Year in year out the SEC has produced national championship teams or teams that have played in the college football playoff. The SEC football schedule is often thought of as being a murderer’s row type of schedule. The SEC will once again be a difficult conference from the top to the bottom of the conference. With this being a preview article, we can take a look at which teams have the best chance to be in Atlanta at the end of the season.
The SEC Eastern division has been dominated by the Florida Gators the past couple of years and this could be another season where the Gators could wind up in Atlanta. The Gators defense has been what has stuck and helped them get to the SEC Championship the past few seasons and they should be a solid force again this season.
Linebacker Kylan Johnson is a player that Florida fans will want to keep an eye on this season. The question mark for Florida fans is on the offensive side of the ball. Can the Gators’ offense produce enough points to win the SEC Eastern division?
The Georgia Bulldogs are the other top contending team in the eastern division with a shot of playing in Atlanta. Georgia’s offense is going to be one for fans to keep an eye on this season. The Bulldogs will be led by Jacob Eason and Nick Chubb. Chubb has been one of the premiere running backs in the SEC the past three years and his senior season could be his most productive season. Georgia will have almost all of the defensive starters returning for the 2017 season and this could be the best chance for the Bulldogs to win the SEC East.
The representative from the east will likely come down to the game in Jacksonville on October 28th and I think it will be difficult for Georgia to beat Florida, simply based on the recent history. Florida seems to have Georgia’s number and I would not expect that to change this season.
As for the SEC West, the state of Alabama looks to have staked a claim to the top two spots in that division. Alabama came up short in the National Championship game with a freshmen quarterback, which will make the Crimson Tide even more dangerous this season.
Nick Saban after a defeat usually comes into the next season even more aggressive. The Crimson Tide always seems to reload and not rebuild and that is something Alabama fans have become used to while Saban has been there. Alabama fans should expect to see Jalen Hurts become a more effective passer this season and the running game continue to punish opposing defensive lines. Alabama should one again be favored to win the SEC West, even though Auburn will be much improved this season.
The Auburn Tigers are the second team that fans of the SEC will be watching to win the SEC Western division. Auburn will have punishing running back Kamryn Pettway back to terrorize SEC defenses this season. Auburn will have Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham taking the snaps at quarterback and that will add an accurate passer to the Tigers’ offense.
The SEC West will likely come down to the Iron Bowl that is played at the end of the season. Alabama hammered Auburn last season and Auburn will have to play very well this season to have a chance of gaining control of the SEC West.
The bottom line is this could be a case this season of the more things change the more things stay the same. SEC fans should look for an Alabama-Florida matchup once again this season. The winner may once again have a trip to the college football playoffs on the line. Enjoy the season, it should be a great one!