Game of the Week Preview: The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry

The History

This is one of my favorite rivalries in all of sports. From memories like The Miracle at Jordan-Hare, to the countless meetings that eventually decided an SEC champion, no matter what the circumstances, this game is important and both teams seem to bring a little more to the table in this game each year.

Offense

Bo Nix vs Kentucky

Both teams are led by star studded, but young and generally unproven quarterbacks. Bo Nix is playing in his second Auburn-Georgia game. Last year, he was 30/50, for 245 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had 13 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown with one lost fumble. J.T. Daniels on the other hand, was just cleared to play at Georgia and has yet to play an SEC game. He was highly touted out of high school, committing to play at USC, but it did not work out and now he goes into his first game as a Georgia Bulldog. Expect to see a lot of power running, and a lot of talented play makers at wide receiver. The connection to look for will be Bo Nix to his best wide receiver Seth Williams. This duo linked up for two touchdowns last week against Kentucky. The offenses will score points, but the question is which defense will get the stops.

Defense

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When you think defense you think of the SEC, and when you think of SEC defenses, you have to mention Auburn and Georgia – two of the top five defenses in the SEC last year, and they’re looking to do it again. Typically, Auburn’s defensive line is the focal point of their defense, and this year is no different. They are young, but Big Kat Bryant is the veteran stud in the lineup this year. Also, they return a lot in the back seven, including all three starting linebackers from a year ago. Georgia also has a strong defensive unit at all positions. The star is Richard Lecounte, their safety, who racked up a pair of interceptions in Georgia’s season opener.. Both defenses are going to make a lot of stops, and I think whoever forces the most turnovers wins this game.

The Keys To Victory

I believe the quarterback play will decide the outcome of the game. Bo Nix vs J.T Daniels. I have Nix winning this matchup due to his experience and his dual-threat skillset, so I am going with Auburn winning 27-17, but I think it will feel even closer throughout the game.

Game Of The Week Preview: #23 Kentucky @ #8 Auburn

Although College Gameday may be headed to the FSU-Miami rivalry clash, the true game of the week lies a little northwest, at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where the #8 Auburn Tigers will play host to the #23 Kentucky Wildcats. This game is truly an intriguing battle, as both teams enter with a lot of unknowns. For Kentucky, they’ll be seeing the first of quarterback Terry Wilson since he suffered a season-ending injury in Kentucky’s second game last season. Will he spark a Kentucky offense that has been mediocre at best over much of the past decade? For Auburn, they lost stud defensive tackle Derrick Brown to the draft, but they return a lot of talent, and they’ll be anxious to see if Bo Nix’s promising true freshman campaign translates into a strong sophomore season.

History of the Matchup

Auburn has absolutely dominated this series, leading Kentucky 26-6 all-time, with a tie mixed in. The two teams haven’t played since 2015, when the Tigers took down Kentucky 30-27 in Lexington. Auburn has won 17 of the past 18 clashes with the Wildcats, going back to 1967. Traditionally, if Auburn gets any kind of offense, they have little issue with Kentucky – they are 21-0 all-time when they score more than 14 points against the Wildcats. As for Kentucky, they’ve only scored 20+ points seven times against Auburn, eclipsing the 30-point mark just once.

Auburn Offense vs. Kentucky Defense

As mentioned above, when Auburn finds a way to score points against Kentucky, they are traditionally very successful. They’ll be facing a difficult defense that finished 14th in the nation at 19.3 points allowed per game. Bo Nix is clearly the X-Factor here for Auburn, as his dual-threat abilities will be called upon to handle Kentucky’s elite pass defense. Auburn was 5-0 when Nix completed 65% of his passes, so efficiency will be the key against this stiff defense. If I’m Kentucky, my early focus is on stopping the Auburn ground game – forcing Nix to become one-dimensional will be key if Kentucky is to have a shot in this one. The Tigers have bruising freshman running back in Cartavious Bigsby, and if he can be effective running between the tackles, Nix can generate a passing attack off of play-action.

