SEC Media Days were held in Hoover — for the final time perhaps — and they were light on news and heavy on speculation, predictions and perceptions. Alabama was the media’s pick to win the SEC Championship, predicted to defeat Georgia in championship game.
A Georgia-Alabama rematch isn’t exactly going out on a limb. Most prognosticators believe that’s what we’ll see the first Saturday in December.
“It’s all over but the playing,” one might joke to the accuracy of such predictions.
There is however plenty of reasons to believe the media’s pick will be correct. Alabama and Georgia have recruited so well and proven they are going to be forces for years to come. But is there any immediate hope for the rest of the SEC? Although I do expect an Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship rematch, there are some contenders wthat could change that.
LSU could find its way to Atlanta. The Tigers would most likely have to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa to make that happen, but they have talent and are supposedly opening up the offense. I know, we’ve heard that for years.
Auburn could be the SEC’s surprise team. Some are downplaying the Tigers because of they will have a new starting quarterback (Joey Gatewood or former Scottsboro player Bo Nix). Other’s just do know what to expect. But Auburn’s defense, led by a fierce defensive line, will be no easy task for any offense to face. The Tigers have what many think is the most difficult schedule in the country. But Auburn’s two toughest games come in November, and both are at Jordan-Hare Stadium. If Auburn can get to those games with no more than two losses and win home games against Georgia and Alabama, an SEC Championship Game win a week later would send the Tigers to the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Florida is likely to be Georgia’s toughest competition in the SEC East. Missouri, with former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant taking the snaps, could be a factor in that race. And we’ll see if Kentucky can sustain its 2018 success and if Tennessee can make a big jump in second-year coach Jeremy Pruitt’s overhaul of the program.
We’re still over a month away from kickoff. But we’re in football mode now. The season is here, even if it isn’t quite yet.