The status of the 2020 college football season remains in doubt because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn't mean that prediction season has to wait. The key to predicting any conference is to dive deep into the schedule and take a closer look at how each season will shake out.
CBS Sports has taken a deep dive into every game and come up with preliminary record predictions for all 14 SEC teams (subject to change, of course). Will LSU stay atop the conference, or will Alabama, Georgia, Auburn or another contender ascend SEC supremacy?
Predictions are based on production from previous seasons, coaching acumen, overall talent, returning production and potential development of rosters. Of course, upsets happen every season. Major upsets will be included in the analysis as needed.
Check out the breakdown of the likely wins, losses and final record below for each team in the SEC in the 2020 season:
Florida (11-1, 7-1)
- Wins: Eastern Washington, Kentucky, South Alabama, South Carolina, LSU, at Ole Miss, Georgia, at Vanderbilt, Missouri, New Mexico State, at Florida State
- Losses: at Tennessee
- Analysis: The loss to the Vols in Week 4 might jump off the page, but the Gators have plenty of work to do around quarterback Kyle Trask. An upset -- especially early in the season -- shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Once coach Dan Mullen's crew cranks things up, there will be no slowing them down between Knoxville and an SEC Championship Game berth in Atlanta. Trask has never had an offseason as a starting quarterback. Even though this offseason is disjointed, he should still improve by leaps and bounds. Toss in plenty of weapons outside and a well-coached defense, and the Gators should be able to get revenge against LSU and top Georgia in Jacksonville for the first time since 2016.
Georgia (10-2, 6-2)
- Wins: Virginia, ETSU, UL-Monroe, Vanderbilt, Auburn, at Missouri, at South Carolina, Tennessee, at Kentucky, Georgia Tech
- Losses: at Alabama, Florida
- Analysis: Transfer quarterback Jamie Newman might be a star, but it's hard to expect consistency behind a rebuilt offensive line and a wide receiving corps that remains unproven. The trip to Alabama in Week 3 is a bad time to draw a road game in Tuscaloosa considering the roster shakeup, and Florida is going to be tough to stop given both teams have bye weeks before meeting in Jacksonville. The home game against Auburn got moved up to the middle of the season, and it's hard to see the Tigers offense having a ton of success in that environment against a salty Bulldogs defense.
Tennessee (9-3, 6-2)
- Wins: Charlotte, Furman, Florida, Missouri, at South Carolina, at Arkansas, Kentucky, Troy, at Vanderbilt
- Losses: at Oklahoma, Alabama, at Georgia
- Analysis: The Volunteers should be stout along the offensive line, have firepower in the backfield and a defense that has taken on the mentality of coach Jeremy Pruitt. The quarterback position might not be completely set, but Jarrett Guarantano at least provides some experience unless the potential of another contender is enough to unseat him. They draw Arkansas as their rotating cross-division opponent and have a tuneup vs. Furman prior to the home game vs. Florida on Sept. 26. It sets up well for a team that's clearly on the rise after reeling off six straight wins to end last season.
Missouri (7-5, 3-5)
- Wins: Central Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Eastern Michigan, at BYU, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas
- Losses: at South Carolina, at Tennessee, Georgia, at Mississippi State, at Florida
- Analysis: The schedule sets up well for coach Eli Drinkwitz to post a solid record in Year 1. The Tigers have a road trip to BYU in the middle of the season to fulfill their Power Five nonconference requirement, even though the Cougars are an independent. They have lowly Arkansas has their permanent cross-division opponent and have one of the easiest home schedules in the country. Drinkwitz will exit the season with a solid record to boost his resume, but his actual coaching acumen will still be a mystery.
South Carolina (6-6, 3-5)
- Wins: Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Missouri, at Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, Wofford
- Losses: at Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Georgia, at LSU, at Clemson
- Analysis: South Carolina doesn't have a second Power Five nonconference opponent alongside Clemson in 2020 like it did last year when it opened with North Carolina. That will help coach Will Muschamp and quarterback Ryan Hilinski take the next step in a critical year for the coach. The Gamecocks will lose all of their big games, but win a toss-up at home over Missouri to get over the hump and back to a bowl game after a one-year hiatus.
Kentucky (6-6, 2-6)
- Wins: Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Eastern Illinois, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, at Louisville
- Losses: at Florida, South Carolina, at Auburn, at Missouri, at Tennessee, Georgia
- Analysis: The Wildcats should get Terry Wilson back at quarterback and could have Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood in the bullpen as long as he gets a waiver from the NCAA. But the absence of Swiss Army Knife Lynn Bowden will be too tough to overcome in the race to win the SEC East. The rotating cross-division game at Auburn on Oct. 3 is a tough break, and road games at Florida and Tennessee won't do the Wildcats any favors.
Vanderbilt (3-9, 0-8)
- Wins: Mercer, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech
- Losses: at Missouri, at Kansas State, at Georgia, Ole Miss, at Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, at Texas A&M, Tennessee
- Analysis: This is a schedule that will get coach Derek Mason fired. The Commodores draw Texas A&M as their rotating cross-division game out of the SEC West, have a road trip to Kansas State in mid-September and have to replace running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn -- one of the most electric players in the SEC in 2019. It's hard to find a place for Vanderbilt to find an SEC win. Missouri is on the road in Week 2 and the road trip to Kentucky is at the end of a six-game stretch. Ole Miss might be the most likely candidate considering the Rebels play at Vandy immediately after they play Auburn, at LSU and Alabama in the three consecutive weeks.