For Kentucky, they return seven of their top nine tacklers from 2019, a year in which they topped the SEC in passing defense. Their secondary core of Brandin Echols and Cedrick Dort, along with safety and leading tackler Yusef Corker, gives the safety position some star-level talent. The X-factor for Kentucky, as mentioned above, will be stopping the run. If they do that early, they’re daring Nix to beat them where they’re best, which is all you can ask for as a road underdog. The pass rush figures to be strong, but if Kentucky can get their big bruisers- 367-pound Quinton Bohanna being the anchor at nose tackle – into the backfield, then Auburn’s going to be facing an uphill battle to reach the end zone.

Kentucky Offense vs. Auburn Defense

This one may very well come down to Terry Wilson, who might have benefited the most from the delayed start to the season, as he was able to ramp himself up to full speed. If he comes back at 100%, he will give Kentucky a tough weapon on offense. However, the argument can be made that Wilson is far too inconsistent to be relied upon. In his full season as the starter in 2018, Wilson went through a five-game stretch where Kentucky couldn’t score more than 17 points, and overall, Wilson threw 11 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. Wilson not only needs to be back at 100%, he needs to play at prime Terry Wilson level from the get-go, without suffering from those bouts of inconsistency.

Beyond Wilson, Kentucky has a pretty solid ground game, led by Asmir Rose, who ran for 826 yards last season. Kavosiey Smoke and Christian Rodriguez will complement Rose after combining for 12 touchdowns last season, giving Kentucky a set of viable weapons in the running game. However, Kentucky is full of question marks in their receiving corps, where their top returning pass-catcher racked up just 233 yards last season. That, combined with Wilson’s shaky resume as a passer, does not offer a lot of hope for Kentucky’s air game. As a road underdog, the likelihood that Kentucky can win this with just their backfield is unlikely, so the Wildcats will need to find a way to get things going aerially.

Defensively for Auburn, they’ll lean on linebacker K.J. Britt to lead the charge against Kentucky. Britt forced two fumbles last year and recorded ten tackles for loss. He can be a quarterback spy of sorts for the Tigers, stopping any kind of short passing game or extended quarterback scrambles, if he plays effectively. Kentucky loves their smoke-and-mirror type of offense, and if Britt can be an intelligent leader for the Auburn defense, they’ll force Kentucky to get their passing game going, which is not Kentucky’s strength. In the secondary, Roger McCreary will be one of the major factors for Auburn, as he likely steps into a starting role after nine pass-breakups and an interception as a reserve last season.

Prediction

Auburn is 21-0 when scoring more than 14 points against Kentucky. That’s absolutely absurd to me, and I think it’s a mark that the Tigers exceed on Saturday. I’m not confident that this Kentucky offense is versatile enough to put up more than that against Auburn, even if their defense can limit Bo Nix and Co. Auburn has won three straight season openers, the last two against ranked opponents, and I’m putting my trust in the Tigers in what should be a defensive battle.

Auburn 24 Kentucky 13

Thomas And Lapoint Preview The SEC: Top Defenses, DPOY Picks

To finish up our SEC season preview, lead writer Aidan Thomas and SEC analyst Nathaniel Lapoint take a look at the defensive side of the ball. Which teams will bring the most fearsome defenses into 2020, and which players will spend all season terrorizing opposing offenses? Let’s take a look at the picks. Also check out the top offenses as well as the power rankings and predictions portion of our SEC preview. 

Top Defenses

Aidan Thomas

  1. Georgia
  2. LSU
  3. Alabama

Nathaniel Lapoint

  1. Georgia
  2. Auburn
  3. Kentucky

There’s a fair amount of disagreement in our rankings of the top defenses. We both have Georgia atop the rankings, but beyond that, there are no similarities. I’m riding Derek Stingley’s talent as a major factor in this decision, taking LSU as the second best defense in the conference, as Georgia’s always-strong defense is a clear choice for #1. Alabama is a bit of a riskier pick, having lost a majority of their game-changing talent, with three of their four players who recorded multiple interceptions in 2020 off to the NFL, as well as their top two leaders in sacks. However, the Tide always have a strong line and seemingly just reload defensively every season, so I put Alabama third. 

