SEC f Charleston Southern Buccaneers shirtootball predictions 2022: Conference standings, impact transfers, best games
An SEC school has won five of the eight College Football Playoff championship games, and two of those teams didn't even win the SEC.
Georgia pulled that off in 2021. The Bulldogs lost the SEC championship game against Alabama, but then broke a national title drought that extended back to 1980 in the CFP championship game.
Alabama remains the defending SEC champion. The Crimson Tide have won eight SEC championships under Nick Saban, including six in the CFP era. Alabama returns a loaded roster led by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson.
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Georgia and Texas A&M also are top-five teams in Sporting News' Preseason Top 25, and Arkansas, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Tennessee also are ranked. The conference also welcomes two new coaches in LSU's Brian Kelly, who made the surprise move from Notre Dame; and Florida's Billy Napier, an up-and-comer from Louisiana.
Can anybody stop another Alabama-Georgia matchup in Atlanta? A closer look at the SEC, with predictions, huge games, Heisman contenders and more:
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2022 predicted order of finish
- South Carolina
The Bulldogs are 36-5 in conference play the last five seasons. This is a huge show of faith in Tennessee over Kentucky for second place knowing the Vols haven't finished better than 5-3 in SEC play since 2007. Florida is the X-factor team that could finish much higher depending on how quickly Napier's system catches on.
- Texas A&M
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
This matches the SEC Preseason Poll, but there is no reason to shake it up. The Crimson Tide have lost seven conference games in eight seasons in the CFP era. Who else are you going to pick? Arkansas broke a nine-game losing streak to Texas A&M last season. Can they do it again? LSU is the X-factor team with first-year coach Brian Kelly, and a last-place finish would not end well for Bryan Harsin at Auburn.
SEC top storyline: Saban's revenge games
Before last season, Saban had never lost to one of his former assi College Lacrosse Shirts stants.
That changed on Oct. 9, 2021, when Texas A&M beat Alabama 41-38 at Kyle Field. Then, Georgia beat the Crimson Tide 33-18 in the CFP championship on Jan. 10, 2022. So, Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart got Saban in the same season.
Saban would have to wait at minimum for a shot at Smart in the SEC championship game. LSU (2010-11) and Ole Miss (2014-15) are the only SEC teams to beat Alabama under Saban in consecutive seasons.
The offseason back-and-forth between Saban and Fisher that erupted in May has added fire to that Oct. 8 matchup at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Chances are Saban remembers Fisher calling him a "narcissist," among other things.
But what if Alabama doesn't get back to Atlanta or the CFP? It's a ridiculous standard knowing the Crimson Tide have played in the CFP championship game six of the last seven years, but it's one Alabama will be expected to meet given the amount of first-round NFL talent on the roster.
Evan Stewart, WR, Texas A&M
The 6-foot, 175-pounder is a five-star recruit from Liberty High School in Frisco, Tex. He also was a track star in high school. He's good enough to lead the Aggies in receiving this year, which says something about that immense talent. The spring-game highlight reel shows that promise.
Barion Brown, WR, Kentucky
Brown, a four-star athlete from Pearl-Cohn in Nashville will be an instant playmaker for quarterback Will Levis at Kentucky. He has the ability to play multiple positions, including running back and quarterbacks. Randall Cobb and Lynn Bowden thrived in that role in Kentucky. Brown should be that kind of player.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
The secret is out on Gibbs, a potential Heisman sleeper who transferred from Georgia Tech. Gibbs ranked third in the FBS in all-purpose yards with 150.4 yards per game, and Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien surely will find ways to maximize his talent. He's among the All-American caliber transfers Alabama added this season along with LSU cornerback Eli Ricks and Georgia receiver Jermaine Burton.
Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina
Rattler might be the most-talented quarterback the Gamecocks have ever had. Seriously. That's a huge get for Shane Beamer in Year 2. Rattler had 40 passing TDs and 12 INTs the last three seasons, and that efficiency will be tested against a brutal schedule with cross-over games against Arkansas and Texas A&M.
Jaxson Dart, QB, Ole Miss
Dart is yet another quarterback who transferred from USC, and there is a bit of the unknown here. Dat had a 61.9% completion Charleston Southern Buccaneers shirt percentage in spot action for the Trojans, but he should put up numbers in Lane Kiffin's creative offense at Ole Miss. TCU transfer running back Zachary Evans also is an intriguing backfield mate. Dart should take off in this scheme.
