The SEC is one of the most successful conferences in all of college football, and the 2016 season promises to keep that reputation going. And while it’s still pretty early to make any kind of solid predictions about what’s going to happen this coming season, looking ahead is never a bad idea, especially if you are planning on placing some wagers or playing fantasy college football.
As you start thinking about these things, take a look at our preview. This will help you in forming your own, more educated, opinions.
Top Team in the Conference
According to both the AP and the USA Today polls, Alabama is the number one team in the country right now. That’s no surprise; they won the National Championship last year. But they have a strong team returning including QB Jake Coker, and with the legendary Nick Saban returning as head coach, Alabama has all of the momentum and success on their side. When it comes to the SEC, they have been a dominant force for years, and it looks like they will remain as one again this year. Even if they don’t win the National title again, they look to remain the best in the Conference.
Teams to Watch
There are several teams in the SEC that have a lot of potential to rise up and surprise people. The two that have the most potential are probably the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tennessee Vols. The Gamecocks are undergoing some changes right now, and they have a very young team. No one has huge expectations of them, but they have a strong leadership team now that Steve Spurrier has stepped down. The team really struggled with him at the helm, and the only way they can go now is up.
When it comes to the Tennessee Vols, they went 8-4 last year, losing some very close games. They had a Bowl appearance at the Rose Bowl, and they crushed Northwestern there. They can be even better this year, though. They started out last season ranked #25 in the nation, and then quickly fell from grace. This season, we’re surprised to see them start in the top 25 (#22, according to polls), but would be even more surprised if they didn’t finish the season better than that.
Teams to Stay Away From
The Florida Gators are setting off all sorts of alarm bells for us this season. Head Coach Jim McElwain is great, but the Gators are not the team that they were a few years ago. After Tim Tebow left and went to the NFL, it became clear to a lot of recruits that the Gators were not preparing players for the NFL very well, and this has hurt their talent pool a bit. They have a tough schedule, and even though they are ranked #25 in the nation right now, they are likely not to finish as a ranked team.
Another team to watch out for is LSU. I know, I know, they are ranked #16 in the country. Why should you watch out for them? Well, their schedule is extremely tough. They see Alabama early in the season, and they also face other highly ranked teams, too. These include Wisconsin and Mississippi. LSU is a good team, we’re just not sure they will stay at #16 for very long. They are more realistically #22-#25.