In Lapoint’s list, he goes with Georgia at #1, which is certainly a safe pick given their history, returning production, and star power in Richard LeCounte, Monty Rice, and others. After that, he goes with a bit of a darkhorse in the Auburn defense. Many consider Auburn a top-5 unit, although I’m not even that high on the Tigers, but Lapoint is elevating Gus Malzahn’s unit to the second slot of his rankings, after Auburn made defensive coordinator Kevin Steele the highest paid assistant coach with 2.5 million dollars per year. And, sliding in third, Lapoint goes with his trusty Wildcats. He’s remained high on Kentucky throughout the preview process, and he doesn’t waver in going with a Kentucky defense that has been projected anywhere from a top-three unit in the SEC to not even a top-5 defense. Kentucky is really a complete unknown this year, but Lapoint goes with the SEC East squad as his third-best defense in the conference. 

Top Defensive Players

Defensive Player Of The Year

Thomas: Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

Lapoint: Dylan Moss, LB, Alabama 

Aidan ThomasNathaniel Lapoint
Derek Stingley, CB, LSUDylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Richard LeCounte, S, GeorgiaDerek Stingley, CB, LSU
Shane Lee, LB, AlabamaRichard LeCounte, S, Georgia
Israel Mukuamu, CB, South CarolinaNick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Dylan Moses, LB, AlabamaMonty Rice, LB, Georgia

The top three players in our defensive rankings are almost the exact same – with both of us being high on LSU cornerback Derek Stingley and Georgia safety Richard LeCounte. We also each rank an Alabama linebacker in our top three – I went with rising sophomore Shane Lee while Lapoint opted for Dylan Moses, who missed his junior season due to injury. Moses was Lapoint’s pick for SEC defensive Player of the Year, whereas Stingley topped my rankings. If Moses returns to his pre-injury form, then he does become an instant contender for the DPOY award, as he recorded 86 tackles – 10 for loss – and 3.5 sacks two years ago.

After those top three, I opted for more secondary talent, going with Israel Mukuamu from South Carolina before rounding my list out with Moses. I neglected to add a popular pick in Nick Bolton of Missouri, who notched 107 tackles and broke up 8 passes while serving as the rock of a quietly impressive Missouri defense. Lapoint slots Bolton fourth, and polishes off his rankings with Monty Rice, the Georgia linebacker who recorded 89 tackles and 14 QB pressures in 2019.

SEC Previews: Auburn Tigers

Year in and year out, the Auburn Tigers are one of the hardest teams to figure out. They always seem capable of springing big upsets, but they never enter those big games as favorites. They’ve got the dynamic Bo Nix returning under center, but questions elsewhere. What does #WarEagle have to bring to the table under Gus Malzahn in 2020? 

Top Returners: Bo Nix, KJ Britt

Nix is the obvious selection on the offensive side of the ball after a promising true freshman campaign in which he threw for 2542 yards, and 16 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. He added in 313 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. WIll it be a sophomore slump or a dominant second year for Nix? 

Meanwhile, Britt is a top returning linebacker for the Tigers, as he notched 68 tackles – ten for a loss of yardage. He recorded 3.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. With 7th overall pick Derrick Brown off to the Carolina Panthers, Britt will be the source of disruption on the defensive line for Auburn, and his success in doing just that will be critical to their success. 

Biggest Concerns: The secondary

Auburn lost Jeremiah Dinson and Javaris Davis, two of their top defensive backs in 2020, leaving them with problems in the secondary. Christian Tutt returns but was somewhat inconsistent and needs to step up to keep the Tigers afloat on the defensive side of the ball. 

X-Factors: Roger McCreary

McCreary played out of a reserve role in 2019, but he put up some impressive numbers, racking up 36 tackles, an interception, and 9 passes defended, and 1 fumble recovery. Can he improve these numbers in an expanded role in 2020? Auburn is at their best when their defense is the heart and soul of their team, and if McCreary steps up this coming season, he could lead Auburn in that direction. 

SEC Record Prediction: 3-5

September 19 will pretty much make or break a huge moment in my overall SEC predictions. Auburn plays at Ole Miss, a team that I’m very high on. This record prediction for Auburn hinges on the fact that Auburn and Bo Nix is not as good as many expect them to be, and the Ole Miss Rebels are trending upwards. I have Auburn losing a few close ones and ending on a skid to LSU and Alabama. With LSU the defending champs, and Alabama chomping at the bit to regain their conference supremacy, plus Texas A&M and Ole Miss on the rise, I don’t like this uphill climb for the Tigers in 2020.  

