Pages 92 and 93 of our Gameday on Rocky Top college football preseason magazine includes a Stock Watch that lists all of the SEC teams in order of how they finished in their respective divisions. For each team, it includes (1) a baseline (last year’s record, standing in the division, final ranking in the AP poll, if any, and final SP+ ranking), (2) this year’s returning production numbers, (3) this year’s overall team talent ranking, and (4) a projection for this year’s record and standing in the division. There’s also a BUY, SELL, or HOLD recommendation along with a short blurb explaining the rationale for the recommendation.
What we want to do today is take the whole stock concept just a bit further. I’m going to give each of you a hypothetical $100 worth of stock (because I’m hypothetically rich) in each of the 14 SEC teams. I’m also going to give you a hypothetical $600 cash (because I’m hypothetically generous as well.) Your job is to reallocate your SEC portfolio using those resources. What stock do you want to convert back into cash? What stock and how much of it do you want to buy?
Here’s how I did mine.
Gameday on Rocky Top 2020 College Football Preview Magazine
I’m dumping the following teams in the following amounts:
- LSU ($100)
- Georgia ($80)
- South Carolina ($100)
- Vanderbilt ($100)
LSU just has too many new parts in a season where I think continuity is more important than ever. Passing game coordinator Joe Brady and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda are both gone, and the roster returns the least amount of production of any team in the SEC, Joe Burrow chief among them. If the object is to buy low and sell high, you cash out when you think the stock is at an all-time high and likely to go down, and that’s what we have here. They’re not worth last year’s price. I’ll buy them again later.
Georgia’s defense was phenomenal last year and may get even better this year. But I think they have issues on offense, issues that didn’t just manifest this year with all of the departures. It actually started last season and will only be exacerbated by all of the departures this year. It just seemed to me like they missed Jim Chaney more with each game. Now, they have another new offensive coordinator, and when they lost offensive line guru Sam Pittman, four linemen decided to leave early, three to the NFL and one to Tennessee. And that’s before we even get to the fact that they’ll be breaking in a new quarterback in a short offseason. They’re still good, and that defense is so elite that it might actually be able to win most games all by its lonesome, but I just don’t see Georgia’s value going anywhere but down this fall. I’m keeping $20, but converting $80 to cash to spend in other places.
South Carolina and Vanderbilt? The forecast is gloomy for these guys. My official prognostication for the Gamecocks this year is that Will Muschamp, fair or not, is getting fired by his schedule. And you’re not going to lose money holding Vanderbilt stock because they can’t go lower than the basement, but that capital can be put to better use.
That gives me an extra $380 in cash to put a total of $980 in my account. I’ve zeroed out on LSU, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, and I’m down to only $20 in Georgia stock.
Here’s what I’m going to hold:
- Mississippi State
With the exception of Auburn, the decision to hold these teams is due primarily to them turning over the entire coaching staff combined with a catastrophe of an offseason. I will note that Drinkwitz did well in only a single season at Appalachian State, and I do like all of the new staff rosters. But until I see some evidence otherwise, I’m still convinced that this is a bad year to be a new team.
So why is Ole Miss, which also has a new staff, not on this list? We’ve seen up close and personal that Lane Kiffin can do well in a first year, and the Rebels return a ton of production.
Auburn? Shrug. I just don’t see them getting any better or worse. But they could also do either. So . . . hold is just a default decision for those guys.
Alright, so I have $980 to spend on teams I want to buy. Here’s how I’m spending that money:
- Texas A&M ($400)
- Tennessee ($300)
- Florida ($100)
- Alabama ($100)
- Kentucky ($40)
- Ole Miss ($40)
Texas A&M lost five games last year, but they only lost to really good teams. As I noted yesterday, they have more overall coaching and roster continuity than any team in the SEC. And this year, they trade a cross-divisional game with Georgia for one against Vanderbilt and a non-conference game against Clemson for one against Colorado. That’s two games better, just for free. LSU may still get them, but it’s not the automatic loss it was last year. Auburn . . . who knows? And Alabama probably gets them and the SEC West crown, but I think the Aggies have a pretty good shot. So I’m thinking some upside is practically guaranteed, and there’s a pretty good opportunity for a windfall. It’s not quite “all-in,” but it’s “more-in-on-them-than-anyone-else.”
My thought process on Tennessee is similar to that of A&M except without the dramatic and favorable change in schedule. I think the Vols get better even if they don’t get past Florida and/or Georgia, so there’s some upside in value there. I also think that the odds that they actually do get past either or both of Florida and Georgia is greater this year than it’s been for some time. So, I’m buying big on the Vols.
The problem is that Florida is getting better, too, so even though I’m going to have to keep that stock in a sealed container in the garage so it doesn’t smell up the house, I’m getting some extra of the Gators, too.
Alabama is an expensive, well-established stock, but I think it will tick up a bit this fall now that Joe Burrow isn’t in the way.
I just like Kentucky and Ole Miss. Good coaches with decent rosters that probably aren’t going to get into the mix for the divisional crowns but will likely increase in value this year.
The GRT 2020 SEC stock re-allocation podcast
Will and I did our allocations live on the latest GRT podcast. Listen here:
What about you? What are you buying, selling, and smoking this year?