For sports fans in the South, late June and July are filled with Braves highlights and the search for college football.
Well, there's plenty of time to check in on the good ol' boys of summer since they have 80-plus games to play.
As for college football, well, the experts in Las Vegas have released the over/under win numbers for all of the BCS programs. This is the number of victories the lines-makers set for each team, and the public can bet over (exceed the set total) or under (fall short of the set total).
Let's examine the SEC over/under win totals as compiled by RJ Bell of pregame.com, and if we had a taste to make an occasional bet, it would be for entertainment purposes only, of course:
Alabama -- Over/under 11 wins
Since these totals are for regular-season results only -- potential bowl games and conference championships do not count -- this is high praise for the Crimson Tide. To win the over, Alabama would have to run the table -- and I'd put my entertainment vouchers on the Tide doing just that.
Arkansas -- Over/under 5.5 wins
The West Division of the SEC is a tough place to rebuild. There's not much mercy offered and no quarter given, so the Hogs getting to six wins seems unlikely.
Auburn -- Over/under 6 wins
Over. The pieces are there for the Tigers to win eight games. Of course, if no reliable quarterback is found, the pieces are there to lose eight games, too.
Florida -- Over/under 9 wins
Under. Talented? Yes. But are we ready to trust Jeff Driskel to win 10 games in the SEC? Not for my entertainment vouchers.
Georgia -- Over/under 10 wins
Great number that falls right on the cusp. An offense that could be as good as any in the country will have to support a young defense, especially early. If forced, we'd take the over, but 10 on the money seems like the pick.
Kentucky -- Over/under 4 wins
Another great number, but the Wildcats' schedule -- they play nine teams who made bowl games in 2012 -- points to under.
LSU -- Over/under 9 wins
Over. Sure, there were mass defections of underclassmen, especially on defense, but of the Tigers' three toughest games, two -- Florida and Texas A&M -- are in Death Valley.
Mississippi -- Over/under 8 wins
Under. There is a lot of momentum in Oxford, and the future looks especially bright considering Hugh Freeze just landed a top-five national recruiting class. That said, the Rebels are not as complete as they were a year ago and not as good as they will be this time next year.
Mississippi State -- Over/under 5 wins
Over. Here's saying the Bulldogs have peaked under Dan Mullen, but with Tyler Russell back at quarterback -- and half the SEC would trade five scholarships to be named later for Russell -- and a schedule that includes three nonconference cupcakes, Kentucky and winnable games against Oklahoma State, Auburn, Arkansas and Kentucky, the current is palatable. The future, well, let's wait and see.
Missouri -- Over/under 6 wins
Under. The league's second-best James Franklin is back. Still, the Tigers are walking into a gun fight with a switchblade when it comes to talent.
South Carolina -- Over/under 10 wins
Over. Here's saying the Gamecocks are the second-best bet as a national-title contender in the country. Look at it this way: They get Georgia early. They get Clemson at home. They play Mississippi State and Arkansas from the West. If things go as predicted, an upset of Alabama in the SEC title game puts the Gamecocks in the BCS title game against Ohio State. And we all know how Ohio State fares against the SEC.
Tennessee -- Over/under 6 wins
Over. Yes, the schedule is tough. Yes, the roster is young. Yes, the quarterback is new. So what? Here's a tip of the cap for Butch Jones and saying he surprises someone along the way. And when Jones gets these Vols to 7-5, he's going to deserve discussion for coach of the year.
Texas A&M -- Over/under 10 wins
Under. Johnny Football likes being Johnny Football. The Aggies lost several players who were picked in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. There is no way they are going to sneak up on anyone. And you know Nick Saban has been scouting them since last November and the Tide are going to drop bombs in College Station.
Vanderbilt -- Over/under 7.5
Under. James Franklin has worked miracles, but raising the expectations and meeting those raised expectations are two different matters. The recent off-the-field police matters do not help, either.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6273.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...