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We're just in Alabama's universe... (SEC Preview thread 2022)

Dolgevillefootballfan

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So we begin this thread with the same ol' problem: We're all grasping for straws, trying to find holes in the Alabama football team. Georgia, everybody in the SEC West... They're all doing it, so stay tuned to see if anybody can stop the Tide.

Oh, and prepare yourself for a lot of references to the "SEC Shorts" YouTube channel on this thread.
 

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Texas A&M

The first preview segment for the Southeastern Conference: The Texas A&M Aggies

Last season: It was another bout of "good news/bad news" for Texas A&M in 2021. The good news was, they finally defeated Alabama for the first time in 9 years! The bad news was, they went 3-4 during the rest of their SEC schedule... and then a COVID outbreak prevented them from defeating Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl. Now Jimbo Fisher is under the microscope in College Station... once again.

Good news: The recruiting machine at Texas A&M is running at full power, as evidenced by that ballyhooed recruiting class that the Aggies got. Special teams, running-back, and the secondary should be powerful weapons for the Aggies, and the D-line has the chance to be a force for years to come.

Bad news: Trouble is, almost all of the players on the D-line are either freshmen or sophomores; can they perform right away? The O-line is a bit unproven. But the biggest worry is easily at quarterback; will Haynes King return from injury to lead the team, or will former LSU QB Max Johnson step in?

Key games:
9/17 vs. Miami (Why do I have the feeling that this game will be a slow, 20-17 type of game?)
9/24 vs. Arkansas [in Arlington] (Losing to Arkansas last year was a shock to the system for the Aggies. And if A&M underestimates Arkansas' secondary, that could happen again.)
10/8 @ Alabama (...Just know that the fur will fly in this SEC West showdown.)
10/29 vs. Ole Miss (When Ole Miss defeated A&M last year 29-19, they ruined ANY chance at the SEC West title for the Aggies.)
11/26 vs. LSU (Maybe even worse than the Ole Miss loss was when LSU clinched a bowl berth at the expense of the Aggies... on a last-second TD pass.)

Bottom line: This one is hard to call. Texas A&M has invested the money, the time, and the effort to give Jimbo Fisher every chance to win. The recruiting class A&M got will help immensely, and they got elite talent at almost every position. But the QB spot needs to be resolved, the lines have to perform at a elite level, and A&M has to start winning more of the SEC games that they're supposed to win.
With the talent they have, A&M should find their way to a "New Year's Six" bowl. Anything beyond that? Let's wait and see.
 

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Kentucky

Preview segment: The Kentucky Wildcats

Last season: Okay, now this is just getting ridiculous. Kentucky football is now coming off it's 2nd 10-win season in 4 years, and they finished #18 in the final AP rankings in 2021. AND they're being led by a QB who can teach us a new way to eat bananas. How much more craziness can Kentucky give us this season?

Good news: The QB I'm talking about is Will Levis, and he's back to lead the offense alongside RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. and a WR room that has a lot of potential. The O-line also has potential...

Bad news: ...but it is only returning 2 starters from a year ago. And on defense, Kentucky needs to replace leaders like Josh Paschal and Yusuf Corker. Oh, and WR Wan'dale Robinson is now with the New York Giants in the NFL.

Key games:
9/10 @ Florida (The Wildcats ruined Florida's 2021 campaign when they beat them 20-13. Could Kentucky stun the Gators again? Maybe, as Florida is rebuilding under a new head coach.)
10/1 @ Ole Miss (If all goes well for Kentucky, they'll be 4-0 entering this big contest. Kentucky hasn't beaten the Rebels since 2011.)
10/29 @ Tennessee (Kentucky lost a heartbreaker to the Vols last year 45-42. But that's not the big worry this time. Nope, this time it's the fact that Tennessee has a potent offense that can lead them to the top.)
11/19 vs. Georgia (Oh my goodness... Could this game actually decide the SEC East title? If Kentucky is going strong, that could happen.)
11/26 vs. Louisville (In this in-state rivalry, Kentucky has now won 3 straight against the Cardinals.)

