Arguably the most dominant and best conference in college football today, the Southeastern Conference has only sent two teams to the College Football Playoff under the new format since 2014. Alabama and Georgia are perennial powers with bucketloads of 5-star talent on the field, and those two teams are in the driver’s seat when it comes to SEC football again this year. But this is college football, anything can happen. Here are the odds of the major SEC contenders to make the playoff this season.
Look… it’s Alabama, they have Nick Saban, they have Tua, they have the best recruits money can buy, their team oozes 5 star talent, Jerry Jeudy is one of the premier receivers in CFB, Najee Harris is one of the best backs on the college scene right now, Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith should combine with Jeudy to form one of the premier receiving groups in America, they just had one of the best recruiting classes again…
Look, Alabama needs the world to end if they are to not make the college football playoff this year. They will make it.
The bridesmaid in the SEC. Georgia is an incredible team with an explosive offense featuring the likes of Jake Fromm at quarterback Heisman favourite D’Andre Swift at running back. Zamir White, Brian Herrien, and James Cook help complete this incredible tailback group, and the rest of their offense is well rounded enough that Georgia should once again enjoy a strong year. Their defense is also littered with talent, and Georgia should definitely be considered one of the best teams in college football.
The problem is that Georgia plays in a challenging SEC East; Florida should once again approach 10 wins, as should Kentucky, while the potential is there for Missouri and Kelly Bryant to shock some people in 2019 and improve from Mizzou’s respectable 8-5 record in 2018, and don’t forget about the rising Tennessee team that should improve a lot in 2019. The SEC East is pretty good, and Georgia might lose some games they shouldn’t lose this year to these tougher foes. They are virtually a 50-50 chance to make the playoff; Kirby Smart is a good coach though, and I would take this bet.
The Gators under Dan Mullen are an improving team, one with a lot of consistency across the field, but quarterback is an area of improvement here. Van Jefferson, Trevon Grimes and Kadarious Coney are all skilled, speedy playmakers, Lamichael Perine (if he plays) leads an incredibly deep running back group and the pass rush is very good, even after losing Jachai Polite to the NFL.
The major issues are along the OL, and at quarterback. The line here is inexperienced and young, so results won’t show right away. At quarterback, Feleipe Franks is the incumbent starter, and Florida’s season depends on him. Franks is a big specimen at 6’6”, but his accuracy is inconsistent and needs work, and he needs to take the next level if Florida is to be a serious national title contender. At +350 the Gators’ odds are low, but I wouldn’t trust them. If Franks doesn’t improve, Florida will not be a serious natty contender.
LSU is a bit of a sleeper team to make the playoffs. An exciting offense, exceptional defense and a good coaching staff could make big waves across the country this year. The offense lead by standout QB Joe Burrow will be throwing to a group of stud wideouts, and a solid run game should also assist Burrow. But it is the defense that is the foundation of this team, and the key to taking the Tigers to the playoffs.
The LSU secondary is elite, often known as DBU, and this year they still have exceptional prospects. Grant Delpit is a standout safety and one of the best defensive backs in the country, a sure bet to be an All-American once again, while CB Kristian Fulton should be a first round pick in his own right. LSU is in the tough SEC West, and going up against Alabama doesn’t do their playoff hopes any favours, but they could sure surprise a few people this year.
Over the last few years ever since that Iron Bowl kick six, Auburn have been inconsistent, with up and down seasons and offensive troubles. Jarrett Stidham, for all his flaws, was still a pretty good college football quarterback, and one of Bo Nix or Joey Gatewood will have to step up to fill his void. Auburn’s college football hopes depend on their offense; offensive consistency is something they have always been searching for. The Tigers’ season will depend on how the new quarterback performs. Boobee Whitlow and Kam Martin are an incredible duo at RB, while Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz are certainly a speedy wideout duo, but it will all come down to the signal caller and how he performs in 2019.
The defense should be sturdy; defensive lineman Derrick Brown would have been a top 10 pick if he declared last year, and he should be a top 10 pick in 2020. The D-Line is super deep in general. This year is a make-or-break year for coach Gus Malzahn, who has struggled with consistency over recent years and is on the hot seat. The hype on Auburn seems around right, and they could be a solid team, but I think it will be a tough task for Auburn to make the playoff this year.