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SEC college football preview – An overview of the conference’s top players, games and more




The more things change in college football, the more they really don’t change in the SEC.

Sure, we’ve got a playoff now, talk about conference rescheduling seemingly every week, free agency through the transfer portal, even high school recruits bringing in some serious money under the guise of name, image and rules of similarity. .

But in spite of everything, the SEC continues to dominate the sport and has produced 12 of the past 16 national champions. Five different SEC schools have won titles during that period, and only once in the past 16 seasons has an SEC school failed to appear in the national championship game. Twice in the past five years, two SEC schools (Alabama and Georgia) have competed for the title.

Here’s a sneak peek at the 2022 SEC season as Georgia tries to become the first school to repeat itself as a national champion since Alabama in 2011-12.

Storylines to watch

1. Saban vs. Jimbo

Oh, you thought the vacuuming between Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was over? Sure, they’ve said the right things ever since Saban claimed the Aggies’ top-ranked recruiting class was bought and paid for with NIL money and Fisher shot back and called Saban a narcissist, but who really believes this was the end? Don’t forget what happened last season when Texas A&M upset Alabama in College Station with a last second field goal. Alabama players haven’t forgotten what it was like when fans rushed onto the field. Against that backdrop, with Saban and Fisher’s fractured relationship to consider, Texas A&M’s October 8 trip to Alabama will be must-see TV. Not to mention the potential ramifications for the division with the Aggies hoping to finally beat the Tide and play for an SEC championship.

2. Georgia top up

The term “rebuild” is a bit fraught this off-season. First, we had Saban saying that last season was a rebuilding year for the Tide — despite winning the SEC and appearing in the national championship game. Then came Kirby Smart, whose Georgia Bulldogs beat Alabama in the championship, and said they weren’t rebuilding despite losing more than a dozen players to the NFL draw, including five first-rounders on the defensive. And maybe he’s not wrong. Defensive lineman Jalen Carter, a potential first round pick next year, is back. So is linebacker Nolan Smith. Moreover, there are four direct top three recruitment classes to draw from in Athens. Aside from a possible championship hangover, it will be interesting to see early on how all that talent replaces all that experience.

3. New Coaches

It wasn’t the wildest coaching carousel ever in the SEC, but it was remarkable, with Brian Kelly replacing Ed Orgeron at LSU and Billy Napier replacing Dan Mullen in Florida. Orgeron was less than two years away from a national championship and Mullen was six months away from signing a three-year contract extension after appearing in the SEC title game. But what’s done is done, and both Kelly and Napier have their hands full reforming rosters that were exhausted thanks to the transfer portal. But there is reason for hope when it comes to the quarterback position. At LSU, Kelly brought in former Arizona State starter Jayden Daniels to compete for the starting job. In Florida, losing to last year’s starter Emory Jones was not ideal. But Anthony Richardson, who showed flashes of Cam Newton-esque dual-threat skills as Jones’ backup, is stepping in with high hopes as a possible first-round pick.

power classification

Surprise, surprise. They are the usual suspects at the top of the SEC, staging a rematch of the conference and the national championships.

1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Texas A&M
4. Arkansas
5. Kentucky
6. Tennessee
7. Be Miss
8. LSU
9. South Carolina
10. Chestnut brown
11. Florida
12. Mississippi State
13. Missouri
14. Vanderbilt

Five games you must see

Florida in Tennessee, September 24

There was a time when Florida vs. Tennessee was one of the most important games in college football. Well, the Gators haven’t won a SEC championship since 2008, and the Vols SEC title drought goes all the way back to 1998. Josh Heupel’s first season on Rocky Top brought hope to a hungry fanbase. But with Florida and freshman coach Napier coming to Knoxville, it feels like the Vols need to win if they want to capitalize on the momentum surrounding the program. They are only 4-38 against main rivals Alabama, Florida and Georgia since Phillip Fulmer’s last season in 2008.

Texas A&M in Alabama, October 8

Easily the conference’s most anticipated game — after the off-season fireworks between Alabama’s Saban and Texas A&M’s Fisher — this one has a little bit of everything. The Crimson Tide was already troubled by being beaten by the Aggies last season, as Fisher became the first of Saban’s former assistants to beat him. The venue is shifting to Tuscaloosa this season and there is no doubt that the Crimson Tide will be ready. The Aggies have stored elite talent under Fisher. They could really send ripples across the conference by beating the Tide for the second year in a row.

LSU in Auburn, October 1

For a while last winter, it looked like Bryan Harsin wouldn’t see a second season as Auburn’s coach after the school launched an internal investigation into his relationships with players and coaches and left him spinning in the wind. But a resolute Harsin survived and feels that the ordeal has only made his team stronger. Auburn will play his first five games at home, and the fourth of those will be against LSU and freshman coach Kelly. The winner of this could potentially claim the surprise of the competition this season.

Kentucky in Tennessee, October 29

Despite John Calipari’s recent comments that Kentucky was a basketball school, Mark Stoops has worked tirelessly to make the Wildcats relevant in football as well. They have won 10 games in two of their past four seasons, bringing back one of the more talented passers in the league in quarterback Will Levis. What Kentucky has not consistently done is beat rival Tennessee. Stoops is only 2-7 against Tennessee, and this late October clash in Knoxville could go a long way in determining who is best equipped to challenge Georgia in the SEC East.

Ole Miss in Arkansas, November 19

No SEC game from a year ago was more entertaining than Ole Miss’s 52-51 win over Arkansas, when the Hogs went for the 2-point conversion and the end-game win and came up short. The Rebels won 10 games in Year No. 2 under Lane Kiffin, while the Hogs won nine games in Year No. 2 under Sam Pittman. The SEC West is an unforgiving division, and these are two teams determined to make a little more noise in a division race that was dominated by Alabama.

Preseason All-SEC Team

More surprises that are actually no surprises at all, as Alabama has a team-high six rosters on our conference team.

QB Bryce Young, Alabama
RB Tank Bigsby, Auburn
RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU
WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee
AP Jaheim Bell, South Carolina
TE Brock Bowers, Georgia
OL Javon Foster, Missouri
OL Layden Robinson, Texas A&M
OL Warren McClendon, Georgia
OL Nick Broeker, Ole Miss
C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas

DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
DL BJ Ojulari, LSU
DL Derick Hall, Auburn
LB Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
LB Nolan Smith, Georgia
LB Bumper Pool, Arkansas
LB Dallas Turner, Alabama
DB Jordan Battle, Alabama
DB Cam Smith, South Carolina
DB Eli Ricks, Alabama
DB Jalen Catalon, Arkansas
NB Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

Special teams
P Nik Constantinou, Texas A&M
K Anders Carlson, Auburn
RS Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

Championship game prediction

Alabama beats Georgia.




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