Bottom line: With the great run that Mark Stoops and his team has been on, is it time to raise expectations? With Will Levis at the helm (and projected to be a proud NFL Draft prospect) and a bunch of other proud guys, can Kentucky really push Georgia for the SEC East title? With Tennessee still rebuilding and Florida starting over, that possibility could become reality.
 

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Arkansas

Preview segment: The Arkansas Razorbacks

Last season:


Yep, the SEC Shorts channel wasn't ashamed to admit it: They were wrong about Sam Pittman as a head coach. And with Sam getting the rushing game going and the defense playing... well, not so horribly, Arkansas got a 9-win season and a Outback Bowl win. Now fans in Fayetteville are wondering if their team can contend for the SEC West so quickly.

Good news: Just know that KJ Jefferson, the straw that stirs Arkansas' powerful RPO attack, is still here and he has a strong O-line and a gaggle of powerful tailbacks to help him. TE Trey Knox could also be brilliant.

Bad news: Only 3 starters are back from last year's defense, with the D-line in particularly bad shape when it comes to depth. Oh, and with Treylon Burks gone from the team, somebody else will have to step in at the WR position.

Key games:
9/3 vs. Cincinnati (This is strictly a challenge game for both of these teams. Can you imagine how worried people in Fayetteville will be if the Razorbacks somehow lost to Cincinnati?)
9/24 vs. Texas A&M (Arkansas used their defense to silence A&M in last year's game in Arlington.)
10/1 vs. Alabama (So even though they were in Tuscaloosa last year, Arkansas kept it to a 1-score game against the Crimson Tide. If their secondary does a better job, maybe Arkansas can send Alabama cryin' to their mamas.)
11/12 vs. LSU (Even with LSU downtrodden, Arkansas still had to use OT to defeat them last year.)
11/19 vs. Ole Miss (Look. Just watch last year's game between these two teams; it'll set this game up nicely.)

Bottom line: Yes, I talked a lot about last year during this preview. But 2021 still was a very fine year for the once-downtrodden Razorbacks, and now all the fans want them to do is maintain this success. But the non-conference slate is harder (Cincinnati and BYU replaces Rice and Georgia Southern), and the SEC West is STILL a tough grind.
The good vibes are back for Arkansas, however, so maybe the only thing they need to do to have another 9-win season is fix that defense of theirs.
 

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Vanderbilt

Preview segment: The Vanderbilt Commodores

Last season: More of the same old, same old from Vanderbilt as they went 2-10 in Clark Lea's 1st year as coach.

Good news: The team should be better simply due to improvements in team chemistry, player buy-in, and recruiting. Vandy might have 2 QB's, but both Ken Seals and Mike Wright have shown success at times.

Bad news: It's all about depth and talent, and Vandy simply doesn't have enough of both right now. The D-line looks to be the weakest spot on the team.

Key games:
9/10 vs. Elon (Vanderbilt's game against an FCS school last year was a disaster, as they lost to ETSU 23-3. And if Vandy can't stop Elon here, they'll have absolutely no chance against Wake Forest the following week.)
10/22 @ Missouri (This game will be a sight for sore eyes for the 'Dores; they'll have to deal with Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss beforehand.)
11/5 vs. South Carolina (Vandy will have a bye week to prepare for this winnable SEC game.)
11/26 vs. Tennessee (Is Tennessee finally getting it's act together? Uh oh, Vanderbilt! You better upset the Vols and bring them back to earth.)

Bottom line: Expect another last-place finish for Vanderbilt in 2022, as they're still short in the talent department. But with Clark Lea signing faster and stronger players in recruiting, maybe this streak of bad luck will change in the years to come.
 

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Alabama

Preview segment: The Alabama Crimson Tide

Last season: It has gotten this crazy in Tuscaloosa, Alabama: You can win another SEC championship, make it to the CFP title game... and people will still call the 2021 season a failure. That's what happened to poor Nick Saban and his offense after Georgia pulled away late in that title game.

Bad news: It's the same old, same old: A bunch of studs leave for the NFL, and the staff has to find replacements quickly. Alabama will feel that mostly around the tackle positions and at wide-receiver.

Good news: Blah blah blah, Bryce Young is back after winning the Heisman. Yadda yadda yadda, the pass rush should be phenomenal. Jordan Battle came back to the school, and so on and so forth.

