Can you believe it has been two years since a SEC team has earned a National Championship? Has it tarnished their reputation for power-house college football programs? You jest kind sir!
The SEC West is loaded. The SEC East has plenty to prove. It’s just like a Seinfeld rerun. Familiar and fun to watch. There are a colossal eight SEC teams in ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 – five from the West and three from the East.
Is there a team that can top the favorite Crimson Tide for the SEC title?
2015 Odds to Win the SEC Championship
Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to an incredible 84-11 SU record and three national championships in his seven seasons at the school. If Saban can find a trio of suitable replacements for Amari Cooper and both of last season’s starting safeties, I see no reason why Alabama won’t contend in 2015.
SEC's toughest path to the playoff: Alabama Crimson Tide http://t.co/ZvyOIqCTi4
— ESPN SEC (@ESPN_SEC) August 25, 2015
Auburn gave up 26.7 points per game in 2014 (63rd) but hired former Florida head coach Will Muschamp as their new defensive coordinator. Unfortunately, Auburn returns only five starters on offense.
Georgia will be breaking in a new quarterback to replace departed former starter Hutson Mason, but the Bulldogs have one of the best running backs in the country in SEC freshman of the Year, Nick Chubb. The speedy sophomore finished his freshman season with an impressive 1,547 rushing yards to finish second in the SEC despite starting just eight games.
Ole Miss had the nation’s best defense a year ago as they held their opponents to just 16.0 points per game. Too bad they won’t have former starting quarterback Bo Wallace to lead them in 2015.
The Vols went 7-6 SU and ATS in head coach Butch Jones’ first season, but they’ve got a superstar running back in sophomore Jalen Hurd that they plan on leaning on this coming season.
Quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris struggled mightily to play competent football last season and if they do so again in 2015, the Tigers (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS) won’t go very far this coming season, although they do have an athletically-gifted running back in Leonard Fournette.
The Arkansas Razorbacks went 7-6 SU and an impressive 10-3 ATS for head coach Bret Bielema and I expect them to improve on that mark this coming season under blossoming quarterback Brandon Allen. Arkansas finished 10th in the nation in points allowed (19.2).
If quarterback Maty Mauk can play better than he did in completing just 48.9 percent of his passes against SEC foes last season, Mizzou could reach the 10-win plateau in 2015.
Mississippi State +1500
The Bulldogs (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) have just seven returning starters on both sides of the ball, but one of them is gifted starting quarterback Dak Prescott (27 TD passes, 11 interceptions).
Texas A&M +1500
Head coach Kevin Sumlin hired former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis to shore up a porous Aggies (8-5 SU, 5-8 ATS) defense that gave up tons of points in 2014.
South Carolina +2500
South Carolina (7-6 SU, 5-8 ATS) returns seven starters on offense and eight on defense, but the biggest question for the Gamecocks is who will take over as the team’s new starting quarterback in 2015. Sophomore signal-caller Connor Mitch will battle it out against Perry Orth and Michael Scarnecchia, not to mention incoming freshman Lorenzo Nunez.
The Gators (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) never won more than two straight games this past season and heads into 2015 looking to rebound under former Colorado State leader Jim McElwain.
Rounding out the odds to win the SEC Championship in 2015 are the Kentucky Wildcats (+7500) and Vanderbilt Commodores (+10000).
Kentucky went 5-7 SU and 7-5 ATS last season while Vanderbilt went 3-9 SU and 6-6 ATS in head coach Derek Mason’s first season at the helm. Kentucky returns 14 total starters on both sides of the ball while Vandy will bring back a whopping 17 starters from last season’s squad.