Beating Vegas: Best SEC Bets After Latest Odds Released

The Las Vegas SuperBook released their latest SEC championship odds for, and whether you’re laying down 50 cents or a few thousand dollars, wanna be betters and sports fans should keep an eye on the odds given. Vegas is far from flawless (need we remind you of Joe Burrow’s 200:1 Heisman odds), so what are the best – and worst – ways to take advantage of these most recent odds.

Best Bets

Florida – 4:1

Alabama, Florida and Georgia were the only teams given odds of better than 10:1 to win the conference, and I love the Gators 4:1 odds here. Alabama is listed at 5:4 which, given the cutthroat nature of the SEC is not nearly good enough to lay a preseason bet on, and I’m very high on the Gators dethroning Georgia in the East. In my top 10 quarterback rankings, I had Kyle Trask as the top ranked signal-caller in the conference at #10, and I’d take Dan Mullen as a top-3 SEC coach, so if I’m betting on one of the favorites, I’m going with the guys out of Gainesville.

Auburn – 12:1

My favorite SEC West odds by far. As aforementioned, Alabama’s odds are too stingy to attract any kind of bet from me, and the second-best odds were stunningly given to the Texas A&M Aggies, which I’ll delve into more later. Auburn comes in at 12:1, with a rapidly improving ground game, perennially stiff defense, and a dynamic quarterback in Bo Nix that gives them more stability under center than many of their top competitors in the SEC West. Nothing against Myles Brennan and Mac Jones, but we haven’t seen the LSU QB in meaningful game action to this point, and Mac Jones just doesn’t excite me. Alabama and LSU are also ranked among the top-10 toughest schedules, so that seems to open a door for the Tigers. My biggest worry in potentially laying a bet on the Tigers is realizing that it will likely require a road victory in the Iron Bowl, so that may be a tough call.

Tennessee – 40:1

If I’m looking for a long-shot bet, I love this 40:1 payoff on the Volunteers, who ended 2019 on a six game winning streak, featuring an impressive road victory over Kentucky and gritty bowl game comeback against Indiana. After starting the year with discouraging losses against Georgia State and BYU, the Vols finished 8-3 in their final eleven games, with their only defeats coming in top-10 contests, two of which came on the road. Tennessee has a pretty talented roster and compete in the far more watered down SEC East. They have Alabama, Florida, and Georgia on the schedule, but two of those games are at home, and their other road conference games come versus Arkansas, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, so Tennessee is an upset or two away from breaking into the SEC championship. Not too bad for a team that finished last season red-hot and features 40:1 odds.

Worst Bets

Texas A&M – 10:1

Far and away my least favorite odds given by Vegas – the Aggies slot in with the fourth-best odds in the conference, beating out defending national champions LSU and perennial SEC West contender Auburn. Head coach Jimbo Fisher and consistently overrated Kellen Mond lead Texas A&M into battle, and there is nothing that appeals to me less ( in the world of spending money) than placing a bet on the Aggies. They have exceeded 9 wins just once since 1998, which was also the last time they finished first in their conference, back in their Big 12 days. In their 8 SEC seasons, Texas A&M has finished between 6th and 9th in the conference six times, never appearing in the SEC Championship. And they’re suddenly supposed to challenge Alabama and beat Auburn and LSU. I could maybe see Mond and Co. squeaking out one of those wins, but between road games against the Tide and Auburn, and that rivalry weekend clash with LSU, I would like to bet a lot of money that I don’t have on A&M not finishing top-2 in the West.

Mississippi State – 80:1

I’m getting picky, because I really don’t have issues with the Alabama and Georgia odds near the top, as they’re both powerhouses with solid chances at advancing. 12:1 seems about right for LSU – the defending national champions with some uncertainty at quarterback and on defense. So that brings me to the Bulldogs, who aren’t likely to crack the top 4 in the West. Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Mississippi State are the four teams with 80-1 odds, and I’m not super high on any of those, although Kentucky may tempt be with Terry Wilson coming back from injury under center. The Bulldogs are the only team in the West on that list, and it’s quite the daunting task to emerge from that division with zero or one blemishes. With no SEC championships this decade and a wall of powerhouses to mow down in order to reach the title game, placing any kind of bet on Mississippi State seems no more useful than tossing a coin in a fountain and making a wish. Fun, maybe, but you’re not getting that coin back.

