defeated by Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. UGA wins the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame.
Worst Case: The Dawgs begin the season 6-0. Before the Vanderbilt game, UGA VIII is introduced and interim mascot Russ is retired. Vandy stuns the Dawgs, 17-13. Georgia then loses at Kentucky, to Florida and at Auburn. The Dawgs recover in time to defeat Georgia Tech, but Mark Richt is fired and the Curse of Russ is born.
Best Case: The Wildcats begin the season 3-0, but drop to 4-5, including losses to Florida, Auburn and Georgia. UK runs the table, defeating Tennessee in Knoxville, to give Joker Phillips a 7-5 record and Liberty Bowl bid.
Worst Case: Kentucky boosters are investigated by the NCAA for allegedly paying recruit Anthony Davis. The morose feeling on campus even puts the football team in a tailspin, as the Cats finish with a losing record. John Calipari quits in April to join the New Jersey Nets.
Best Case: With no clear leader in the SEC East, South Carolina's game at Florida becomes the de facto SEC East title game. Quarterback Connor Shaw takes the Gamecocks into overtime at UF. The Gators' attempt at a tying field goal is blocked, as Cliff Matthews erases the memory of Jarvis Moss in 2006. The Cocks win the SEC East, but lose to Alabama in the SEC title game.
Worst Case: Neither Shaw or Stephen Garcia assert themselves enough to become the starter as Steve Spurrier begins aging in dog years. The Gamecocks defense loses their 2009 form and allows 31 points per game. Following a losing season capped by a loss at Clemson, Spurrier quits.
Best Case: Matt Simms leads the Vols over Oregon and Florida to make Tennessee a top-15 team. Tennessee loses to LSU and Alabama, but clinches the SEC East with tiebreakers over UF and Georgia. The Vols go to the Sugar Bowl following their loss to Alabama in the SEC title game.
Worst Case: After upsetting Oregon, a report leaks that NCAA investigators are prepared to level heavy sanctions on the Vols due to recruiting tactics during Lane Kiffin's time as coach. The report becomes a distraction as UF rolls the Vols. While prepping for LSU, the NCAA announces the Vols will lose scholarships and some recruiting privileges, with Kiffin himself getting most of the punishment. Tennessee finishes the season 6-6 and sees several players transfer out of Knoxville.
Best Case: Robbie Caldwell is named National Coach of The Year, as Vandy finishes the season 7-5, including wins over Northwestern, Ole Miss and Wake Forest. Vandy defeats FSU in the Music City Bowl.
Best Case: The Crimson Tide run the table and win their second consecutive National Championship. Auburn has a losing record and Urban Meyer retires following three consecutive blowout losses to the Tide.
Worst Case: The undefeated Tide face one-loss Auburn to determine the SEC West winner. The Tigers stun Alabama 17-13, with the winning touchdown scored on a 90-yard, three minute drive. After two-loss Florida beats Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, Bama claims they should be in the National Championship game. Instead, undefeated Boise State is picked, and loses to one-loss Texas.
Best Case: Ryan Mallett finishes third in the Heisman voting as Arkansas ends the regular season 9-3. The Hogs defeat Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
Worst Case: The Razorbacks lose their first three SEC games before getting back above .500 with wins against Ole Miss and Vandy. But Mallett never reaches his potential as the Hogs drop 3 of their last 4. Their 6-6 record is good enough for the Papa John's Bowl.
Best Case: Cam Newton becomes the Black Tim Tebow. The Tigers enter the Alabama game with only one loss to LSU. Behind Newton's 100 yards rushing and 250 yards passing, Auburn upsets Alabama on the road. Auburn wins the SEC, but once again misses out on playing for a National Championship when Boise State and Texas remain undefeated.
Worst Case: The Tigers choke in big games, losing to Clemson, LSU, Georgia and Alabama. Auburn wins the Outback Bowl over Purdue, but will be never invited back after their fans start a series of drunken fights in South Tampa the night before.
Best Case: Les Miles and the Tigers roll over an NCAA decimated UNC in the opener. In October, LSU defeats Tennessee, who also suspended players due to NCAA investigations. They lose at Florida, but defeat Alabama, to set up a rematch with the Gators in Atlanta. LSU wins the SEC and defeats an overwhelmed Boise State in the Sugar Bowl.
Worst Case: LSU wins the SEC and faces Boise State in the Sugar Bowl. The Broncos take the early lead, but LSU comes back for a 23-20 advantage. With 20 seconds left, Boise attempts a 31-yard field goal on 4-and-4. Miles, not realizing LSU has used all three timeouts, runs out onto the field to get the officials attention for a timeout. The officials blow the play dead, and give LSU a five-yard sideline warning penalty. With a second chance, Boise scores a touchdown for the 27-23 win.
Best Case: Jeremiah Masoli wins his appeal in time for the Alabama game. The Rebels still lose, but Masoli looks good in the loss. The Rebels finish the regular season 9-3, and defeat Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.
Worst Case: Masoli loses his NCAA appeal. Faced with either enjoying Southern hospitality or staying in school, Masoli picks neither and goes on a two-state crime spree. He is arrested at Graceland trying to steal a guitar.
Best Case: Transfixed by the incredible natural beauty of Starkville, road teams struggle against the Bulldogs, who go undefeated at home. Money Magazine comes to Starkville and picks the city as the 2011 Best Place to Live. Starkville becomes known as "The Paris of The Deep South, Minus The Pinko Liberal Socialists Of The Real Paris."
Worst Case: Dan Mullen still doesn't have the talent to run the spread. The Bulldogs go 4-8. The ghost of Johnny Cash tells Starkville townspeople how much he hates their town, ending the only interesting Starkville had going for them.