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Young is t FSU vs. Miami Rivalry Gear he defending Heisman Trophy winner and the latest to try to match Ohio State running back Arc Canisius College Golden Griffins shirt hie Griffin as the next Elon Phoenix shirt two-time winner. Louisville's Lamar Jackson finished third in 2016 after winning the award the previous season. Young is in a better offensive situation with a national championship contender. He had 10 games with at least 300 yards passing and 10 games with at least three TD passes. If he can match that and the Crimson Tide returns to the CFP, then he could win No. 2.
Will Anderson, LB, Alabama
Young's biggest competition might be from the other side of the ball on his own team. Anderson led the nation in sacks (17.5) and tackles for loss (34.5) and is the nation's best returning edge-rushing talent. He's been compared to Crimson Ti Alabama vs. Auburn Rivalry Shirts de l Bentley Falcons shirt egend Derrick Thomas, who set the unofficial NCAA record with 27 sacks in 1988. Thomas finished 10th in the Heisman voting that year. Anderson would have a chance to win it with that kind of season.
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennesse
Wouldn't it be something if 25 years after Peyton Manning finished second in the Heisman voting that Hooker would make a run with the Vols? He had 2,945 passing yards, 620 rushing yards and 36 total TDs in Josh Heupel's offense last season, and that came with just three picks. Granted two of those picks were in losses to Georgia and Alabama, and those are the games where Hooker will be judged the most in a season where the Vols feel like a potential break-through team.
KJ Jefferson, QB, Arkansas
Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles has a quarterback-friendly offense, and Jefferson thrived in it for the Razorbacks last season with 2,676 passing yards, 664 yards and 27 total TDs. Jefferson threw just two interceptions in six games against ranked teams, too. He's a dynamic player who will be better in his second year as a starter.
SEC's biggest games of 2022
1. Texas A&M at Alabama (Oct. 8)
You heard Fisher's press conference. That's called poking the bear, and the Aggies have lost the last four trips to Bryant-Denny Stadium by an average of 32 points per game. If Texas A&M truly is a CFP contender, then this is the gotta-have-it game. That won't be easy against Young, who had 24 TDs, and 2 INTS at home in 2021.
BENDER: No winners in the Saban-Fisher feud
2. Tennessee at Georgia (Nov. 5)
Can the Vols make it here with one loss or less in the conference? If so, then this SEC East rivalry game will have some real heat; perhaps fitting the ESPN College Gameday requirements. Tennessee did beat Georgia in Kirby Smart's first season in 2016. The Bulldogs have won the last five meetings by an average of 28.6 points per game. This could be Hooker's signature game.
3. Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Sept. 24)
This game has been at "Jerry World" in seven of the last eight seasons, and only one of those games was decided by more than 10 points. It's an old-school Southwest Conference rivalry revived, and the winner of this game will be in the best position to challenge Alabama in the SEC West.
4. Florida vs. Georgia (Oct. 29)
The "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" has huge implications. Either Georgia or Florida has represented the SEC East in Atlanta each of the last seven seasons. This is Billy Napier's first crack at it. Four of Florida's last six coaches won t College Cold Weather shirt heir first matchup against Georgia. Dan Mullen and Will Muschamp were the misses.
5. Alabama at Ole Miss (Nov. 12)
Kiffin was done before the popcorn last season because of a series of bad fourth-down calls in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has rolled up 60-plus points in its last two visits to Oxford, but it's a tricky road game that comes the week after LSU. Will the Crimson Tide be able to clinch the SEC West here?
SEC stat that matters
The SEC could become the first conference to have four straight Heisman Trophy winners in 2022. Joe Burrow (2019), DeVonta Smith (2020) and Bryce Young (2021) all have won the SEC championship, and Burrow and Smith were named the most-outstanding players in the CFP championship game. It's a good bet if the Heisman winner does come from the SEC, then that player will be in focus in the CFP championship game.
SEC champion: Alabama
While the offense gets the attention, Saban might have his best group of linebackers to da College Cold Weather Jerseys te. Anderson could be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but Henry To'o To'o, Jaylen Moody and Dallas Turner have All-American potential. Turner might have the highest upside of the bunch, and that's scary. We mentioned the road landmines, but the Crimson Tide have too much talent on both sides of the ball, even if Young will have to figure it out with a different group of receivers. He will, and that leads to the Crimson Tide's eighth CFP appearance in nine years.