CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017 Season Predictions: What Will Happen In The SEC
Predicting everything that’ll happen this season in the SEC.
What Will Happen? 5 SEC Predictions
1. (Almost) Everyone Will Be Disappointed … Again
It’s the problem with life in the SEC with Alabama still being its dominant self – almost everyone is going to be disappointed and annoyed.
Florida got to the SEC title game two years in a row, but it clunked both times to Alabama – along with the losses to Florida State. This year, the Gators won’t make it three trips in a row.
Tennessee is always disappointed and annoyed. It should’ve won the SEC East last year, didn’t, and it’s not going to do it this season, either. Neither will South Carolina, and while getting to another bowl won’t be bad, Gamecock fans are hoping for more than just getting by.
Georgia won’t be all that miffed, but is it going to play up to its talent level, or will it be their year’s Tennessee? It’ll lose to the Vols again – although there won’t be a Hail Mary this time around.
Fine, so maybe Missouri won’t be all that disappointed by bouncing back from a dud season to a bowl run, but it’ll be a struggle to get there.
And then there’s Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The SEC East isn’t as lousy as it was in 2016, which means it’ll be a struggle for both to get bowling again. Both teams will go into the final weekend needing a win to get to six wins, but the Wildcats won’t beat Louisville this time around, and the Commodores definitely won’t be able to get it done against Tennessee again.
Alabama? It’s Alabama, so going 14-1 with no national title was disappointing. This year, it’ll be Alabama again and almost everything will be fine, but it’ll lose at Auburn.
Auburn knows disappointment – #IronBowl, #SugarBowl – but it’ll be generally happy as the No. 2 team in the West. However, beating Alabama won’t mean a whole lot, except for those who believe it’s a one-game season.
Arkansas and Texas A&M? They’ve beaten their heads against the SEC West wall over the last few years, and they’re not going to break through this season, either.
Is LSU going to be national title good under Ed Orgeron? That’s where the bar is supposed to be set, and the Tigers won’t come close to it.
Orgeron might be a great coach for the gig, but last year’s loaded Tiger team couldn’t get it done, and with road games at Florida, Alabama and Tennessee, this one won’t either.
Ole Miss will be disappointed as it loses steam in a redshirt season – thanks, NCAA – while Mississippi State will be fine, but it’ll be Mississippi State. It’ll go to a bowl game. No more, no less.
The season will even start out disappointing, with Auburn losing at Clemson in Week Two, Texas A&M losing at UCLA, Florida not getting by Michigan, and South Carolina dripping the opener to NC State.
And woe to the league if Alabama opens up the shiny new palace in Atlanta with a loss to Florida State. That won’t happen, but the Noles are good enough to pull it off.
2. Disappointing? Not The Quarterbacks
The Pac-12 (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Jake Browning, Luke Falk, Justin Hebert) and Big 12 (Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, Will Grier) might have the superstar, brand-name quarterbacks – especially when it comes to what the NFL scouts like.
But in terms of production, college talent, and what’s returning this season at the most important position, the SEC has as many great quarterbacks as anyone.
Can Jalen Hurts win the Heisman? The Alabama sophomore should’ve been in the mix for it a bit more last season.
Jarrett-mania has hit Auburn, with Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham taking over the attack and looking ready for a massive year.
Austin Allen will once again put up huge numbers at Arkansas, Shea Patterson is a rising star at Ole Miss, Kellen Mond was a special recruit for Texas A&M, and Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald will become everyone’s darling as the year goes on.
A 6-5, 230-pound quarterback who can run and throw like Fitzgerald does? It’s sacrilegious to ever use the words Vince and Young in college football comps, but that’s who Fitzgerald might be like size-wise.
And that’s just the West.
Malik Zaire is an upgrade at Florida – if Feleipe Franks doesn’t take the job. Jacob Eason is a rising superstar at Georgia – if Jake Fromm doesn’t take the job. Drew Lock will throw for a bazillion yards at Missouri, Jake Bentley looks like one to build around at South Carolina, Stephen Johnson is a dangerous playmaker at Kentucky, and Quinten Dormady is a good-looking new starter at Tennessee.
The quarterbacks will be good enough to raise the overall play in the league.
3. Back To Business As Usual In The East
Not to keep dogging Kentucky and Vanderbilt, but with Georgia and Tennessee solid, Florida not taking a step back – if at all – and South Carolina and Missouri looking improved, someone has to struggle in the division.
It took everything in the bag for the Wildcats and Commodores to get over the hump and bowl eligible, and then they each got pile-driven in their respective bowl games.
The East still won’t be as good as the West, but at least it’ll have enough talent and enough good teams to make it close.
4. It’s Boring To Keep Picking Alabama, But …
It’s still the Crimson Tide’s league, and everyone else is just taking up space waiting for Nick Saban to get bored.
If Bama gets by Florida State to open things up, where’s the loss? Who’s going to take down the champ?
Remember, last year was supposed to be a problem, with USC top open things up and road games at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU.
This time around, the road games are nicely spaced out, with Texas A&M the only real danger until the regular-season ender at Auburn.
Best of all, from October 7th to November 11th, the team doesn’t have to leave Tuscaloosa, and it only leaves Alabama three times after starting out at Atlanta.
Oh, and Alabama is probably the best team in college football, too. So …
5. The SEC Championship Game Will Be …
Alabama over Georgia
Seriously, what else can the first SEC Championship in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium possibly be?
Alabama might make the new place its second home with three possible games there – if it gets to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game – while Georgia fans will do their best to pack the house for some semblance of a home field advantage.
But it’s Alabama in the SEC title game. You know what’s going to happen.
Where will everyone end up? For all of the SEC Bowl Projections?