For a decade now, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football program has been nothing but elite, and has been known for nothing other than winning championships. In the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in particular, they’ve won a total of six championships since 2009 — that’s six titles in ten seasons. With the dominance being the way it is, the Crimson Tide come into the new year as a -165 favorite to win back-to-back SEC titles.
However, with it being the case of Alabama just winning two straight SEC titles rather than more, and four teams in the SEC having double-digit wins last season, there’s certainly a lot of value on multiple teams outside of the Tide.
According to the betting site Bovada, the Alabama Crimson Tide list as the favorite at -165 odds. Coming in second place are the Georgia Bulldogs at +280, followed by the Florida Gators in third at +1200. In the No. 4 position, we have the LSU Tigers at +1400, and afterwards, the Auburn Tigers round out the top five for us at +2500. The Kentucky Wildcats, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Texas A&M Aggies are in a three-way tie for the sixth position at +3300. For the No. 9 spot, we have another tie between South Carolina Gamecocks and Tennessee Volunteers at +6600. To take us to the end of the odds board, the Ole Miss Rebels and Vanderbilt Commodores tie for the eleventh position at +15000. At the very end, you have the Arkansas Razorbacks at +20000 to round out the SEC conference.
Since Nick Saban has arrived at the University of Alabama, the Crimson Tide have compiled an amazingly stunning 146-21 record. In the SEC, they’ve barely cracked 10 losses with an 80-13 conference tally. Throughout Saban’s entire stretch at Alabama, they’ve only finished with a losing record in the SEC just once, and that was in his very first year — the same can be said about a season with less than double-digit wins. Also under Saban, the Crimson Tide have been able to land five national championships, that’s five chips in ten years. In other words, betting on Alabama to win the Southeastern Conference is never a bad gamble.
This season, the Crimson Tide should have a pretty easy road to the SEC championship game. Instead of playing LSU at Death Valley this year, they instead are hosting the Tigers in Tuscaloosa. The only problem facing Bama in 2019 is the last game of the season where they take on Auburn on the road for the Iron Bowl. If they win that contest, they should enter the conference title game with an undefeated record — again.
Talent wise, they bring back Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and they also return their top wide receiver from last season in Jerry Jeudy. On top of that, they also bring back running back Najee Harris. As you see, the entire core from last season’s offensive potency is still there. On defense, the Crimson Tide would suffer from lost talent, but that’s something that Alabama has grown accustomed to over the years. They bring back returns in the secondary and linebacker positions, however, in the form of Dylan Moses and Afernee Jennings.
Kirby Smart’s start at the University of Georgia has been very similar to the beginning of Nick Saban’s helm at the University of Alabama, and Smart will try to continue that strong success in his fourth season coaching the Bulldogs. Since Smart has taken over at Georgia, the team has tallied a dominant 32-10 record overall, and in the SEC, they’ve gone an impressive 18-6. Not only that, but they’re also entering 2019 accomplishing back-to-back double-digit win seasons in 2018 and 2017. During those two campaigns, they’d also put together a 7-1 record in each one, and would also make an appearance in the SEC championship game both years.
Unlike Alabama, however, the Georgia Bulldogs have a tough road en route to a third straight SEC title game appearance. Some of the challenges that Georgia will face is their power non-conference contest against Notre Dame in Week 4. The Bulldogs will also go on to face Florida in Week 9, and in Week 11, they have a road contest against Auburn. There’s a bright spot with this bad patch of news though, and that’s the fact that UGA is returning their quarterback Jake Fromm. Not just that, but they’re also bringing back their elite running back D’Andre Swift. The rich Bulldogs will also be retaining a lot of their defensive playmakers.
With that being said, if Georgia can win the tough challenges on their path, they’ll be ready to take on Alabama in a third straight SEC championship game.
Well, to be quite honest, no. The only other team that you could defend in a debate are the Florida Gators, and that’s only if they suffer minimal injuries and their depth doesn’t collapse. The team is loaded with veteran talent on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, and they would also achieve their first 10-win season since the 2015 campaign.