Key games:
9/10 @ Texas (Wait a minute, Nick Saban. Your team is actually going ON THE ROAD to play your toughest non-conference game? WOW!! Are you sure that your offense can handle the pressure?)
10/1 @ Arkansas (Look at this, Alabama! Arkansas is no longer a laughing stock, and you have to go visit them this year! Good luck!)
10/8 vs. Texas A&M (Jimbo Fisher angered the gods when he beat the Tide last year. Now he must pay.)
10/15 @ Tennessee (Oh! And we can't forget that Tennessee may also be getting their acts together, as well.)
11/5 @ LSU (Of course, Crimson Tide fans can't forget about their rivalry games with LSU...)
11/26 vs. Auburn (...and their bitter in-state rivals.)

Bottom line: Blah blah blah, Alabama should reload. Yadda yadda yadda, Bryce Young should still be awesome. Alabama is still a title favorite, and so on and so forth. Yeah, I know, it's getting really boring over there again, isn't it?
But at least I listed 5 conference games as a "key game" for the Tide. Maybe those guys can spoil the party, you know. Kind of, liven things up.
 

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Auburn

Preview segment: The Auburn Tigers

Last season: So Bryan Harsin comes in to coach the Auburn Tigers, and he started out 6-2? So far, so good! But then they cough up a big lead against Mississippi State. Pretty bad, right? Then they got screwed out of a game against South Carolina. Pretty bad luck, right? Then Bryce Young saved Alabama's bacon in an Iron Bowl which Auburn controlled most of the way. That was very bad luck, right?
Well, in the offseason things got really, really, REALLY bad for the head coach; not only did Bo Nix transferred away, but Auburn tried to attach charges on him for the sole purpose of getting rid of him! Thankfully for Bryan, nothing stuck, so he's still here. But I think the pressure is on for him to right the ship.

Good news: Oh, trust me. There is a LOT of good AND bad on this team. On the positive side, we have talented running backs like Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter. We also have exceptional strength in the trenches, Zion Puckett in the secondary, and a much healthier QB room than we had a year ago.

Bad news: On the negative side, nobody knows who the starting QB will be for Day 1. Depth is pretty terrible, so Auburn could be in trouble if the injury bug strikes on the defense. Oh, and nobody jumps out at the WR position as a true threat.

Key games:

Old stand-by's:

10/1 vs. LSU (Once again, Auburn should have a time with all of their old rivals. The good news is, Auburn has now beaten LSU in consecutive years for the first time since 1999-2000.)
10/8 @ Georgia (But the bad news is, Auburn must face Georgia [who's fresh off a national title] right after the LSU game... for the 2nd year in a row.)
11/26 @ Alabama (Look, Auburn. Just PLEASE have a healthy team ready to go for this installment of the "Iron Bowl". Please please, PLEASE.)
Other big games:
9/17 vs. Penn State (Both Auburn and Penn State are looking to get back some happy vibes for their program? I'm sold on this game!)
10/15 @ Ole Miss (Yeah, Auburn defeated Ole Miss last year. But that was only because Lane Kiffin was acting like an idiot during that game, and I don't think he'll do that twice against you guys.)

Bottom line: Listen, Auburn. I'm rooting for you guys. I'm hoping that Bryan Harsin can shake off a horrible offseason and return Auburn to SEC West contention this year. And the Tigers will surprise if the QB position comes through and the trenches hold tough.
But if Auburn stumbles again in the SEC West, the grumbling at Jordan-Hare Stadium will only get worse...
 

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South Carolina

Preview segment: The South Carolina Gamecocks

Last season: When South Carolina hired Shane Beamer as a head coach, me and a lot of other people were surprised. But look at this! In 2021, South Carolina scrapped together enough wins to go bowling, and then they defeated border rival North Carolina in that bowl. Hmm.... Maybe this "Shane Beamer" thing will work after all for the Gamecocks.

Good news: South Carolina landed QB Spencer Rattler in the winter, who should thrive without all of the Heisman hype that dogged him last year. The skill positions around him should be very good, and Cam Smith should be a force once again in the secondary.

