Don’t let Dabo Sweeny’s comments fool you, this is still the best conference on the planet. This conference is deeper than any of the other’s and has multiple teams that can contend for the College Football Playoff. The west is absolutely loaded, and there is a ton of talent in the east as well.
Texas A&M (9-3)
Mississippi State (8-4)
Ole Miss (5-7)
South Carolina (7-5)
The Tide will continue to roll again this year. With the dynamic duo of Tua and Jerry Juedy returning, the offense should be explosive again. Henry Rugs III and Jaylen Waddle help round out what is quite possibly the best receiver room in the country. Despite the injury to Five-star Trey Sanders, there is still a lot of talent in the backfield. Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr. should be able to handle the load.
They lost a ton on defense, but it’s Alabama, they just reload. Dylan Moses, Isaih Buggs, and Xavier McKinney will lead an extremely talented defense.
Alabama is still loaded, but they lost a lot. They will be tested by Texas A&M, LSU, and Auburn. Their lack of experience and possible depth defensively could prove to be fatal against one of those teams. Regardless, Alabama should still be prepared for a rematch against Georgia in Atlanta.
Once again, the Dawgs have all the tools to win a Championship. Jake Fromm is one of the best signal callers in the country, and he has a ton of weapons around him. They have arguably the best stable of running backs in the country, headlined by standout junior D’Andre Swift and former five-star Zamir White. They have a ton of talent at the receiver position, including former five-stars Demetris Robertson and George Pickens. They will also field the nation’s most talented offensive line.
The defense has a fantastic blend of talent and experience on all three levels. They have a lot of talent along the interior of the defensive line, and they will look to be better at getting to the quarterback. Freshman Nakobe Dean could be the dynamic replacement they have been looking for since Roquan Smith’s departure. Their secondary is overflowing with a mix of both experience and talent.
Outside of Alabama and Clemson, the Dawgs may very well be able to simply “out-talent” everyone. They have premier matchups against Florida, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, and they will have to handle their business against all three. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be back in Atlanta.
The Tigers are incredibly talented on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they will be led by quarterback Joe Burrow once again. Most of their offensive line remained intact, and a solid group of receivers will be on the field. Justin Jefferson, who was a star for LSU last year, should be in for an even better year. Freshman John Emery Jr. upgrades the backfield, even with the departure of Nick Brossette.
Defensively, they might have even more talent. Their secondary is absolutely loaded, and it’s highlighted by the best defensive back in the country, Grant Delphit. Rahard Lawrence, K’Lavon Chaisson and Jacob Phillips will highlight one of the better front sevens in the nation.
This will be one of the most talented teams in the country, and they will be able to play with anybody. They have a very tough schedule, as they have extremely tough matchups against Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, and Florida. They can still absolutely challenge Alabama for a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
The Aggies will field one of the most talented offenses in the country this year. Kellen Mond was one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football last year, and in order for A&M to become a true contender in this division, he will have to take his play to another level. Mond will have the help of talented and experienced groups of both offensive linemen and receivers. Quartney Davis, Kendrick Rogers and Jhamon Ausbon form a fearsome trio of pass catchers.
While the offense should be fantastic, the Aggies could struggle defensively. Despite recent recruiting success, the defensive unit will still lack experience across the board. Their front seven will almost entirely consist of new starters and young rotational guys. The secondary struggled mightily last season, and despite some young talent on campus, they still do not have any proven playmakers on the back end.
The Aggies have a lot of talent offensively, and they have a ton of very talented players coming in. Unfortunately, they will have to deal with one of the toughest schedules in the country, and a defense that has not proven to be spectacular.
It looks like Dan Mullen may have this program back on track. Feleipe Franks played better last season, but he will have to be even better consistently. The same can be said for the offense as a whole, as they struggled with consistency at times. That may not be a problem for them, as they have a lot of offensive talent at the wide receiver and running back positions. Van Jefferson, Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney make up a very talented trio of receivers. The offensive line could cause some problems, as they will be replacing four starters.
Defensively, the Gators are built from the back to the front. CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson make up an elite cornerback tandem in the secondary. The front seven really came on at the end of the season, and they will hope to replicate that late success.
The Tigers are yet another team that has an abundance of talent. Offensively, the biggest question mark is at quarterback. Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix are both viable options, but it remains to be seen which one gives the team the best chance of winning. They have a solid stable of running backs, highlighted by Boobee Whitlow. Although they struggled last year, all five starters will return along the offensive line. They also have a deep receiving corps, which includes both Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz.
Auburn may just have the best defensive line in the country. Derrick Brown, Nick Coe and Marlon Davidson will highlight a very talented unit. There is a lot of talent behind them, but they must replace all of their starting linebackers from last year. Their secondary could be a mixed bag. Daniel Thomas and Jeremiah Dinson are the only known commodities on the back end.
The Tigers have talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. That unit could keep them in games, but they don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with any of the previously listed teams.
The Bulldogs are similar to Auburn, in that they have both talent and questions behind center. Joe Moorehead’s offense didn’t quite turn out to be the high scoring machine that many fans had hoped for, and they will need to be much better in order to compete. They will rely on their running game, which will be highlighted by Kylin Hill.
Defensively, they will hope to replicate the success from last season. They have a lot to replace on that end, most notably Montez Sweat and Jeffrey Simmons. Erroll Thompson and Chauncey Rivers may be asked to carry the load up front. They also lost talent in the secondary, but they are returning both talent and experience at both starting cornerback positions.
The Bulldogs could be a potential sleeper in the SEC, or they could stumble and completely implode. With questions at quarterback, the offense may not step up in the way it needs to. The defense will try to plug a lot of holes, but they may not be able to carry their offense. If both sides of the ball come together, this team could be dangerous.
The Tigers’ program has been stabilized once again. Instead of having to rebuild without Drew Lock, Missouri can still remain competitive this upcoming season with Kelly Bryant behind center. Junior running back Larry Rountree was fantastic last season, as he rushed for well over 1,000 yards.He’s one of the best returning backs in the country, and the Tigers also have a fair amount of talent at the wide receiver position as well.
Defensively, they should be able to do a pretty good job of stopping the run again this year. They have a lot of talent along their front seven, especially on the interior. Getting to the quarterback may be an issue again, which is not something we’re accustomed to saying about this program.
Missouri may be the team that could shock everyone. They have talent on every level on both sides of the ball, and they will be led by a battle tested quarterback. The program is in a good place, and they can make some noise in this division.
The Rebels are bringing in a good recruiting class, and they may have the quarterback of the future in Matt Corral. With the youth and new systems being installed on both sides of the ball, it may be a little rough for them this year. Kentucky is in a similar predicament, as they lost elite talent to the NFL. Terry Wilson’s play will be vital for them.
Vanderbilt has questions at quarterback after the loss of Kyle Shurmer. They have some talent on offense, the problem is that the defense likely won’t do them any favors as they attempt to sort their offense out. The Razorbacks are likely to be led offensively by their running game. Chase Hayden, Rakeem Boyd and Devwah Whaley form a quality backfield. There are still questions at quarterback, and none of their options at that position are going to blow anyone away by any means. The defensive line will have to do a better job when it comes to both rushing the passer and stropping the run. It doesn’t get much better in the secondary. It might be time to bust out the 30-50 feral hog shirts in Fayetteville.