Alabama (12-0, 8-0)
- Wins: USC, Georgia State, Georgia, Kent State, at Ole Miss, at Arkansas, Mississippi State, at Tennessee, at LSU, UT-Martin, Texas A&M, Auburn
- Losses: None
- Analysis: The season sets up well for the Crimson Tide to make a run back to the College Football Playoff. Sure, there are several roster spots to replace. But the opener against a reeling USC program and a Week 3 home game against a Georgia team with plenty of roster shakeup itself sets up well for the Tide to gain plenty of experience heading into the thick of the season. They get a bye week before traveling to LSU -- a team that just lost 14 players in the NFL Draft -- and have home games against Texas A&M and Auburn to close out the regular season. In an SEC that is loaded with question marks, a schedule with tough games at home is crucial. Alabama has one.
Auburn (10-2, 6-2)
- Wins: Alcorn State, North Carolina, at Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Kentucky, Texas A&M, at Mississippi State, Arkansas, UMass, LSU
- Losses: at Georgia, at Alabama
- Analysis: Auburn's schedule changed when the SEC expanded to where it gets Alabama and Georgia on the road in even-numbered years. That will come back to haunt them this year. The Iron Bowl comes one week after the LSU game -- which was moved back in the schedule to accommodate the Georgia game's move to the middle of the season. Speaking of Georgia, Auburn hasn't won in Samford Stadium since 2005 and it's going to be tough for quarterback Bo Nix to have success against one of the top defenses in the country.
LSU (9-3, 5-3)
- Wins: UTSA, Texas, Rice, Ole Miss, Nicholls, at Arkansas, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M
- Losses: at Florida, Alabama, at Auburn
- Analysis: Relax, LSU fans. You're still better than Tennessee. The schedule will be too much to overcome in 2020, though. With 14 players off to the NFL and an expected drop from quarterback Joe Burrow to Myles Brennan, it's unlikely that the Tigers can run it back. Sure, the system won't change and the roster is still very talented, but Alabama's offense has more firepower, and The Swamp and Jordan-Hare Stadium are two of the toughest places to play in the country. That doesn't bode well for a Tigers team with an inexperienced roster.
Texas A&M (9-3, 5-3)
- Wins: Abilene Christian, North Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, at Mississippi State, Fresno State, at South Carolina, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt
- Losses: at Auburn, at Alabama, LSU
- Analysis: The first two months of the schedule set up well for the Aggies to enter November with a clear path to the College Football Playoff. The rotating cross-division game with Vanderbilt, nonconference game against a rather average Colorado team and a roster that has been building talent under third-year coach Jimbo Fisher will make this the best Aggies team in more than a decade. They'll run into a brick will against Alabama and LSU to close the season, but that shouldn't take away from what will clearly be a step in the right direction.
Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5)
- Wins: Southeast Missouri, at Vanderbilt, UConn, at Arkansas, Georgia Southern, Mississippi State
- Losses: Baylor, Auburn, at LSU, Alabama, Florida, at Texas A&M
- Analysis: First-year coach Lane Kiffin will draw a tough hand with a dangerous Baylor team out of the gate and a rotating cross-division game vs. Florida in the middle of the season. Vanderbilt and Arkansas on the road should be easy wins, and the Rebels will get revenge in the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State to close out the regular season. Kiffin is an offensive wizard, and sophomore running back Jerrion Ealy should provide plenty of help alongside quarterbacks John Rhys Plumlee and Matt Corral.
Mississippi State (5-7, 2-6)
- Wins: New Mexico, Arkansas, Tulane, Missouri, Alabama A&M
- Losses: at NC State, at Alabama, at LSU, Auburn, at Kentucky, at Ole Miss
- Analysis: It's going to be hard for first-year coach Mike Leach to win any of his road games. The nonconference game in Week 2 isn't prime for an early season upset, and the middle-season stretch of at Alabama, at LSU and Auburn in three consecutive weeks will create a worn out Bulldogs team down the stretch run. That will play a big part in late-season losses at Kentucky and in the Egg Bowl vs. Ole Miss.
Arkansas (3-9, 0-8)
- Wins: Nevada, Charleston Southern, UL-Monroe
- Losses: at Notre Dame, at Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, at Auburn, Ole Miss, at Missouri
- Analysis: Sorry, Sam Pittman. Your first season as a head coach in the SEC isn't going to go very well. The Razorbacks get star running back Rakeem Boyd back and nabbed Florida graduate transfer Feleipe Franks to take the snaps. But the defense was absolutely torched last season (6.54 yards per play), and it's hard to make a case that it will get better despite a coordinator upgrade from John Chavis to Barry Odom. The road trip to South Bend in Week 2 will set off a nine-loss season that will end with Arkansas' third-straight winless SEC campaign.