Is this the year Kirby Smart’s team breaks through and defeats Alabama? Photo from @ChamberlainSmit (Twitter)
- Alabama (-240) and Georgia (-140) are favored to win their respective divisions within the SEC.
- The SEC announced its conference-only schedule on Monday.
- Read below for picks and odds on every team in the SEC Eastern and Western divisions
With so much of college football cancelled or postponed, the remaining conferences have been forced to move to conference-only schedules in 2020.
On Monday, the SEC dropped their all-SEC slate, a ten-game schedule running from September 26th through December 5th.
SEC 2020 schedule pic.twitter.com/Z0BQv5xd6P
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 17, 2020
The biggest games on the 2020 SEC schedule come in the form of Alabama-Georgia (10/17), Florida-Georgia (11/7), Alabama-LSU (10/31), and Florida-Tennessee (12/5). The Tide-Bulldog game is just flat-out massive, and the other mentioned games are likely to be the biggest factors in the East and West division races.
One notable decision from the SEC comes on Thanksgiving weekend. Despite the season stretching into December, rivalry and traditional games like Auburn-Alabama, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, and LSU-Texas A&M remain on the last weekend of November.
2020 SEC West Division Odds
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-240|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+900|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||+1800|
|Ole Miss Rebels||+2500|
Turnover Helps the Tide
Alabama has to replace quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but they’re such big favorites because much of the SEC West has to replace so much more.
Defending national champion LSU fits that description better than anybody. Heisman quarterback Joe Burrow is gone, along with both coordinators in Joe Brady and Dave Aranda. There’s plenty of skill talent that leaves with him, a group headlined by guys like tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire and slot receiver Justin Jefferson. It’s a similar story on defense.
Auburn will have to overhaul both its offensive and defensive line, an especially daunting task in the SEC. The two Mississippi schools have new head coaches, and so does Arkansas.
For Alabama, replacing one position will be easy with the experienced Mac Jones and the 5-star prospect Bryce Young in the quarterback room. It’s even easier when you consider what the rest of the division will also have to go through.
Don’t Sleep on the Aggies
At times, the college football world can be far too reliant on record to determine how good a team is. That’s a big reason why, coming off a 8-5 season, far too many people are sleeping on Texas A&M. Those five losses came to Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and LSU. Two of those losses came by just single digits, and the Clemson defeat was by just 14.
With such a tough slate, it was tough to see how much Jimbo Fisher had improved this program in his second year.
Entering 2020, the Aggies have an experienced senior quarterback in Kellen Mond. Additionally, the nation’s fourth overall recruiting class in 2019 will be a year older, and Fisher just brought in more talent with a 2020 class that ranked sixth nationally.
At +900, there’s a ton of value and upside in College Station. Combine that with one of the SEC’s more manageable schedules, and Jimbo Fisher’s squad is the definitive sleeper in the SEC West.
2020 Heisman Trophy Odds Tracker
2020 SEC East Division Odds
|South Carolina Gamecocks||+2500|
That stark drop from Florida at +100 to Tennessee at +1400 may seem steep, but it is absolutely warranted. While the third and fourth teams in the odds – Tennessee and Kentucky – have great position groups, the most complete teams are absolutely Georgia and Florida.
Georgia has been right on the edge of title contention under Kirby Smart, and they may have just made the boost that will put them over the top in 2020. Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman will take the reigns at quarterback in Athens with Jake Fromm leaving for the NFL. Fromm was a solid passer, but Newman brings a dynamic element that this offense has lacked in recent seasons, exemplified by his 574 rushing yards in 2019.
Newman will be pushed by USC transfer JT Daniels, who threw for 2,887 yards and 15 touchdowns with a 128.7 passer rating in Los Angeles. He isn’t the runner Newman is, but when juxtaposing him with Fromm, the ceiling is far higher for Daniels as a passer.
Florida doesn’t have the raw talent of Georgia, but Dan Mullen has done a strong coaching job in his first two seasons.
The Gators have won ten games in each of his first two years, but the recruiting hasn’t caught up. While solid from a national perspective, recruiting rankings of fifth in the SEC in 2019 and sixth in 2020 keep Florida’s ceiling limited.
Any Sleepers in the East?
The SEC East isn’t as deep as the West in terms of real contenders, and aside from Florida and Georgia, only two other teams seem to have a remote chance at winning the division. Those two are the aforementioned Kentucky and Tennessee.
The Wildcats and Volunteers each possess one of the top offensive lines in the conference, and they each have talented defensive lines as well. Around those lines are rosters that don’t stack up against Georgia or Florida.
Playing for 𝙠𝙚𝙚𝙥𝙨. #PoweredByTheT pic.twitter.com/wsD0e1tUmU
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) August 17, 2020
However, a talent gap on the outside can be overcome. If, up front, Tennessee or Kentucky can win the battles in the trenches, then solid quarterbacks like Jarrett Guarantano and Terry Wilson will have time to make the right decisions, and the running games will be able to find a rhythm.
Guarantano is the better passer, so the Vols +1400 is the sleeper pick here, but the Wildcats are an attractive longshot as well.
With four years as radio host with The Ticket Sports Network and various written contributions to publications such as Fansided, Southbound and Down, and Last Word on Sports, Jake Mitchell comes to SBD with NFL, NBA, NCAAM, NCAAF and MMA know-how you can count on.