A major perk of SEC Banter is the crystal ball that predicts the fate of Southeastern Conference teams. You’d be amazed at its accuracy. With SEC football just around the corner, let’s stare into the crystal ball and learn how the teams from the SEC Western Division — home of college football’s national champions in four of the past five years — will fare this year.
First up is defending BCS champion Alabama. The crystal ball says Bama’s success is closely correlated to the size of Nick Saban’s ego — great news for Tide fans! It also predicts that Alabama fans will carry themselves with a dash of arrogance and a sense of entitlement. But heck, who can blame them?
The crystal ball forecasts an outlandish scenario for the Arkansas Razorbacks. It says that head coach Bobby Petrino will take his Harley for a spin with some bimbo bombshell on the back, crash, then lie to his superiors about the bimbo’s presence. Arkansas drops the hammer and cans Petrino. For Petrino’s replacement, the Hogs lure John L. Smith away from Weber State, his alma mater, just four months after Smith became the school’s head coach. Oh, and Smith files for bankruptcy. Pure class, baby.
For Auburn, the crystal ball says the fan base will develop an inferiority complex related to its arch-rival, Alabama, and continue its nothing-special existence in life without Cam Newton.
Ahh, LSU. The crystal ball always has something bizarre in store for Les Miles’ Bayou Bengals. This year, it says the Tigers will garner a No. 1 preseason ranking despite receiving fewer first-place votes than Bama or USC. Then, the Tigers will dismiss their best player and Heisman hopeful, Tyrann Mathieu, shortly before the season starts. Finally, the crystal ball predicts Les Miles will look funny in his white LSU cap and speak in such a distinct vernacular that it’s darn near impossible to decipher what he’s saying. But somehow, the deeply talented Tigers will find themselves on the cusp of greatness yet again.
Mississippi State. The crystal ball doesn’t know what to say about the Bulldogs of the West. It likes MSU’s head coach, Dan Mullen, but predicts that Mullen will struggle attracting big-time athletes to Mississippi State because, after all, it’s Mississippi State. No one said this crystal ball was Mr. Nice Guy.
Ole Miss. The crystal ball sees another irrelevant campaign for the Rebels but is thrilled about a stellar year in the Grove, the distinctly Southern home of the best tailgating in college football. Further, the crystal ball says Ole Miss games will become excuses for drinking, socializing, and looking at the best-dressed girls in the South. Who would’ve thought?
And now for the SEC West’s newest member, Texas A&M. Staring deep into the crystal ball, I’m told that A&M students and fans will perform a bevy of corny cheers and engage in slightly weird/awkward activities during games, all under the guise of “tradition.” The crystal ball also sends a heartfelt good luck to the Aggies, who left the Big 12 to compete with the likes of Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn — and that’s just in the SEC West.
On the subject of Texas A&M, I must depart from the crystal ball briefly to address comments by one of the most talented, and certainly most interesting, entertainers in America, Lyle Lovett. I read that Lyle, an A&M grad, was somewhat skeptical of the Aggies joining the SEC. Texans are leery of anything non-Texan. For example, Lyle said he won’t eat Mexican food outside of the Lone Star State.
Obviously Lyle hasn’t paid a visit to Nuevo Laredo in Atlanta. Well, guess what, Lyle, we’re skeptical of you Aggies, too, what with your “yell leaders” and all. But if A&M ever makes it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, we’ll hit Nuevo Laredo, my treat. All you have to do is sing “If I Had a Boat” for me once. Maybe twice. Love that song.
Finally, the crystal ball has predicted the SEC West champ. Unfortunately for Lyle and his merry band of yell leaders, it’s not Texas A&M. It’s the winner of the LSU-Alabama game in Death Valley on Nov. 3. Really went out on a limb there, crystal ball! Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Contact him at email@example.com.