The SEC champion has been in the playoffs ever since it has started. It is safe to say the conference champion is easily something that is very prestigious in college football. I will now break down the conference for the 2020 season and give my predicttion about the future champion.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
After last year’s tough season for Alabama, I have no doubt Saban and crew will come into this season more motivated than ever. The Tide missed the playoffs for the first time in six years and many people said the dynasty was over. Although many fans long for that day to come, it isn’t anytime soon. This year Alabama returns their star running back in Najee Harris and their rising QB in Mac Jones. Last year Jones had a roller coaster of a season but ended up going 3-1 as a starter. Jones looks to be the next Alabama great and with a weakened LSU, it’s their division to lose.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia like many teams in this conference lost a lot of starters on both sides of the ball, this time adding up to 13. The Bulldogs grabbed a graduate transfer from Wake Forrest who will replace Jake Fromm. They also added a new OC in Todd Monken who used to be a Browns coach. The offense looks to be the Bulldogs’ main focus on the defense returns 6 starters and should be able to push through. When I look at this team they have the ability to make it, but will they get their offense going with so many losses
3. Auburn Tigers
Last year Auburn took a freshman QB and went 9-3 passing through the SEC gauntlet. I would call that one impressive year for the Tigers. You would think in year two Auburn could get even better and possibly be the top dog in the SEC, but you’re going to have to pump the breaks on that. Auburn lost 8 starters on offense and 6 on defense, the same as LSU. The main difference here is that Auburn made hires for an OC and DC and keeps their QB. All of those things should easily help the Tigers not to mention they don’t have to play Bama or LSU till the last two games. Auburn could be a team to watch come November if they get the ball rolling the right way to start.
4. LSU Tigers
The Tigers got to the very top of college football and are the defending champions heading into the 2021 season. The problem is there is a very small chance of them doing that again this year. They lost 14 starters on offense and defense including their starting receivers, running back, QB, and most the o linemen. The LSU offense is going to look completely different this year and that just isn’t going to be able to get them back to Atlanta. Coach Orgeron will have to get his team going early so they can carry the momentum into November where they will likely play 3 top 25 teams.
5. Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies have had another top 10 recruiting classes with Jimbo Fisher at the helm of the team. Every year it isn’t enough, but this could finally be the breakthrough for Jimbo and the Aggies. Everyone has problems in the SEC West right now and the Aggies are the only team staying steady. They return 8 offense starters and 8 defensive starters and have QB Kellen Mond on his senior year. It looks like all of a sudden the Aggies should be right in the mix, the only reason they are not higher is because they have never made it through the SEC gauntlet. The Aggies have a real good chance this year, the only questions remaining is will they be able to do it.
They need help to win
6. Tennesse Volunteers
The Volunteers are my sleeper pick to win more games than projected in 2021. They bring back plenty of players who were apart of last year’s teams that went 7-1 in their last 8 games. I think Tennessee is able to win more games because their tough games are spread more apart. We will certainly have to wait and see what the 16 returning starters on offense and defense do next year.
7. Florida Gators
The Gators are looking to gear their offense towards a pass happy attack with most their receivers staying as well as QB Kyle Trask. The Gators lost their running back in Lamical Perine which is why I think that the Gators will be throwing this year. On defense, Florida has to find 6 starters but stars on the defense like Marco Willson staying should help them stay afloat. It will be simply down the Trask in the offense to really see how this team performs especially in big games down the stretch.
8. Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs return 11 starters from their 2020 campaign including their star linebacker in Errol Thompson. They add Coach Mike Leach and a transfer QB in KJ Costello and all of a sudden this team is in business. Mike will have a lot of work to do to make sure the offense is ready for SEC defenses. When that time comes this Bulldog team becomes a lot more competitive.
9. Kentucky Wildcats
The Wildcats have one of the better returning classes in the SEC bring 8 starters back on offense and 8 on defense. They will hold on to their leading rusher in AJ Rose who is set to carry the Wildcats offense. Defensively Marl Stoops will bring back a bunch of players including Jamar Watson who had 11.5 tackles last year. Along with that he also grabbed 6.5 sacks and should have an impact this year as well.
10. Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss is bringing in the Lane Train as well as 8 offensive starters. This includes Mike Corral and John Rhys Plumlee who were the Rebels QBs and their starting running back and star receiver in Elijah Moore and Jerrion Ealy. This should give Kiffin plenty to start with as he reshapes this organization. 7 defenders are also coming back as well which makes this defense be potentially dangerous as well.
11. Missouri Tigers
The Tigers are bringing back 5 offense starters which look like will be the main problem for them. The most notable starter coming back is their star running back in Larry Rountree III who was their team’s leading rusher. On defense they bring back 7, but that isn’t normally the problem in the SEC, with the defense you need offense. Hopefully Rountree III’s presence will lead to some wins for all Missouri fans.
12. South Carolina Gamecocks
All eyes will be on Gamecocks QB Ryan Hillinski who will look to step up in his sophomore year. Though SC lost both of their runningback they retained one of the receivers in Shi Smith. There are in total 7 offensive starters and 6 defensive starters, they should be looking for improvement on defense this year as their players develop. They lost a big defensive star in Javon Kinslaw and will have to replace him on this defense. We will see how Will Muschamp will shape his D as the season goes on.
13. Arkansas Razorbacks
The Razorback looks to have more improvement this year after a disappointing 2-10 record last year. They have a new coach in Sam Pittman who will look to make Arkansas competitive again. They bring 8 offensive starters back as well as six defensive and hopefully under guidance they will be able to improve.
Alabama climbs the latter of the SEC and then loses to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. It is the same story for the Tigers and they advance to the championship. A&M beats LSU for third place in the SEC West. In the East, its Georgia after a close game with Tennesse earlier in the year. In the championship, the East (Georgia) finally wins sending another transfer QB from into the CFP.
Top picture by Tennessee Athletics