The Gators would really build up momentum at the end of the year as well, especially on the offensive side of the ball. In their annual in-state rivalry game against Florida State, they would muscle 41 points against the Seminoles to close out the regular season. When they would take on Michigan in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, they would steamroll the Wolverines with another 41 points. In total, they would score 82 points in just those two games. Now the question is: Was it just one of those random offensive sparks, or is this a sign that Florida could be an offensive powerhouse in 2019?
Only time will tell with that one. With that being said, I wouldn’t rush to place a wager on UF, but it’s definitely a team of interest that you may want to consider adding to your portfolio.
Let’s go over the favorites to claim the 2019 SEC conference, and then I’ll give you my official winner prediction and my long shot to ride with for a hefty payday. You can also check out my other college football previews and predictions for the ACC and Big Ten conference, and you can look forward to future conference pieces from me and my national championship prediction.
What can I say about Alabama that hasn’t been said before? They’re an incredibly dominant football team, and that will continue into this season with no problem. The Crimson Tide would go an elite 14-1 overall in the 2018 campaign, and in the SEC conference, they would pull an undefeated 8-0 clean slate. The domination would lead them to the SEC Western Division championship, SEC championship, and that would put them into the College Football Playoff. There, the Tide would win the Orange Bowl championship (CFP Semifinal) which would enter them into the National Championship game. Unfortunately for them, they would be on the losing end of that contest in a 16-44 shellacking against the Clemson Tigers. When everything was said and done, they were placed No. 2 in both the Coaches and AP polls.
They were a powerhouse on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, placing top five in the nation in both categories. On offense, they would rank in the top three in the No. 3 position scoring a blazing 45.6 points-per-game, 4.4 points away from the 50-point threshold. When you look at the defensive end, they were placed fourth in the nation allowing just 14.8 points-per-game from the opposition. Just incredible numbers from the Crimson Tide.
Alabama would lose a load of talent to the NFL Draft. Just check out the long list: DT Quinnen Williams, OT Jonah Williams, RB Josh Jacobs, TE Irv Smith Jr., RB Damien Harris, LB Christian Miller, S Deionte Thompson, C Ross Pierschbacher, LB Mack Wilson and DT Isaiah Buggs. With that being said, this is business as usual for the Crimson Tide and nothing that they won’t be able to recover from. This is especially true when you consider Alabama brought in the No. 1 recruiting class (again) that’s loaded with talent including three five-star athletes and 23 four-stars. Alabama doesn’t rebuild, they reload.
Expect another undefeated campaign en route to another national championship appearance in another rematch against the Clemson Tigers. It’ll just be another season of dominance from the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Georgia Bulldogs would have a stellar season in 2018, putting together an overall record of 11-3 and tallying just a one-loss 7-1 record in the SEC conference. This would lead them to the top of the SEC East where they would become division champions. They would nearly claim the SEC championship over Alabama but would lose in a 28-35 thriller against the Crimson Tide. They wouldn’t clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff as a result, but would still be put into a prestigious bowl in the Sugar Bowl. There, they would lose another thriller — this being a 21-28 nailbiter against the Texas Longhorns. Their solid performance would lead them to the No. 8 ranking in the Coaches poll and they would be tied for No. 7 in the AP poll.
UGA would have solid rankings in both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, placing in the top 25 in both categories. On the offensive end, they would have an elite level of potency with the 14th best offense in the country averaging 37.9 points-per-game. Defensively, they would take the No. 16 ranking allowing just 18.5 points-per-game. Just dominant numbers from the Georgia Bulldogs.
They would take a nice hit in the form of lost talent to the NFL Draft, a total of seven players to be exact:
However, like Alabama, Georgia doesn’t rebuild. They reload. Right behind the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs would bring in the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, and it’s loaded with talent including five 5-star athletes and 15 4-stars.
Expect major things from the University of Georgia this season, as this could be the year where the Bulldogs put themselves among the Alabamas and Clemsons of the world.
