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Alabama Still The Favorite In The Loaded SEC

Posted by on 8/6/2015 11:02:37 PM

The Alabama Crimson Tide might not have reached their goal to win a national championship last season but they did make the inaugural college football playoff out of the absolutely loaded SEC and that is an accomplishment in itself. The Crimson Tide have posted a 26-3 record over their last 29 games against SEC teams and have won three of the last six SEC championships so it’s no surprise that as the top-ranked team in the conference and one of the top teams in the country according to the preseason polls Alabama is once again the favorite to win its conference. However, with the SEC West absolutely loaded Nick Saban’s team has a rough road ahead with a number of teams that could potentially take them down over the next couple of months. Here is a look at the SEC listed in order according to each team’s odds to win the conference championship this season.

Alabama +250

The Tide’s incredible consistency over the past seven years under Saban is a big reason Alabama is the SEC favorite but they have plenty of holes to fill after last year’s playoff loss to Ohio State and they will be tested early and often in the SEC West. Alabama needs to establish a starting quarterback with Jake Coker the early favorite but they also have a number of other holes including at wide receiver and in the defensive secondary where they were exploited by the Buckeyes last season. Saban has stockpiled plenty of top talent and the defensive front-seven remains loaded so if the Tide can get some decent quarterback play on the offensive side of the football they should live up to their reputation as the preseason favorites to win the SEC this season.

Auburn +350

Gus Malzahn’s team took a step back in 2014 after winning the SEC and challenging for a national title the year before but they are poised to bounce back this season thanks in big part to a loaded offense. Jeremy Johnson has shown flashes of brilliance over the past couple of seasons and has the potential to be special while running backs Roc Thomas and Jovon Robinson both have the potential to play a major role in the offense. Auburn is poised to challenge for an SEC title this season but whether or not they reach that goal could come down to new coordinator Will Muschamp’s ability to fix a defense that gave up far too many big plays and wasn’t nearly good enough overall last season.

Georgia +550

Georgia is considered the favorite to challenge for an SEC title out of the East division and playing in the easier grouping could help their overall chances in the conference with a potentially easier road to the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs will lean heavily on running back Nick Chubb and a defense that should be one of the SEC’s best but the key to their success could be new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and whether or not he can make something out of the passing game with sophomore Brice Ramsey and junior Faton Bauta both in the mix for the starting job.

Ole Miss +800

Back to the SEC West where Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss team has improved its win total in each of the last three seasons and this year’s team has the potential to challenge for double-digit wins. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche leads a tough defense that led the nation in points per game allowed last season and if the offense can rise to the occasion then the Rebels could be a force. Chad Kelly is the favorite to land the starting quarterback job after he was the No. 1 junior college passer a year ago and he will have every opportunity to succeed behind an offensive line that returns all five starters and with a potential top-10 NFL Draft pick at receiver in Laquon Treadwill.

LSU +900

LSU’s offense ranked 13th in SEC scoring last season and the defense has question marks with a new coordinator in Kevin Steele so it’s a little surprising to see the Tigers this high on the list according to the betting odds to win the SEC. Running back Leonard Fournette is a star but LSU needs a starting quarterback to emerge from what appears to be a mediocre group while Steele has the benefit of a potentially elite secondary to hinge his defense on.

Arkansas +1200

The Razorbacks were one of the hottest teams in the SEC at the end of last season and if quarterback Brandon Allen could take another step forward they could be a sleeper pick in the loaded SEC West. An absolutely stacked offensive line and a defense that ranked 10th in the country in yards per game allowed last season should help but the Razorbacks ascent in the SEC will ultimately come down to Allen’s progress and their ability to win conference games on the road.

SEC Champion: Alabama +250

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