Bad news: The safety position is a question mark, but the biggest worry is on the offensive line. Yes, the line returns 4 starters, but it was pretty damn poor last year.

Key games:
9/10 @ Arkansas (The Gamecocks will have a REALLY tough start to their SEC schedule, as they'll first go to a reborn Arkansas team...)
9/17 vs. Georgia (...before hosting an old rival. Who just won their first national title in over 40 years a season ago.)
10/22 vs. Texas A&M (South Carolina will get a bye week to prepare for this tough home game against the Aggies.)
11/19 vs. Tennessee (This Senior Day should be a hoot and a half, as the Gamecocks look to snap a 3-game skid against Tennessee.)
11/26 @ Clemson (Yes, this edition of the "Palmetto State" rivalry is in Clemson, but the Tigers are finally nursing some weak spots. Good luck!)

Bottom line: Gamecock fans can be notoriously optimistic, but this time there are reasons for them to be happy about the future. Veteran leadership is everywhere, the head coach may actually know what he's doing, and Spencer Rattler is an elite talent. If South Carolina finishes in the middle of the SEC East this year, it'll bode REALLY well for their future.
 

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Georgia

Preview segment: The Georgia Bulldogs

Last season: From the 1982 season to February 2021, the Georgia Bulldogs football team has been God's little practical joke. God would allow the Bulldogs to have some fun, and build up their program so that the folks in Athens could be happy. But the second that Georgia let their guard down (or shoots for bigger prizes), God ruins everything with random losses and/or blessings to their opponents. It got Him every time.
It started with a loss to Penn State in the 1983 Sugar Bowl. Then, God decided to give Georgia a great 1983 season, only to have them go 7-4-1 in 1984 (That gave God a few chuckles). And it went on and on and on!
I mean, God was so creative in depriving the Georgia Bulldogs of glory; there was Georgia losing the first game of 1993 to lowly South Carolina. There was Georgia being voted by some people as preseason #1 in 2004, only to blow it against Auburn. There was Georgia being preseason #1 in 2008, only to have Nick Saban kick their @$$ ahead of schedule. There was 2012, when their QB suddenly went stupid in the last seconds of the SEC title game. And of course, there was the recent trend of Georgia dropping conference games against mediocre teams. And it made God laugh year after year.
Well, thanks to Georgia finally stopping Alabama in the CFP title game last year, that little joke is now over.

Good news: Georgia's offense could potentially be even better than it was last year! QB Stetson Bennett is in a groove. The running game should still be strong despite relying on new people. And the O-line has excellent depth.

Bad news: Uh, how do I put this as gently as possible? Georgia had 15 players taken in the NFL Draft last spring (most of them from that phenomenal defense). 15 PLAYERS! Not even Alabama had this many draftees in 1 draft... EVER! So... yeah, expect a drop-off of sorts from Georgia's new, young defense.

Key games:

Old stand-by's:

10/8 vs. Auburn (We can't forget about this rivalry game... even though Auburn is in a state of flux right now.)
10/29 vs. Florida [from Jacksonville] (Rumor has it that this rivalry game won't be in Jacksonville for much longer. So savor it while you still can, people!)
Other big games:
9/3 vs. Oregon [from Atlanta] (The good news for Georgia is, this game is really a home game in disguise. The bad news is, that young defense will get sorely tested right away.)
11/12 @ Mississippi State (Happily for Georgia, most of their schedule is relatively easy. To me, the toughest part of the season will start when Georgia hosts Tennessee, then go to visit high-scoring Mississippi State a week later...)
11/19 @ Kentucky (...and then finally go to a Kentucky team that COULD be the biggest threat in their division.)

Bottom line: Well, congratulations Georgia Bulldogs! You finally got over the hump! Now let's see if you can somehow, SOMEWAY, replace all of the talent that you lost last season. ...Ah, who am I kidding? Of course Georgia can't do it!
But this will still be a very capable team, what with this awesome offense and an accommodating schedule. Georgia should easily retain their SEC East title, but can they get strong enough to beat Alabama again? I don't know...
 

