Fellow SEC blogger Chris Low brought you his 10 fearless predictions for the 2011 season, so now it's my turn.
I'm sure we'll all look back on this post at the end of the season and think, "Man, the youngster really brought it with his preseason predictions. Maybe, just maybe, he might know a little bit about what he's talking about ... maybe."
Here are my 10 fearless predictions for 2011 to mark down in pen:
1. The Heisman Trophy will remain in the SEC: Like Mark Ingram and Cam Newton before, someone from the SEC will bring home the most coveted individual award in college football. Running backs Trent Richardson and Marcus Lattimore are the early favorites from the SEC. And with teams that could contend for the SEC championship and more, each has a great chance of hoisting the bronze prize at season's end.
2. Will Muschamp will chest bump a defensive lineman to the ground at least once: He's known as "Coach Boom" for the almost lunatic persona he takes on during games, but Muschamp has tried to downplay his on-field excitement. However, he needs to bring some energy back to Florida's football team and what better way then by sending the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Jaye Howard to the ground after a big play? BOOM!
3. Mississippi State will get fined yet again for illegal cowbell action: Mississippi State tried to regulate the use of cowbells, but the school was still fined $30,000 last year for improper cowbell usage by fans in 2010. The school has educated fans on when to ring and when not to ring, but there is no getting around it: Those bells will ring at the right and wrong times. Expect more financial loss from Mississippi State's piggy bank.
4. Brandon Bolden will finally eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark: Ole Miss' senior running back is easily one of the most underrated players in the league. And though he's one of the grittiest rushers in the SEC, he has yet to rush for more than a 1,000 yards in a single season. But with one of the most veteran offensive lines around and a new quarterback in the fold, Ole Miss will rely heavily on its running game, meaning Bolden should get more than the 163 carries he had last year and more than the 976 rushing yards he produced.
5. Morris Claiborne will lead the SEC in interceptions, but Tyrann Mathieu will lead in defensive touchdowns: Claiborne enjoyed a breakout season in 2010, ranking third in the league with five interceptions. He's the ultimate cover corner, and with his ability to fly around the field, he'll haul in more picks and will trump his defensive counterparts. But Mathieu might have the best big-play ability around. He has a true knack for finding the ball and created 10 turnovers last year. His tremendous speed makes him a threat to find the end zone whenever he touches the ball, and expect him to find it a few times this year.
6. Chris Rainey will score a touchdown three different ways: A la Randall Cobb, Rainey is a total playmaker and can make life miserable for defenses. Rainey will line up at running back, receiver and return punts for the Gators. He's one of the most elusive player in the league, and he'll find a way to get to the end zone running, catching and on special teams. If he were a tad taller I'd throw him in for throwing one as well.
7. The SEC will send 10 teams bowling ... again: Not only will the SEC be competing for its sixth straight national championship, but the league will have 10 postseason teams yet again. There are obvious teams that will be playing one more game after the regular season, but look for Ole Miss to return to postseason play after a dismal 4-8 season. Auburn might be young, but there is enough talent to get the Tigers to the postseason as well. Just more SEC dominance for the rest of the country to envy.
8. Zach Mettenberger will throw more touchdown passes than Jarrett Lee: With Jordan Jefferson's status for the season unknown, Lee has been tabbed the starter. He's experienced, but he's had a rough college career. Mettenberger has become a fan favorite since transferring from the junior college ranks. He has a cannon for a right arm and probably has the best skill set of the LSU quarterbacks. And while Lee will get the first shot, Mettenberger will see the field. As long as Jefferson is out, these two will battle, and look for Mettenberger to overtake the No. 1 spot. Even when Jefferson returns, Mettenberger should continue to get reps in games.
9. Chad Bumphis will have 1,000 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns: Since his arrival, Bumphis has been pegged as the next great all-purpose player in the SEC. However, he has yet to really play to his potential. He can be used in the passing and running game, and his coaches have been emphasizing the importance that he become that ultimate weapon for the Bulldogs. This is the year the light comes on and he really elevates himself in the conversation of one of the league's best weapons.
10. Vanderbilt will pull a big upset inside the SEC this fall: The Commodores might be a year away from returning to a bowl game, but there is a lot of confidence and buzz in and around that program with the arrival of new coach James Franklin. This team still feels disrespected and overlooked, and it likes it. Vanderbilt has shocked teams in the past, and with an improved coaching staff and attitude, the Commodores will take down a ranked SEC opponent this fall.