clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

30 days from South Carolina football: 2017 SEC football preview and predictions

The SEC is coming off a down year, but expectations are as high as ever in both the East and West divisions.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama
Bo Scarbrough looks to rumble his way to another National Championship appearance with the Crimson Tide
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

August is upon us and that means college football is just around the corner. After a down year for the SEC in which every team except Alabama finished with at least four losses, 2017 is a new year with many expectations. Will Alabama continue its dominance? Will teams like LSU, Florida, and Georgia finally live up to all the hype? Are any other SEC teams on the rise? Here are a few predictions for the upcoming SEC season.

Alabama stays atop the SEC

This one is obvious. It feels like Alabama is never going to be bad again. Nick Saban is perhaps the best coach in college football, and now has weapons like Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough at his disposal on offense. The crazy mix up of offensive coordinators should not have drastic effects on that side of the ball - Saban is too good of a coach to allow that. His defense continues to be one of the nation's best year in and year out thanks to players like Minkah Fitzpatrick at cornerback. Alabama is a tough, physical football team, and there’s a reason the Tide have won four national titles since 2009. Will there be another championship game appearance for Alabama to avenge last year’s sickening loss? Look for them to stay atop the SEC, even though they are tested earlier against a strong Florida State team in Atlanta on September 2.

Georgia wins the East

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Georgia
Jacob Eason looks to live up to expectations as signal caller for the Bulldogs his sophomore season
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like every year there is a ton of hype around the Georgia Bulldogs. The same is happening this year, and with good reason: former Gatorade Player of the Year Jacob Eason returns under center for the Bulldogs, while Nick Chubb returns at running back. Kirby Smart returns for his second year as Head Coach. Last year’s sack leader, Trenton Thompson returns at defensive tackle to help a solid Georgia defense. The key to this season is Eason’s production as a passer. He showed flashes of brilliance last year with a handful of 300 yard performances but it never carried over week to week, so perhaps having a year under his belt will help him improve this season for the Bulldogs. The Florida Gators should be breathing down the Bulldogs’ necks all year for the East, but with Eason’s emergence and Florida’s tough home opener against the Michigan Wolverines at Jerry World, Georgia will fend them off.

Derrius Guice will run wild for the Tigers

One of the top backs in college football, Guice is going to have a Heisman type season for the LSU Tigers. A great combination of power, speed, and agility, Guice is atop many experts’ list at the running back position. The junior running back, coming off a 1,387 yard/15 touchdown season for the Tigers, has big play potential. It should be fun for Tiger fans to watch this guy pound the rock week in and week out.

Kentucky is moving up

Many arrows point upward for the Kentucky Wildcats, who come off of a promising .500 regular season. Head coach Mark Stoops looks to keep the win total trending up as they return the bulk of their starters from a season ago, including quarterback Stephen Johnson, who won seven of his eleven starts last season. Kentucky rushed for a school record 3,046 yards last season and look to keep their run heavy game plan in place with freshman All-American Benny Snell at running back. The defense continues to improve with experience, and should prove that in 2017. This could be a special year for the Kentucky Wildcats, who look to make a bowl game for the second season in a row.

2017 SEC East Predicted Order of Finish

Team SEC Record Overall Record
Team SEC Record Overall Record
Georgia 6-2 9-4
Florida 6-2 9-4
Tennessee 4-4 8-4
South Carolina 4-4 7-5
Kentucky 4-4 6-6
Vanderbilt 3-5 5-7
Missouri 1-7 5-7

2017 SEC West Predicted Order of Finish

Team SEC Record Overall Record
Team SEC Record Overall Record
Alabama 7-1 12-1
Auburn 6-2 9-3
LSU 5-3 9-3
Arkansas 3-5 7-5
Mississippi State 3-5 7-5
Texas A&M 3-5 7-5
Ole Miss 1-7 5-7