Previewing the SEC Conference!

This isn’t e$ECpn, so if you’re looking for a fluff piece on how every team in the conference should make the College Football Playoff, you came to the wrong place. That being said, there’s no denying the amount of talent that resides in the Southeastern Conference, and I think we can
all agree that given the offseason fireworks between Jimbo Fisher & Nick Saban their week 6 matchup is must-see television.

After seemingly always finding a way to choke, Georgia finally broke through in 2021 and won their first National Championship in over forty years. I said it early on last season that Georgia had the best defense I can ever remember seeing in college football, and after Bryce Young
embarrassed them in the SEC Championship game, it seemed to me that they were a lock to annihilate anyone standing in their way from there on out.

This season, I think it’s Alabama who has the chip on their shoulder, and you can bet that Saban hasn’t let his team forget what happened in the National Championship for a second since that final whistle sounded.

SEC West

Alabama – Let’s just jump right into it; Alabama is going to be very, very good in 2022. Bryce Young is back after bringing home the Heisman Trophy last season, and while I think his individual statistics will regress this year, given the losses of a touchdown waiting to happen in
Jameson Williams, and the always steady John Metchie III, he’s a savvy quarterback who finds ways to win games, and just as importantly doesn’t give them away for his team. Do I think he becomes the only player other than Archie Griffin to win the Heisman twice? No. This is the
season I see Alabama reverting back to being a little bit more of a ball control team, leaning on their defense and running game to pound their opponents into submission.

Other than Caleb Williams, I don’t think there was a bigger prize in the transfer portal than Jahmyr Gibbs. Alabama is always loaded at running back, but Gibb’s brings an explosion to his game that they haven’t had at the position in quite some time. After watching his immense talent
be wasted for the first two years of his collegiate career at Georgia Tech, he’s about to become a household name. In my opinion, he’s a lock to rush for over 1,000 yards if he stays healthy, and he’ll be a weapon for them in the passing game as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him
end up as a Hierman finalist by season’s end.

Speaking of Heisman finalists, Will Anderson Jr. is going to be a problem, once again. Him and Dallas Turner are going to be downright scary together, and I wouldn’t blame you for sprinkling a little something on Anderson to hoist the Heisman at +1600.

Alabama and Ohio State seem like they’re on a collision course towards each other, but there’s a lot of football to be played in the meantime!

DraftKing’s Odds:

2022 National Championship Winner +175
2022 SEC Championship game Winner -145
Regular Season Wins over 10.5 -300, under 10.5 wins +235
Jahmyr Gibbs over 999.5 rushing yards -115 & over 9.5 rushing touchdowns – 115

Arkansas – It’s not often that you see a former Offensive Line coach turn a program around so quickly (or at all), but that’s exactly what Sam Pitman has done. I think that K.J. Jefferson is poised to take a big step forward in his second season as the starting quarterback under
Offensive Coordinator Kendle Briles, and I’m expecting a monster season from sophomore running back Raheim Sanders, running behind what should be a very good (and massive) offensive line (I mentioned Sam Pittman was their head coach, right?). This offense should still
have plenty of firepower, even despite the loss of Treylon Burks.

They kick off their 2022 season against a Cincinnati squad that I have a hard time seeing compete in this game, given all the talent they lost to the NFL draft after last years Cinderella run to the playoff. I feel confident that the Razorbacks win this game (ML -245), so I think
that’s the safest bet, rather than messing around with the spread (-6).

Despite how much I like this Arkansas team, they’re schedule this season is pretty difficult, with an out of conference game against BYU (on the road) as well, so I’m going to stay away from the O/U.

2022 National Championship Winner +15000
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +6000
Regular Season Wins over 7.5 +130, under 7.5 wins -150

Auburn – Pass.

There’s nothing interesting about this team, and Byran Harsin will be looking for a new coordinator position after this season. I’m honestly surprised that Tiger fans haven’t tarred and feathered him already… #freetankbigsby
Their charmin soft schedule is the only reason I’m not hammering the under on wins, but this team managing to win 7 games is still a stretch.

Regular Season Wins over 6.5 +135, under 6.5 wins -160

LSU – Does Brian Kelly’s own mother even like him? This guy has more tools in his shed than Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, but he does somehow seem to be a good football coach, despite all the character flaws. After fielding possibly the greatest college football team of all time in 2019,
it’s been quite the fall from grace. The one thing that LSU has never had a problem with, though, is recruiting talent, and the cupboard is far from bare. Kelly won’t have “too high of academic standards” as an excuse anymore, and I expect him to have LSU back to competing for SEC
Championships sooner rather than later, but this season could be an uphill battle. Jayden Daniels was a nice addition through the transfer portal, and Kayshon Boutte could be a dark horse candidate to win the Biletnikoff, after having his impressive 2021 season cut short
due to a season ending injury week 6. As a Florida State grad and diehard Nole, I’ll be there at the Sugar Bowl on September 4th,
hoping to see LSU kick off the Brian Kelly era with a loss. If they’re able to escape the Superdome with a victory, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them start off the season 5-0, given the “strength” of their schedule, so I definitely lean the over on 7 wins, but given that I’ll
be rooting against them in that game with all my being, I’ll be staying away, personally.

