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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Still too early to tell who will win the SEC

by Wally Hall | July 12, 2022 at 3:17 a.m.

This is not a drop-dead prediction of how the SEC will finish in football this season.

It could change next week after hearing all 14 SEC head coaches and various players take the podium at the mega-media event called SEC Media Days.

One thing probably won't change, and that's what team will win the SEC West.

In the past, a few times, yours truly has picked against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and if memory serves, they won the national championship each time.

So, here's a hotter-than-hades midsummer prediction:


1. Alabama -- As long as Nick Saban is the head coach, this should be the pick, although Name, Image and Likeness has him a little shaken. The Tide have Bryce Young back at quarterback, and that helps, too. If the NIL is going to deny the Tide No. 1 it will take a year or two.

2. Texas A&M -- The Aggies reportedly paid $30 million for their incoming freshman class, and while that may someday make a difference, it won't this year. Jimbo Fisher should not be looking forward to Oct. 8 when the Aggies play at Alabama. Saban has the reputation of not running the score up, or at least he did.

3. Arkansas -- No, this is not a homer pick. Right now, the Razorbacks get the edge over Ole Miss because the Hogs have KJ Jefferson back at quarterback and the Rebels lost Matt Corral. The main question marks for the Razorbacks are on defense.

4. Ole Miss -- Lane Kiffin may need a program to keep up with the many new faces this season. It has been written that he had the No. 1 transfer class in the country, and all he has to do is blend them together, starting with quarterback Jaxson Dart.

5. Auburn -- Despite all of the turmoil surrounding Bryan Harsin last season, the Tigers will have a powerful running game with Tank Bigsby back. The defense does have some questions, and really at this point names could be drawn out of a hat for who finishes fifth through seventh.

6. Mississippi State -- Mike Leach has 13 starters back from last season, including quarterback Will Rogers who passed for 4,739 yards and two of his favorite receivers are back.

7. LSU -- The Tigers had more departures than O'Hare International Airport. It appears only three starters are back, so new coach Brian Kelly has a blank slate to create his own team.


1. Georgia -- The defending champs don't return a lot of starters, but Kirby Smart has been stockpiling talent for years.

2. Kentucky -- The Wildcats are more than a basketball factory. Mark Stoops has turned this program around and with a little luck might challenge the Bulldogs for the lead.

3. Tennessee -- The Vols were powerful on offense last season and last in the SEC on defense, which must improve.

4. South Carolina -- Transfer quarterback Spencer Rattler has something to prove and will get his chance behind a veteran offensive line. Shane Beamer went 7-6 in his first season as a head coach and should build off that.

5. Florida -- Billy Napier will get the Gators back to the top of the standings, but it may take a little time. Napier is a hard worker with an eye for detail and is 40-12 in four years as a head coach.

6. Missouri -- Thank goodness for Vanderbilt. The Tigers have to find a replacement for running back Tyler Badie.

7. Vanderbilt -- The Commodores didn't win a conference game last season and may not again. The only wins last season were by three over Colorado State and by two against Connecticut. They were beaten 104-0 by Georgia and Florida.

Again, this could change next week when 14 undefeated coaches address the media.

Print Headline: Still too early to tell who will win the SEC


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