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Dolgevillefootballfan

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Tennessee

Preview segment: The Tennessee Volunteers

Last season: Tennessee might have finished 7-6, but at least the Vols left 2021 feeling optimistic about the future. They scored the most points in a season in school history, and could have won the Music City Bowl with a few more breaks.

Good news: You are in a conference with Stetson Bennett, Bryce Young, and KJ Jefferson, and the Vols has a quarterback that can hang with ALL of them? Yep, this guy is Hendon Hooker, and he'll have a proud run game and people like Cedric Tillman to throw to. The O-line returns 4 starters...

Bad news: ...but it can stand to do better in short-yardage situations. However, the secondary is far and away the biggest problem Tennessee has right now; it needs to be fixed soon.

Key games:
9/10 @ Pittsburgh (I could list about eight "key games" for the Volunteers, but let's focus on the REALLY big ones. This game qualifies because the Vols are facing the defending ACC champions... who defeated them in Knoxville last year. If Tennessee gets revenge, it'll bode VERY well for the 2022 season.)
9/24 vs. Florida (16 of the last 17 meetings in this rivalry has gone to the Gators. With Florida rebuilding, this installment is a must-win for Tennessee.)
10/8 @ LSU (The Vols will have a bye week to prepare for this trip to "Death Valley".)
10/15 vs. Alabama (If you take out the last 9 minutes of last year's game between these two, Tennessee was right in lockstep with the Tide. If the Vols fix their secondary, maybe they can finish the job this time.)
10/29 vs. Kentucky (It's great to see that Tennessee is taking Kentucky seriously now, judging by the 45-42 barnburner they won last year in Lexington.)

Bottom line: Things are still not perfect for Tennessee football right now; the secondary needs a lot of work, and their schedule features the last 3 national champions on it. But the trajectory is pointing upward for the Vols; if they take care of business against people like Kentucky and Florida, 2nd place in the SEC East is very doable.
 

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Louisiana State

Preview segment: The LSU Tigers

Last season: When Ed Orgeron won the 2019 national title at LSU, Colin Cowherd boldly said that "Ed Orgeron is gonna be the head coach there for as long as he wants to". Well sadly for Colin, he was wrong this time; LSU struggled again in 2021 and went 6-6 in the regular season, so Ed decided to cut bait and leave. And so, Orgeron goes down in history as a passionate coach who rode a Super Bowl-lever QB (Joe Burrow) to a national title but struggled afterwards... just like Gene Chizik with Cam Newton in 2010.
But enough about all that; LSU has to get back to contention. And so in the offseason they hired... Brian Kelly?!

Bad news: Going from South Bend, Indiana to Baton Rouge, Louisiana has been a tough transition for Brian. And expect the transition pains to continue as a new coaching staff deals with problems like a lack of depth in the secondary and 4 guys wanting to be the starting QB.

Good news: In terms of raw talent, LSU is up there with some of the elite teams. Exceptional line-play will be the strength of this Tigers team, and people like RB John Emery Jr. and WR Kayshon Boutte are here to boost the offense.

Key games:

Old stand-by's:

10/1 @ Auburn (LSU now has a losing streak in this series for the first time in over 20 years.)
11/5 vs. Alabama (I'm willing to bet that Brian Kelly will have a better chance of beating Nick Saban here than he did in the 2012 BCS title game.)
11/12 @ Arkansas (Ugh. LSU plays the Razorbacks RIGHT AFTER the Alabama game? AGAIN?! And Arkansas is high off beating the Tigers for the first time in 6 tries? Man, good luck, LSU.)
11/26 @ Texas A&M (A last-minute TD against A&M prevented LSU from sitting at home last bowl season.)
Other big games:
9/4 vs. Florida State [from New Orleans] (NOBODY knows what's gonna happen in this season opener in the Superdome. I do know that if LSU loses to a rebuilding Florida State team, it will NOT look good for the Tigers.)
10/22 vs. Ole Miss (Speaking of winning streaks being broken, Ole Miss ALSO defeated LSU for the first time in 6 tries last year.)

Bottom line: Man, I don't know what's gonna happen with LSU this season. Brian Kelly has a proven track record, and he's got a boatload of raw talent here in Baton Rouge. But the transition pains are still going on, and the quarterback logjam HAS to get solved someday. I guess I'll have to make LSU my "wild-card" of the SEC in 2022 and see what happens.
 

