The SEC remains on top of the college football world coming off of their 9th national championship in 12 seasons after having both teams in the national championship last year. This is still Alabama’s league but with a few big coaching moves and some up and coming teams the crimson tide will have a lot of competition coming for them once again and have a good chance of not winning the conference for a second straight year.
We’ll break this down by division starting with the mighty west. The west along with the east saw a few big coaching changes including the biggest one in college football arguably with Jimbo Fisher coming to Texas A&M after leaving Florida State. Mississippi State added former Penn State coordinator Jim Moorhead after Dan Mullen left to join the Florida Gators and Arkansas added Chad Morris the for,er head coach of SMU. The rest of the division looks the same with the power coming from the state of Alabama with the Tigers and Crimson tide.
Auburn won the division last year behind a stout defense and solid play from quarterback Jarrett Stidham later in the year. The Tigers have a real shot of winning this division again if Stidham can continue to get comfortable in this offense and if the defense can replicate what they did last year. Alabama will be Alabama and will have to decide between which talented quarterback will be the guy. Saban has said its going to be Jalen Hurts but I think a lot of Bama fans want to see Tuo get a shot this year. A&M and LSU will be the next teams in line, very talented no doubt but some question marks no doubt as well. Coach Orgeron is finally getting comfortable as the head coach of LSU and this could be the year he brings the Tigers back to their glory and Jimbo is a proven winner with a talented team in A&M.
The mississippi schools are in an interesting spot as well. Both of them have some pieces with a lot to prove and neither want to take a step back after both being near the top over the past few years. I think ultimately Arkansas has the toughest path to the top and Razorback fans should have low expectations this year. With that being said here are my predictions for this year:
4. Texas A&M
5. Mississippi State
6. Ole miss
I think the top 6 teams all make Bowl games this year and Alabama and auburn play in a New Years 6 Bowl/ the college football playoff.
Now to the East which will be a lot less clear at this point in the season. Georgia is the most stable of the teams but they did lose a lot to the NFL draft this past year. The other historic “big dogs” of the east, Florida and Tennessee both have new coaches and are looking to rebuild once again. Florida as a I mentioned welcome back Dan Mullen who won two national championships with the gators as offensive coordinator in 2006 and 2008. Tennessee added Alabama coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and look to model after Georgia’s success over the past few years.
The team that a lot of people think could make an impact is South Carolina, Will Muschamp has exceeded expectations in his first two years with the gamecocks without seeing one of those historically dominating Muschamp defenses he had at Florida. If he is able to produce that in year thee then watch out for the gamecocks this season. Kentucky is another team that has been on the edge the past few years and this just may be the year they get over the hump and win 8 or 9 games. With that being said it’s easier said then done and wildcat fans have been saying that for a few years now. Missouri is on the upswing after rebuilding but there are still a lot of questions about their team as well as the Vanderbilt Commodores.
This is Georgia’s division to lose but if they do lose it, it’s gonna come down to if Tennessee or Florida can make a step back in the right direction. The gators are much close than the Vols. Florida did win the division in 15 and 16 while Tennessee went winless in the SEC. The Gators have the pieces and Mullen is a proven winner in the SEC. I ultimately think the Gators need a year or two before they can get back on top but they should vastly improve from last year. With that being said here are my predictions for the SEC East:
2. South Carolina
I see the top 4 here playing in bowl games with Missouri and Tennessee both just missing the cut at 5 wins. In the SEC championship I think Alabama beats Georgia and gets the bid to the CFB playoff with Auburn in a similar situation as the Tide last year possibly with just one loss to Alabama.