Vanderbilt – 2000:1

A wise man named Kevin Malone once said, “If anyone ever gives you 10,000 to 1 odds on anything, you take that bet”. Far be it from me to critique the wisdom of the Office and their infinite sports betting knowledge of Kevin Malone, but don’t place a bet on the Commodores for the sake of the long odds. Many people like to do that – drop a few bucks here and there on the teams with the worst odds for their shot at a ridiculous payday. Don’t do that with Vanderbilt and I’ll give you two numbers to tell you why – 1935 and 2012. Those were the only two years in Vandy’s 88-year history in the SEC that the Commodores have exceeded four wins in conference play. Since moving to an 8-game conference slate in 1992, the perennial jokers of the SEC have posted zero or one conference win a stunning 14 seasons. Just do everyone a favor and save your longshot bet for another conference. It isn’t happening in Nashville.

Daily Headlines: College Coaching Legend Eddie Sutton Passes Away

Legendary NCAA Basketball coach Eddie Sutton passed away on Saturday at the age of 84 – he leaves a legacy as one one of the greatest ever to coach at the collegiate level. He coached for 16 seasons with Oklahoma State, eleven with Arkansas, four with Kentucky, five with Creighton, and a final part of a season with San Francisco. In those 16 seasons with the Cowboys, Sutton never suffered a losing season. He reached three Final Fours – one with Arkansas and two with Oklahoma State – and racked up 806 wins, good for ninth all-time.

Texas Tech loses key player to overseas

Texas Tech lost a key contributor from their 2019 national runners-up team, as Davide Moretti opted to leave the Red Raiders in favor of Olimpia Milano in his native Italy. Moretti started 68 games in the previous two seasons, averaging over 11 points per games in both campaigns. He’s nearly a 90% free throw shooter, and 42% from beyond the arc. Head coach Chris Beard and the Texas Tech staff will be looking for immediate replacements for blow to their starting lineup. They are considered players for former Georgetown star Mac McClung on the transfer market, as well as Jonathan Kuminga, the top 2021 recruit who is considering reclassifying to enter the NCAA next season.

Big 12 cleared to return June 15

On Friday, the SEC announced they would allow teams to report to their athletic facilities on June 8, while the Big 10 said they would leave it up to the schools. Saturday, the Big 12 handed down their decision, clearing their football players to return on June 15. Although a week later, this keeps college football on pace for a on-time start. We can only hope.

Caylin Newton heads to Auburn

In a somewhat surprising decision, Cam Newton’s younger brother, Caylin, has elected to transfer to Auburn, where Cam won a national championship, to complete his collegiate career. He’s been one of the best players in the MEAC, with Howard, but he chooses Auburn as his grad transfer destination, despite sophomore Bo Nix have a firm grip on the starting job. It’ll be curious if head coach Gus Malzahn attempts to utilize him in other ways than a traditional back-up quarterback.

Ole Miss snags Mississippi State transfer

A former ESPN 300 recruit, Mississippi State’s Jarrian Jones announced on Saturday he would be leaving the Bulldogs and flipping sides in the Egg Bowl rivalry, as he will don the red and navy blue uniforms of the Ole Miss Rebels in 2020. The defensive back was all over the board during his recruitment, committing and de-committing from two teams before deciding on Mississippi State. He lasted one season with the Bulldogs, recording twelve tackles and two pass-breakups as a true freshman. He’ll have three seasons of eligibility left with the Rebels

Daily Headlines: Texas Governor believes CFB season will start on time

As much as everyone wants sports to resume, announcements from sports-related authorities must be taken with a grain of salt, as the return of college football and other fall sports will likely hinge on a series of political decisions. And so, the world of sports received another encouraging announcement from a very important figure in Texas governor Greg Abbot, who says he believes college football will start on time in this fall. ,

SEC says June 8, Big 10 to let schools decide
While the NCAA authorized athletes to return to campuses beginning June 1, decisions are beginning to come down from the major conferences. The SEC voted to allow students to return for voluntary workouts and team activities June 8, while the Big 10 announced they intend to let individual schools decide what is best for them. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is intending on a June 8 start date as well. 