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Florida

Preview segment: The Florida Gators

Last season: The 2021 season was just one big "OMG" for the Florida Gator fan base. After two straight years of going to "New Year's Six" bowl games, their turnover-margin fell into the crapper, and their defense just quit on them (does the Samford game ring a bell?). And so Dan Mullen (who I thought would at least get another season) was let go.
Florida then got drunk at the bowl dance (the SEC Shorts channel got that right at least), and they lost their bowl to UCF. However, they now have Billy Napier (from Louisiana) to help lead Florida back to normalcy.

Good news: In terms of talent on the first unit, Florida definitely has that. QB Anthony Richardson had a strong showing in spring ball, and he's ready to become a breakout star. On defense we have DT Gervon Dexter, and linebackers like Brenton Cox Jr. and Ventrell Miller.

Bad news: It's all about the lack of depth Florida has; wide-receiver is particularly barren. The D-line is also lacking potency and is hurting for bodies.

Key games:

Old stand-by's:

9/24 @ Tennessee (As I mentioned on a previous post, Tennessee's offense looks very potent. If Florida can't stop it [or at least keep up with it], they are SO not winning in Knoxville this time.)
10/29 vs. Georgia [from Jacksonville] (Georgia is off their first national title since 1980, and that's scary for the Gators. Scarier still is the fact that their defense might be a sitting duck for Georgia's offense.)
11/25 @ Florida State (You know, Florida, the only reason you defeated Florida State last year is because FSU's kicker messed up a onside kick.)
Other big games:
9/3 vs. Utah (True, Utah is looking like a national title contender this year. But this season opener is in Gainesville, and Utah doesn't face SEC talent too often. If Florida's defense is able to stand tall...)
9/10 vs. Kentucky (The Wildcats are contenders for the SEC East?! Florida has to take them out and restore order to the universe.)

Bottom line: Players in Gainesville are loving the experience of playing for Billy Napier, and Billy's aggressive style of recruiting should be able to get Florida back to SEC and national contention. Just don't expect it to happen overnight, as those darn depth issues are tempering expectations.
The Gators should brace themselves for a 8-win season as the rebuilding begins.
 

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Missouri

Preview segment: The Missouri Tigers

Last season: Oh sure, Missouri was able to beat teams like South Carolina and Florida in 2021. But other than that, it was a blah 6-7 season that included a bowl loss to Army. In fact, Missouri has been dancing around the .500 mark for the last 7 seasons.

Good news: Coach Eli Drinkwitz continues to win on the recruiting trail, as he got his 2nd-straight Top 20 class in the winter. The pass-rush for Missouri should be brilliant, and high-quality transfers should help fix their defense. Harrison Mevis is one of the best kickers in the country.

Bad news: There's still a lot of worries on Missouri's roster, like "Who's gonna be our starting quarterback?" and "Who will be our top running back?". The defense is also on it's 3rd coordinator in 3 years.

Key games:
9/10 @ Kansas State (This will be a statement game over in the Midwest. If Missouri wants to win it, they have BETTER nail down their QB by this time.)
9/24 @ Auburn (This is only the 4th time Auburn and Missouri will play each other, and it's a game Missouri can win if they break Auburn's stellar line play.)
10/29 @ South Carolina (Just a simple "swing-game" for the postseason for both teams.)
11/5 vs. Kentucky (Now THIS game is important for Missouri. Why, you ask? How about the fact that Kentucky has beaten them 6 out of the last 7 times they've met?)

Bottom line: The Tigers also have home games with Georgia and Arkansas, so I don't think Missouri is gonna do anything big in 2022. Fans in Columbia are just hoping to see an improved team that can win a bowl, because if it doesn't happen Eli Drinkwitz might be on the hot seat very soon.
 

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Mississippi State

Preview segment: The Mississippi State Bulldogs

Last season: An up-and-down 7-6 record. On one hand, they defeated quality teams like Kentucky and Texas A&M. But on the other hand, they lost the Egg Bowl, lost to Alabama at home 49-9, and Mike Leach lost to one of his former teams in his bowl game. So what can his team do this year?