Putting together a solid season in 2018, the Florida Gators would walk away with double-digit wins after compiling a 10-3 overall record. In an elite SEC, they would also manage to walk away with a winning record of 5-3. That performance would lead them to the Peach Bowl, and there it would be nothing but glory for the Gators rocking the Michigan Wolverines by a 41-15 score. When the rolling came to an end, Florida would find themselves in the No. 6 spot in the Coaches poll and would rank No. 7 in the AP poll.
Like Georgia, the Gators would deliver both a top 25 offense and defense to the table. With their offense, they would take the No. 22 ranking in the nation with a potent tally of 35.0 points-per-game against the opposition. As far as their defense is concerned, they would be one spot above their offense ranking placed in 21st — they would only allow 20.4 points-per-game from opponents.
The Florida Gators do have some lost talent to recover from, they would lose five players to the NFL including OT Jawaan Taylor, OLB Jachai Polite, S Chauncey Garner-Johnson, LB Vosean Joseph and RB Jordan Scarlett. However, they should recover well considering they are bringing in the 9th best-recruiting class in the nation.
They might not have any five-star athletes incoming, but they have a solid 17 4-star recruits to play around with. The Gators should be fine and shouldn’t take too much of a hit with their outgoing class.
Looking at Florida’s schedule, you can expect them to repeat a similar performance to last season — I’m either seeing a 9-3 or 10-2 record. They’ll be contenders for the SEC the vast majority of the season, but they won’t be a real threat to Alabama or Georgia as far as actually winning the conference. They’ll have another solid season though, and they’d also make a solid long-shot pick. However, realistically, I don’t see them winning the SEC East division at all.
LSU would be another SEC team that would put together a double-digit win season, compiling a record of 10-3 overall and they’d also tally a winning 5-3 record in the conference. This would ultimately lead them to the Fiesta Bowl, and there, they would win a 40-32 thriller against UCF to be the bowl champions. In the final Coaches poll, they were listed with the No. 7 ranking, while they were notched one above in No. 6 in the AP poll.
Their offensive ranking wouldn’t be the flashiest with them having the 38th best in the country, but the potency was certainly there in the numbers with the Tigers averaging a cool 32.4 points-per-game. On defense, they would crack the top 25 with the 22nd ranking allowing just 20.9 points-per-game from the opposition.
Here’s the scary thing about LSU going into next season: They would lose only three players to the NFL Draft, including LB Devin White, CB Greedy Williams and TE Foster Moreau. And not just that, but they’re also bringing in the No. 5 best recruiting class in the nation that includes three 5-star athletes and 11 4-stars.
You can expect a pretty big season from the LSU Tigers, but as far as taking the SEC West from Alabama, that’s not happening.
The Auburn Tigers would have a winning season in 2018, but it would be an average year by their standards marking up an overall record of 8-5. Unfortunately for the Tigers, it would also include a 3-5 losing record within the SEC conference. Their winning overall record, however, would lead them to the Music Bowl, where they would steamroll Purdue by a whopping 63-14 score to win the bowl championship.
Offensively, Auburn wasn’t the flashiest with a 48th ranking, but the Tigers were still pretty potent averaging over 30 points-per-game — they would have 30.9 total. Defensively, they were placed in the top 25 ranked No. 18 in the nation allowing just 19.6 points-per-game from their opposition. Statistically, it was a pretty solid year for the Auburn Tigers.
When the season ended, they would lose a total of six players to the NFL Draft: CB Jamel Dean, QB Jarrett Stidham, WR Darius Slayton, LB Deshaun Davis, FB Chandler Cox, and DT Dontavius Russell. That’s obviously a pretty nice-sized hit, but they would recover quite well bringing in the 11th best-recruiting class in the nation that will feature two 5-star athletes and 12 4-stars.
Personally, I’m not expecting much improvement from the Auburn Tigers, but I’m not expecting much of a decline from them either. You can expect a similar result as last year, and that’s 8-5 football.
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