The past several years in the SEC it has been the Alabama Crimson Tide at the top of the mountain. Alabama never seems to have a question on whether they can contend for the SEC title. Alabama’s dominance this decade is what makes looking for dark horse contenders for the title an entertaining prospect. For the 2017 season, two teams come to mind when looking outside of the traditional powers in the SEC, we will take a look at those two teams.
A team that will catch people by surprise that is on the list is the LSU Tigers. The last time the Bayou Bengals defeated the Crimson Tide was in 2011. LSU’s offense should be improved this season with Derrius Guice taking an even more prominent role this season. Tigers’ fans can look for quarterback Danny Etling to be comfortable in Matt Canada’s system. The Tigers have had a year to improve on offense, and even though the Alabama game is in Tuscaloosa, the Tigers have a better chance of defeating than just about any team in the SEC other than Auburn. LSU has the defense to contend and win the SEC, the offense just needs to catch up with the rest of the team.
Auburn and LSU have the best chance of a team from the SEC West dethroning Alabama. The other team that can possibly dethrone the Crimson Tide is the Georgia Bulldogs. Kirby Smart may know Nick Saban better than anyone that has coached against him. Does that mean that Smart knows everything Saban does? The answer to that question is a no, but Smart does have some weapons at his disposal this season. Georgia will not play Alabama this season, so the only chance they will get to play is in the SEC Championship, but that would be a huge stage to knock off the Goliath of college football.
The Bulldogs have all 10 starters returning on the defensive side of the ball. Georgia has talent all over the defense as well and this is a group that picked up a year of experience. Georgia has some difficult games on the schedule but this group should improve across the board. Quarterback Jacob Eason has a year of experience under his belt and should be improved with another year in Jim Chaney’s system.
LSU will get to play Alabama but the Georgia Bulldogs may not. And Georgia and LSU have a great shot of beating the Crimson Tide. While LSU has the defense, the offense will need to catch up with the defense to have a shot. Alabama is dominant — no doubt about it — but every team can be beat.
Whether it is LSU or Georgia, the Alabama armor isn’t as solid as it once was, this team can be beaten. Teams will still have to play well against Alabama but LSU and Georgia are the perfect dark horse teams to do it this season.