Can anybody stop Saban and Company?
The SEC kicks off the season with five teams ranked inside the top 12. Alabama and Georgia are the favorites again to meet in the conference title game and both teams will be expected to be in the Playoff discussion at seasons end. The SEC will be very deep again this season as LSU and Florida look to take steps forward offensively, Jimbo Fishers begins Year 2 at Texas A&M, and Gus Malzahn will work to save his job with a loaded roster. I will break down the contenders, highlight some key games, and give my predictions for the upcoming season.
Alabama (-165): As always, Head Coach Nick Saban will have NFL talent all over the field at his disposal. Tua Tagovailona returns alongside what many consider to be the nation’s best receiving corps. There will be a couple new starters up front on the offensive line and a new middle linebacker, but the concerns in Tuscaloosa are very minimal. Bama will travel to Texas AM and Auburn and will also get LSU at home.
Georgia (+300): Jake Fromm returns at QB for the Bulldogs as they will be extremely motivated to get back and right the ship after yet-another devastating loss to Alabama last season. Georgia returns 13 starters and has another elite group of talent coming in this season. Georgia will play host to Texas A&M, has a neutral site game against Florida, and travels to Auburn late in the season. They will not play LSU or Alabama in the regular season.
LSU (+925): As has been the case for the past several seasons, LSU’s season will depend on what kind of production they can get from their offense. The Tigers return 8 starters to a defense that is stacked at all three levels. Burrow returns as the signal caller and will have some of the league’s top playmakers on the outside along with running backs Edwards-Helaire and incoming #1 RB John Emerey. LSU gets AM, Florida and Auburn at home and will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.
Florida (+1250): The Gators come into the season ranked 8th in the country. Mullen will look for QB Franks to improve on his up and down season. The biggest concern for Mullens will be on the offensive line that loses four starters. Florida will play at LSU, at home against Auburn and the neutral site game against Georgia.
Florida vs Georgia: A neutral site rivalry game in Jacksonville, FL will again have added intrigue as the SEC East will likely come down to who wins this game. Georgia took advantage of three Florida turnovers last season to overwhelm the Gators 36-17. I look for Georgia to again win the turnover battle overwhelming Florida in the trenches on both sides of the ball and riding a strong run game. Georgia 31-13.
LSU vs Alabama: I have both teams coming in undefeated in conference play putting massive implications on this rivalry game yet again. Last season, Alabama overpowered LSU in every facet of the game resulting in a 29-0 shutout. I expect LSU and QB Joe Burrows to take a significant step forward this season, but it will not be enough to overcome Bama in Tuscaloosa. Bama 24-20.
Kirby Smart has his best team since taking over in Athens as they are loaded and deep in all phases of the game. QB Jake Fromm outplays Tua in another epic showdown between the two head coaches, and the third times a charm for Smart and company. Georgia 34 Alabama 31
Player of the Year: Jake Fromm, Georgia
Defensive Player of the Year: Dylan Moses, Alabama
Coach of the Year: Kirby Smart
Futures/Win Total Bets I am taking:
Georgia to Win SEC: +300
Georgia O10.5 wins: -130
We will be back on Wednesday to break down the Big 12.
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