Good news: The "Air Raid" offense should be running at it's peak, as QB Will Rogers is comfortable with it and has a lot of receivers to throw to. The defensive line was actually pretty good last year for Miss. State, and it should be that way again.

Bad news: About the only big worry for the Bulldogs is their secondary; some new stars must emerge over there, and it won't have Martin Emerson (who's now in the NFL) anymore.

Key games:
9/10 @ Arizona (Arizona is rebuilding, but Mississippi State should NOT let their guard down.)
9/17 @ LSU (Same scenario as the Arizona game, but throw in the fact that Brian Kelly is coaching his first SEC game here.)
10/1 vs. Texas A&M (Can the "Air Raid" offense surprise Texas A&M again? Maybe, if the Bulldogs defense stands tall.)
11/12 vs. Georgia (Miss. State must go to Lexington. They must go to Tuscaloosa. AND they have to host the defending national champions?! Ouch!)
11/24 @ Ole Miss (But if you ask Mike Leach about the schedule, he'll just point to the "Egg Bowl". Because he knows he needs to beat Lane Kiffin and the Rebels.)

Bottom line: Hey! Mississippi State has fewer problems than I thought they would have. Maybe all Mike Leach and his team has to do to compete in the SEC West is to find more consistency. But Miss. State has maybe the toughest schedule in the country, so they might be stuck in the middle of the conference again.
 

Dolgevillefootballfan

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Mississippi

The last preview segment for the SEC: The Ole Miss Rebels

Last season: Hmm... So Lane Kiffin was able to get Ole Miss 10 wins in the regular season, AND he got the team to the Sugar Bowl. All while QB Matt Carrol ran wild on the field. So it looks like for all the bravado that Kiffin brings to the table, he can sure coach up some players.

Bad news: But now Kiffin must deal with a whole lot of newness on his team; Matt Carrol is now in the NFL, and we don't know who'll step in as the new starting QB. The Rebels also must get their new linebackers up to speed.

Good news: It looks like Lane Kiffin has mastered the transfer portal, as he got a ship-load of new faces to fill in the gaps. The lines are deep, the secondary should be solid, and the skill positions (RB and WR) looks to be well-stocked.

Key games:
10/1 vs. Kentucky (Also working in Ole Miss's favor is an easy early schedule, with this being maybe their toughest test out of their first 6 games.)
10/22 @ LSU (But as a consequence, the Rebels must face ALL of their division foes in the 2nd half of the schedule. After hosting Auburn, Ole Miss must face LSU in "The Battle of Magnolia Lane"...)
10/29 @ Texas A&M (...and then face the talented Aggies one week later.)
11/12 vs. Alabama (At least the Rebels will get a week off to prepare for their latest showdown with the Crimson Tide.)
11/24 vs. Mississippi State (Lane Kiffin is now 2-0 in the "Egg Bowl", and the fans in Oxford are LOVING that fact.)

Bottom line: One anonymous scout told the Athlon Sports preseason magazine that "If Lane can keep the train going [in 2022] without Matt Carrol, I'll nominate him for SEC Coach of the Year". Well, yes, replacing Carrol WILL be hard. But Ole Miss will have an easy early schedule to figure out who'll be their new starting QB and get the rest of the team up to speed.
Could Ole Miss make another "New Year's Six" bowl? There will be a chance if all of the new guys in Oxford can get along.
 

Dolgevillefootballfan

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SEC Predictions

There's only 1 more conference for me to take care of, and that's the ACC. But before I get to that tomorrow, I need to predict the SEC in 2022 today:

East division:
1. Georgia ("New Year's Six" bowl)
2. Tennessee
3. Kentucky
4. Florida
5. South Carolina
6. Missouri
7. Vanderbilt

West division:
1. Alabama (Conference champs, maybe playoff)
2. Texas A&M ("New Year's Six" bowl)
3. Ole Miss
4. Arkansas
5. LSU
6. Mississippi State
7. Auburn
 

THUNDER

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Terry Saban said that they would leave Alabama when the fans expectations got too high.
Well, that ship sailed when ya go 13-2 and consider the season a failure.
 
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