Within the 16 years since Nick Saban took over as Alabama head coach, they’ve been the questioned kings of school soccer. The 70-year-old Saban has taken the Crimson Tide to 9 Nationwide Championship video games, and so they’ve gained an astonishing six of them.
Yr in and 12 months out, Alabama is often an element within the title image, and Saban is to thank.
However after the rival Georgia Bulldogs tore Saban’s crew aside final January, it could be truthful to wonder if there’s extra vulnerability within the Alabama crew than most assume. And getting into 2022, the SEC, on the entire, seems completely stacked on paper. To even return to January and make up for final winter’s failure, there’s a gauntlet forward of the Crimson Tide.
Right here’s a rundown of the preseason favorites within the SEC as Saban and Alabama attempt to climb over a metaphorical mountain of rivals. All odds and ends are courtesy of Tipico Sportsbook as of Week 0.
Brady Prepare dinner looks as if a probably good starter at QB primarily based on an especially small pattern dimension. However that’s additionally primarily based on the Tigers’ comparatively low requirements in comparison with the remainder of the SEC. Every so often, Missouri pulls an incredible season out of a magician’s hat. 2022 gained’t be a kind of years.
The Bulldogs have eight returning starters on either side of the ball in Mike Leach’s third season as head coach. With a pass-happy offense led by Will Rogers, if Mississippi State can get by way of a tricky schedule, this squad could be a professional SEC darkish horse.
The Gamecocks are led by switch Spencer Rattler, who will probably be within the combine to play on Sundays subsequent fall. This Gamecock squad isn’t very noteworthy total, however a gifted QB can elevate the tide a bit.
Soccer faculty Kentucky is coming off a 10-win season whereas returning a majority of starters on either side of the ball. I just like the Wildcats as a sneaky SEC choose.
Even with Treylon Burks’ departure to the NFL, there’s sufficient expertise round rising signal-caller Ok.J. Jefferson to assume that the Razorbacks can construct on their 9-4 marketing campaign from final 12 months.
Even together with his large persona, Lane Kiffin could be top-of-the-line coaches in faculty soccer. Primarily based on his second 12 months with Rebels, the place they made the Sugar Bowl — he very properly may flip Ole Miss right into a constant powerhouse.
It’s been a very long time because the Volunteers have been something price writing residence about. With the promising Hendon Hooker on the head of an explosive offense and Byron Younger main the way in which for a stiff entrance seven, Tennessee soccer is on the upswing.
Jimbo Fisher’s disagreement with Nick Saban apart, this Aggies squad is brimming with younger expertise, particularly on protection with guys like Walter Nolan and Shemar Stewart. They only may again up their coach’s phrases this fall.
Led by Jordan Davis, defending Nationwide Champion Georgia had a prolific, stifling protection. Kirby Good’s crew misplaced plenty of expertise to the large leagues, however they need to be as stiff in defending their title this 12 months.
So long as Nick Saban is coach, Alabama ought to often be the preseason favourite. Even after shedding final 12 months’s Championship Recreation to the rival Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide return Bryce Younger — a possible top-2 choose in subsequent April’s draft — defensive celebrity Will Anderson and a lot extra on a loaded squad. They’re not essentially as invincible as they was once, however there’s a cause oddsmakers have the Crimson Tide because the SEC darling as soon as once more.
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