2022 National Championship Winner +9000
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +7000
Regular Season Wins over 7 +105, under 7 wins -125

Mississippi State – Is there a better interview in all of sports than Mike Leach? I could listen to this guy ramble on about nothing for hours. This Bulldog’s offense is a lot like his personality – highly entertaining, but lacking substance. I hope they are able to win enough games to make a
bowl game this year, because Leach is an automatic fade for me in bowl games, and easy money, but there schedule looks pretty tough on paper, and I have a had time seeing them get to 6 wins, let alone 7 in order to hit the over on wins. The one thing you can count on is that this offense is going to put up plenty of points, they’re just going to give up a lot more of them to their opponents.. I was tempted to take the over on
touchdowns for Will Rogers at 34.5, but you never know what can happen when things get down towards the goal line, so I think the over on passing yards is the safer play, since you know he’s going to be throwing the ball a ton.

2022 National Championship Winner +25000
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +12000
Regular Season Wins over 6.5 -150, under 6.5 wins +130
Will Rogers over 4,379.5 passing yards – 115

Ole Miss – I doubt we’ll ever find out for certain whether the rumors of Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban’s daughter are true, but you also don’t leave the Offensive Coordinator behind after winning the National Championship if you don’t venomously hate the guy… I am bullish on the Rebel’s offense this year, despite the loss of Matt Corral to the draft. USC transfer Jaxson Dart showed some promising moments last season with the Trojans, and barely edged out Luke Altmyer in what was a very competitive battle for the starting job. What this signals to me is that Mississippi has a very capable backup, who can step in and answer the bell if anything were to happen to Dart. They also landed my favorite running back in the
transfer portal other than Gibbs in Zach Evans, and I wish I could find a prop bet on his season totals. After former Offensive Coordinator Jeff Lebby jumped ship to Oklahoma after last season, I see this being more a potential bell cow situation, rather than the running back by committee we’re accustomed to seeing under Lebby. Also keep an eye on wide receiver transfer Jaylon Robinson, whose skill set should be maximized playing under Kiffin. I count 7 very winnable games on their schedule, so they just need to win another coinflip or two to comfortably cover the over on wins.

2022 National Championship Winner +10000
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +5000
Regular Season Wins over 7.5 -145, under 7.5 wins +125

Texas aTm – I have an ambivalent relationship with Jimbo Fisher; I love that he brought FSU home our third National Championship (being there at the 2014 Rose Bowl was the greatest day of my life), and I hate the way he did us dirty when he left for Texas A&M. When it comes to recruiting, Jimbo has always been elite, so it’s only natural that combining his natural recruiting tenacity with $30M of boosters oil money in NIL = the highest rated class of all time. Jimbo has a little bit of a Napoleon complex, though, so he doesn’t like hearing it get brought up (SlicedBread?!?!).

Last season Jimbo became the first Nick Saban assistant coach to beat his former mentor (but he wouldn’t be the last), in what was one of the most thrilling games of the 2021 season, netting him a contract extension in the process. What’s the most interesting to me is how much Jimbo will be willing to adapt his offensive philosophies this season, given that he prides himself on his playbook being harder to learn than quantum physics – multiple former FSU players have said that their playbook in the NFL was easier to learn than their playbook in college. Evan Stetwart is the truth, and talent wise is my favorite freshman WR in the nation, aside from Luther Burden (most to come on him later), but Jimbo has a propensity for refusing to play freshman wide receivers until they understand all the complicated details of every single route tree – will that change now that he’ll have boosters breathing down his neck, wanting to see a return on their investment? Redshirt-sophomore Haynes King, who I was high on last year prior to him being lost for the season early on is back at the helm, and probably an expert at quantum physics at
this point, so I expect this offense to be clicking on all cylinders. aTm’s defense is absolutely loaded with talent, and while losing Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko to Duke could present some problems, rest assured that D.J Durkin must be the best
replacement that money can buy.

While I think this team is still a year away from being a legitimate playoff contender, it might be worth sprinkling a little bit on them to win the division / conference, in case Alamba isn’t the Terminator I believe they’ll be this season, but in my opinion the over on wins is a lock.

