The conference will still have its quality teams, with Auburn or Alabama or both likely to be in the preseason top 10 when the national polls are released this summer. And the schedule certainly still has the look and feel of the old SEC, a heavyweight bout awaiting each and every weekend.
But every SEC team has at least one potentially fatal flaw that could leave it a loss or two short of the playoffs.
It seems like every program is either breaking in a new coach or a new coordinator or two or a new quarterback. In the case of traditional SEC power broker Florida, it’s all three. The resulting deficiencies make it hard to handicap the Gators as a possible SEC East champion.
Though hopes of national glory may be endangered for the SEC this season, hopes of contending for the conference title will touch more corners of the league than in most years.
The SEC appears to be more wide open than it has been for a decade. In the West, everyone except Mississippi State, which returns Dak Prescott but suffered heavy losses elsewhere, could contend. In the East, Georgia will be the safe preseason favorite, but resurgent Tennessee is the trendy pick. No one expects Missouri to pull off a third straight division title, but those Tigers have as good a chance as anyone in the East.
The flip side to a bigger field of contenders is the prospect the SEC could wind up with its first three-loss champion since LSU in 2001.
And that won’t cut it as far as the CFP final four is concerned.
Boy, I bet that would lead to some major bricks being shit.
More parity can be a beyotch.