Analyzing SEC Teams’ Chances to Topple Alabama
Dec 7, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates with wife Kelly Orgeron after a victory against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2019 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama is one of the most successful football schools of the BCS era, rivaled by only Clemson. Both have two national championships in the past six years, though Alabama’s success in the postseason has extended to their conference as well.
For example, the Crimson Tide have won six conference championships and been either champions or co-champions of the SEC West nine times since the hiring of coach Nick Saban in 2007.
However, the SEC is widely regarded as the best conference in college football, and many of its teams are eager to take down the Tide. To see which teams are closest to accomplishing this, factors such as their current roster, coaching staff, and future recruiting classes were analyzed.
So, which teams have the best shot?
(Last year: 15-0, 8-0 SEC West)
LSU had one of the most dominant seasons in college football history last year. Not only did the Tigers beat Alabama, but they also beat every other team on their schedule en route to an undefeated season and a national championship win over Clemson. However, LSU now has to prove that their dream season wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
Fortunately, the team has a few things going for them this year. Head coach Ed Orgeron has proven himself to be more than capable for the job, and he’s earned the respect of his players. LSU still has a strong roster despite losing some players to graduation and the draft, and they also a strong recruiting footprint. The Tigers currently have the fourth-ranked recruiting class for 2020 and the ninth-ranked class for 2021. While there is no guarantee that LSU will defeat Alabama, they’ve done it before and there’s a chance they’ll do it again.
(Last year: 12-2, 7-1 SEC East)
Three years ago, Georgia was one overtime possession away from beating Alabama and winning its first national championship since 1980. Though Alabama eventually prevailed in overtime, Georgia never went away. They won the SEC East in 2018 and 2019, and they’re the favorites to win it this year as well.
Barring an early-season upset, Georgia should get into the playoffs with an SEC Championship win over Alabama, which would put them two wins away from a national championship. Georgia was able to secure the highest-ranked recruiting class in 2020, and they should continue to bring in elite recruiting classes if they can beat Alabama.
(Last year: 11-2, 6-2 in SEC East)
Florida has enjoyed a recent resurgence under head coach Dan Mullen, who is going into his third year with the team. However, Georgia still stands between Florida and the SEC championship.
Florida came close to toppling the Bulldogs in 2019, though they eventually lost 24-17. Even if the Gators beat Georgia, they’ll still have to work hard to make up the wide talent gap between them and Alabama.
Mullen’s team has continued to become more of a powerhouse over the past few years. Florida also has the ninth-ranked recruiting class going into 2020, as well as the eighth-ranked class for 2021. Those numbers should only go up if the Gators can prove themselves to be a title contender with a victory over Georgia. While Florida has a long way to go before challenging Alabama, there is a path to SEC stardom for them.