2022 National Championship Winner +2500
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +1800
2022 SEC West Division Winner +700
Regular Season Wins over 8.5 -150, under 8.5 wins +130

SEC East
Georgia – No program has won back to back Natty’s since Alabama in 2011 / 2012, and I have a hard time seeing the Bulldog’s be the first. While Athen’s legend Stetson Bennett (this dude may not ever have to buy another beer in the state of Georgia for the rest of his life) is back for an
encore, Georgia lost a ton of talent to the draft on both sides of the ball, and while Kirby Smart has created a recruiting juggernaut that is one of the best in the country, they may have to rebuild a little bit more than they reload this season. Sophomore tight end Brock Bowers is back, though, and looking to build off of one of the best freshman seasons for a TE that we’ve seen in college football history. While defenses will
obviously be keying in on him more this season, and building their game plan around stopping him, I still love the over on 9.5 touchdowns for him, despite my thoughts that he’ll take a little bit of a step back in receiving yards from last season. Georgia has been pretty much a lock to hit their over on wins since Kirby Smart took over for Mark Richt following the 2015 season, and this year should be business as usual. While I see
them taking a step back, their schedule is sort of a joke, as they should easily dispatch Oregon and former Defensive Coordinator Dan Lanning in their season opener, and the rest of their out of conference schedule is basically against high school teams. The Bulldog’s schedule sets up
nicely for them to once again win the SEC East, and set up yet another showdown against Bama in the SEC Championship game.

2022 National Championship Winner +400
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +155
2022 SEC East Division Winner -550
Regular Season Wins over 10.5 -240, under 10.5 wins +195

Florida – Go home, nobody likes you! Just kidding, but not really. New Gators head coach Billy Napier takes over for the always “good for an awkward moment”, Dan Mullen (at least he didn’t do god knows what to a shark, like his predecessor) in his first season steering the ship in the P5 after a very impressive run at Louisiana. Can he make the jump? I’m still waiting (hoping) for Mike Norvell to take that step, but maybe Napier will be able to catch lightning in a bottle. Florida is interesting this year, if only because there’s no telling how good Anthony Richardson (why are there no player props on this guy?!?!) can actually be, combining an arm that can’t get past a weapons embargo, with blazing speed. In limited action last season, he had some moments that made you think he could be the next Patrick Mahomes, combined with times he made Jamarcus Russell look like a first ballot HOFer. Since I’m inclined to fear what I don’t understand, and I hate the Gators as much as the Bloods hate the Crips, I am going to assume he’s going to be amazing. Also keep an eye on Montrell Johnson Jr, who followed Naper over from Louisiana, as the Gators try to replace the production of Dameon Piece at the running back position.

Given Florida’s schedule, I think winning 7 games will be challenging, but there’s a chance I may be slightly biased…

2022 National Championship Winner +9000
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +4500
Regular Season Wins over 7 -125, under 7 wins +105

Kentucky – Mark Stoops has had an unbridled level of success these last few years at Kentucky (just don’t ask John Calipari), and while it might be hard to replicate last season’s 10 wins, I like the grit of this team under Will Levis. Kentucky lost do-everything gadget transfer (I knew Scott Frost was a fraud) Wan’Dale Robinson to the draft, but should at least replace some of that production with Tayvion Robinson, who transferred in from Virginia Tech. In a shocking recent development, star running back Chris Rodriguez is no listed on Kentucky’s most recent depth chart, leaving Kevosiey Smoke as their #1 option (a tip for all my fellow college fantasy football freaks out there). I think Kentucky has a ceiling of 8 wins this season, despite how bullish I am on Will Levis, so I don’t have a lean either way here.

2022 National Championship Winner +12000
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +5500
Regular Season Wins over 8 +105, under 8 wins -125

Tennessee – Josh Heupel surprised me in his first season as the Volunteers head coach in 2021, guiding them to a 7-5 regular season record. I personally did not see Hendon Hooker coming, but that probably has more to do with how inept playing for Virginia Tech makes any
offensive player look, regardless of talent (which is another reason why I think Tayvion Robinson is going to put up big numbers at Kentucky this season). Cedric Tillman is back for another season, after being one of college football’s breakout stars a year ago. Don’t sleep on Bru McCoy either, who recently became eligible to suit up for the Vol’s this season after transferring over from USC – he’s more than capable of filling the shoes vacated by Velus Jones Jr in this offense. Winning 8 games with this schedule might be tough, and at -170 I’m not touching it with a ten foot pole, so sprinkling a little money on the under seems like the smartest play, but I’m also not willing to bet against Hendoon Hooker with another year of experience leading this offense under his belt.

2022 National Championship Winner +12000
2022 SEC Championship game Winner +5500
2022 SEC East Division Winner – +1100
Regular Season Wins over 7.5 -170, under 7.5 wins +145

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