Alabama and Auburn crack 2021 recruiting Top 25

It has been a bit of a slog on the recruiting trails for the Crimson Tide, but they are starting to bring it around, as their 2021 class found its way into its normal home inside the Top 25 rankings in the latest release, slotting in at 23rd. Their Iron Bowl rivals Auburn sit four spots above the Tide at #19. Alabama currently only has five commits in the class, the fewest of any top-25 recruiting class so far.
The top five stayed relatively the same, as Ohio State and Tennessee remain 1-2, while Clemson leapfrogged UNC to claim the third spot, and Florida trails the Tar Heels at #5. USC (6) and LSU(7) both climbed to the brink of the top 5, and Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Texas round out the top ten. The full top 25 is here.

FOUR REASONS WHY BO NIX’S NUMBERS WILL REGRESS IN 2020

Bo Nix had a pretty impressive season at Auburn after winning the starting job in his true freshman season. The QB completed 57.6% of his passed for 2542 yards and 16 touchdowns, helping the Tigers to a 9-4 season. With a full year under his belt, Nix looks to improve off of his freshman season in his sophomore campaign. But that is easier said than done. Here are the four reasons I believe Bo Nix’s numbers will regress in 2020. 

4. He has been seen

Coming in as a true freshman, there was not much known about Nix’s style of play. Sure, you can look at high school scouting reports and game film, but you have to take that with a grain of salt – to compare Alabama high school football to the SEC West is to compare apples to oranges. So to prepare for Nix under center was difficult, especially at the beginning of the season. But now Nix has a full season of play that can be watched on film. 13 full games with 8 of them in SEC play. Teams can now see what worked against Nix and what didn’t which will hurt his numbers in 2020. 

3. The Schedule

In 2019 Nix and the Tigers really struggled away from Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn was just 2-2 on the road with those wins against Texas A&M, a game where Nix threw for just 100 yards,  and a very bad Arkansas team. They did beat #11 Oregon at a neutral site, but that was in the season opener, and Nix threw for just 177 yards and 2 interceptions. On the road, the Tigers lost to Florida, LSU, and Minnesota in the Outback Bowl at a neutral site, all games where Nix threw for less than 200 yards. In 2020 Auburn schedule flips and now War Eagle has to play Georgia, Alabama, and an interesting Mississippi State squad on the road, as well as an up and coming North Carolina team at a neutral site. Given Nix’s road struggles in 2019, he’s facing an uphill battle in 2020.  

2. The Offensive Line 

In 2019, Nix was one of the most protected quarterbacks in all of college football. The Auburn O-line only allowed 18 sacks in their 13 games, which was tied for 18th best in the FBS. The only problem: four out of their five starters in the trenches were seniors. Starting center Nick Brahmas is the only returner from last year’s unit, and he only won the job in week 10. Now with four first-year starters blocking for him, Nix will likely have to worry more about escaping pressure than finding receivers downfield. An inexperienced offensive line is certainly a problem for any young quarterback, but especially in the SEC West where defense reigns supreme.

1: Auburn is a run-first offense 

It is really no secret that Gus Malzahn wants to run the football. Since Malzahn took over the program in 2013, the Tigers have rushed for over 3000 yards in 4 out of 7 seasons. Their worst rushing season under Malazahn was in 2018, when the Tigers rushed for just 2177 yards, which was 10th in the conference. Last season, Auburn improved that number, rushing for 2588 yards, good enough for 4th in the SEC. In 2020, with an improving back in JaTarvious Whitlow, who had an excellent sophomore campaign, rushing for 798 yards in 11 games, the Tigers figure to keep the ball on the ground more frequently, giving Nix fewer chances to shine with his arm.

