Preseason Power Rankings: SEC Conference

Please note that power rankings are meant to rank teams based on current team strength on a neutral field. It is not necessarily a projection of where I think teams will finish or who has a better resume. It is forward thinking but does not factor in strength of schedule, schedule breakdown, etc.

2021 SEC Preseason Power Rankings

1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide are losing their 1st round QB, 2 1st round WR (including the Heisman trophy winner), Heisman finalist RB, 3 starting Offensive Linemen, and Offensive Coordinator and yet they are still the clear #1 here. Bryce Young sounds like he is the real deal at QB and they have the best offensive line in the conference on paper. Even if the offense takes a small step back the defense should be improved this year, particularly the Linebackers and Secondary. Oh yeah, and they have the best college football coach of all-time.

2. Georgia: Georgia is a true National Title Contender this year. I’m excited to watch a full-season of JT Daniels at QB and to see what strides the offense can make with a normal offseason and a clear starter at QB (last year Newman opted out on them). If they can get LSU transfer Arik Glibert eligible… look out! We know the defense will continue to be nasty.

3. Texas A&M: Jimbo Fisher has recruited very well at A&M and that shows up when you look at the depth of this roster. Isaiah Spiller is a stud at RB and they are very deep at WR. Who will win the QB battle and how good will they be right away?

4. LSU: This was the hardest team for me to rank. It’s possible it could go bad for them like it did last year, but there is still so much talent on this roster. They got Bo Pelini the hell out of Baton Rogue, so the defense figures to be much improved. I’m not sure who will win the QB battle (I lean Johnson) but I think they’re both pretty good. Derek Stingley and Eli Rocks are studs in the secondary.

5. Auburn: I like the Harsin hire, but transition years are tough. Bo Nix has to play better than he did in 2020. If not I think LSU transfer TJ Finley will end up taking the job from him. Tank Bigsby is a heck of a RB and that defense can play.

6. Florida: The Gators have the fewest number of returning starters in the SEC and they didn’t have the best offseason with all the Dan Mullen rumors and losing the Arik Gilbert transfer commitment (to Georgia of all teams). The offense will look a lot different with Emory Jones at QB than it did with Kyle Trask. Mullen is a great play caller, so I’m sure he’ll figure it out, but there may be some growing pains. Jones is a better runner, but I think the passing game may regress. The defense only brings back 5 starters, but they didn’t stop anyone last year any way so that might not be a bad thing.

7. Mississippi: The Lane train really got the offense going in his first season as Ole Miss head coach. Now what can he do with a normal offseason? Matt Corral is back at QB and so are several other starters. The defense will need to get better, but on paper it will. They should be a fun team this year.

8. Mississippi State: Last year was brutal but that’s to be expected when an air raid head coach comes in taking over for a head coach that likes the power running game. That was the case with Mississippi State and Mike Leach. On top of that, the Covid offseason had to complicate things as well. The defense should be good again and the offseason should improve a lot. Will Rogers showed promise last year at QB after taking over for Costello.

9. Kentucky: It seems like Kentucky is always solid under Mark Stoops. The QB position has always been what has held them back. This year they have two intriguing options with Penn State transfer Will Levis and Joey Gatewood. They will need one of those guys to figure it out. They also add Ole Miss #1 tackler Jacquez Jones.

10. Missouri: I was a little higher on Missouri earlier in the offseason before they lost so many transfer (especially in the secondary). I still like HC Eli Drinkwitz and am intrigued to see how much QB Bazelak and the rest of the offense improves this year.

11. Arkansas: There is lots of optimism in Fayeteville, but Sam Pittman doesn’t quite have the talent to justify the 8-4/9-3 message board projections yet. They do bring 19 starters back but need to figure out the QB position. I also worry that their brutal schedule will wear them down as the season goes on.

12. South Carolina: It’s a transition year for the Gamecocks as they bring in a first-time head coach and two first-time coordinators. I’m not expecting much from them right off the bat. We’ll see what Luke Doty can do at QB.

13. Tennessee: It was a chaotic offseason in Rocky Top. After word of the violations came out it became a sprint to the transfer portal for many players. Tennessee lead all Power 5 teams with 25 players entering the transfer portal. It’s going to take Josh Heupel some time to get it going. It will be fun to watch who ends up being the guy at QB: Michigan transfer Joe Milton or Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker?

14. Vanderbilt: It just seems like there is a still a very wide gap between Vanderbilt and the rest of the SEC conference. Ken Seals got lots of experience as a Freshmen QB last year and wasn’t bad. They should be better than last season, but conference wins are still going to be very hard to come by.

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