SEC 2017 Preseason Preview: SEC Rankings
It may still technically be considered the offseason. But if you’re a fan of Southeastern Conference football, then you know that football in the South goes year round. And with September almost here, that can only mean one thing: It’s time.
The SEC looks to be the top league in the nation yet again. And chances are, they could even end up with two teams in the college football playoff. Who will it be? Let jump into our preseason ranking for 2017.
14. Ole Miss
It’s anyone’s guess how the Rebels will perform this year. With no bowl eligibility, they won’t have any postseason chances. They also have a lot of star talent but could lack the depth and motivation to compete on a weekly basis this year. Losing head coach Hugh Freeze right before the season certainly means that the Rebels are in a full rebuild mode.
Best case scenario, Vanderbilt can pull out a few upsets this year. They started to gain some offensive steam at the end of last year, which will be interesting to see if any of that translates into this year.
12. Mississippi State
Just like last year, a weak secondary unit could be the Achilles’ heel for the Bulldogs. QB Nick Fitzgerald will have a tough task ahead of him as the Bulldogs will need him to carry the load most of the way.
With an improved defense and an explosive offensive backfield, Kentucky will have to try and build on last year’s breakthrough season. While the team could pull out a few shocking wins, they probably won’t be talented enough to win the East.
10. South Carolina
Will Muschamp will need more time if he is going to do anything of note in the SEC. But his team this year could be a thorn in the side for some teams, especially if anyone tries to overlook them. Overall, this team doesn’t have enough star power to compete.
This could be a bounce back year for Missouri. Expect the defense to play better this year. While they may not come close to winning the east, they won’t be as bad as they were in 2016 either.
8. Texas A&M
The biggest question everyone wants answered in College Station is: Will Kevin Sumlin get fired? And that’s a real possibility. The Aggies have had pieces over the years, but they have never been able to put that into a playoff-contending, complete team. Expect Sumlin to be coaching for his job this season.
Brett Bielema has built Arkansas into a reliable SEC West school. And he seems like he is on the verge of tying it all together. This year will depend on the defense and if they are capable of bringing home Ws against some strong SEC West opponents.
With Ed Orgeron at the helm, the Tigers defense might be back to what we are used to seeing. This year’s team still probably doesn’t have the talent at QB to make a SEC Title run. But as always, teams will need to watch out for their stellar ground game.
With QB transfer Malik Zaire from Notre Dame, the Gators will be in the hunt this year. Per usual, the defense is going to have the talent, fast and not fun for opposing QBs. But the question is: Does the team have enough to win all the big ones?
The Vols have a lot of moving parts and will have to replace a lot from last year, which ended in a bit of disappointment after losing to South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The Vols should have the talent to keep with anyone in the conference, but it’ll just be a matter of putting it all together.
Probably the favorite to win the East this year. Kirby Smart knows he needs to do a lot better in his second year as coach or things will start to get hot. The defense is talented. Combined with one of the best 1-2 running attacks in the nation, Georgia could even contend for a playoff spot
Auburn’s offense is expected to run all over everyone this year. With the addition of Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham, the offense may have just what it needs to make a playoff berth. Even if the defense is just mediocre, Auburn’s offense should be able to carry them all the way up to the Iron Bowl. Then it’s anyone’s guess what can happen.
Like every year, the Tide are the hands-down preseason SEC favorites. Expect Bama to be really, really good. Yes, they’ll have some holes to fill after losing in the championship game to Clemson last year. Just don’t hold your breath for the Crimson Tide’s dominance to be slowing down anytime soon.