SEC West QB Rankings

They may have lost two quarterbacks in the top five picks of the draft, but the SEC West will be the nation’s best passing conference this upcoming season. Due to Tua Taugovailoa’s injury, six of seven teams have their starting QB making a return to the field – only LSU Myles Brennan has yet to take a snap under center as a teams starting QB. Mac Jones should thrive in the Alabama system, and Bo Nix showcased his potential last year. Is this finally Kellen Mond’s breakout season, and who does LSU really have in Brennan as their signal-caller? Unlike years past, there may not be a clear star to watch, and this will be the year of the entire SEC West.
 

  1. Bo Nix- Auburn 

The best QB Auburn has seen since Cam Newton has the Tigers excited for this upcoming season. Bo Nix had a promising freshman year leading Auburn to a 9-4 record with an Outback Bowl loss to Minnesota. Although Nix didn’t blow up the stat sheet he proved he can show up in big games, like the Iron Bowl against Alabama, and do whatever it takes to win. Bo Nix reminds me a lot of Justin Herbert – his numbers may not dazzle, but with he’s a physical prototype at quarterback, and he’s a winner. Look for Nix to lead the Tigers to Atlanta next December.

  1. Mac Jones- Alabama 

Mac Jones had it rough in Tuscaloosa last season, as he was pretty much the ‘guy that wasn’t Tua’. Alabama fans now cannot complain about Mac Jones since their savior has up and gone to the NFL, and they will come to realize that it is a good thing. A perfectly run Nick Saban offense has defenses preparing for the ground game and still runs it down everyone’s throat. With Tua under center, the Tide got away from their ground and pound style on offense and they paid the price for it, missing the Playoff for the first time in program history last season. Putting Jones under center allows the Tide to return to their gritty style of offense and return to glory.

  1. Kellan Mond- Texas A&M 

How is Kellan Mond still in college and at what point do we all stop expecting him to be great? Kellan Mond is a good QB. He isn’t great and will never bring A&M to the playoff, but you can consistently count on A&M ending the season 9-4 ,winning every game they are favored in and losing every game they are an underdog in. Kellan Mond will have a good season and the Aggies should sit top 4 in the West and ranked in the Top 25 when the season is over.

  1. KJ Costello- Mississippi 

The Pac12 is coming to the SEC… kind of. This past offseason was big for Mississippi State, bringing in Head Coach Mike Leach from Washinton State and poaching Stanford’s starting quarterback in KJ Costello. Although Costello struggled his junior year, he threw for over 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns his sophomore year. I expect big things from Costello in Mike Leache’s air raid offense so look for another 3,000-yard season, around 35 passing TD, and a 7-5 record this upcoming season in Starkville. 

  1. John Rhys Plumlee- Ole Miss

Lane Kiffen is back in the SEC, and his starting QB is expected to be John Rhys Plumlee. Last season as a true freshman Plumlee split time under center with Matt Coral but made the most of his time when on the field. Plumlee threw for 900 yards and 4 TD’s while running for 1,000 yards and 12 TDs. With Plumlee being the guy this season in Oxford, I expect a 2,000 yard passing and rushing season from Plumlee, along with 30 all-purpose touchdowns. The man is athletic and one of the fastest QB’s in the SEC – I expect some offensive fireworks this season in Oxford. Expect a 6-6 season from the Rebels for Kiffen and Plumlee’s first season together.

  1. Feleipe Franks- Arkansas 

Feleipe Franks just screams .500. The quarterback is mediocre in everything he does. His career completion percentage is just around .500 his team was always slightly over with a career winning percentage of .642 which, for Florida,won’t cut it in the SEC East. Franks getting hurt may end up being the best thing to happen to Florida football since Tim Tebow. I expect Franks to go .500 at Arkansas and to struggle mightily in his new environment of the SEC West. 

  1. Myles Brennan- LSU

Myles Brennan is the one QB in the SEC who has yet to start a game. Freshman year Brennan backed up for Danny Etling, and sophomore and junior year, he backed up for the great Joe Burrow. After patiently waiting his turn Brennan is set to be the guy in Death Valley this fall with huge shoes to fill. I wouldn’t expect him to have a Joe Burrow-type season, but I expect him to be decent. People may read these rankings and believe I’m saying he sucks, but Brennan is 7th purely from the fact that he is in the best passing conference in the country, and he is the only one who hasn’t proven himself. I anticipate a solid if not spectacular 8-4 season for Brennan and the Tigers.