Even though the Crimson Tide fell short in last year’s title game, Alabama will likely enter the 2022-23 season as the favorite to lift the trophy in January. Reigning Heisman winner Bryce Young is back at quarterback with leading tackler and sack artist Will Anderson leading the defense. Coach Nick Saban used the transfer portal to plug some holes in his roster, bringing in CB Eli Ricks from LSU, WR Jermaine Burton from Georgia and the country’s active leader in all-purpose yards, Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech.
Alabama has opened as the -125 favorite to win to win the conference for the seventh time in the last nine years. If they make it in, they tend to win it. Alabama has not lost in the SEC Championship game since Time Tebow’s Florida squad took them down in 2008. Nick Saban is 8-0 with the conference crown on the line since then.
The Crimson Tide should face some increased competition in the SEC West. Ole Miss and Texas A&M made some strong moves in the transfer portal in an attempt to close the gap between themselves and Alabama. According to 247 Sports, Ole Miss gathered the country’s No. 2 transfer class by securing running backs Ulysses Bentley IV and Zach Evans, safety Ladarius Tennison, tight end J.J. Pegues and receiver Malik Heath. When looking at the combination of transfers plus the recruiting class, On3 ranks Texas A&M No. 1 in the country in incoming talent for the upcoming season.
The coaching carousel was relatively quiet in the SEC West during the offseason, but LSU made a big splash by bringing in Brian Kelly from Notre Dame. Ole Miss and Auburn will both be introducing new coordinators on both sides of the ball, while D.J. Durkin makes his debut as Texas A&M defensive coordinator.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett is back in Athens, but plenty of question marks will continue to swirl around the National Championship-winning quarterback. He is no longer the plucky underdog looking to compete with five-star quarterbacks. Bennett now has the target on his back, but he will return with a dangerous 1-2 punch at tight end with Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington (potentially 1-2-3 punch when you include Arik Gilbert)!
Georgia lost some receiver talent to the NFL and transfer portal, but with the way that the Bulldogs have recruited in recent years, not too many people in Athens are worried about the offense. The worries will come on the defensive side where Georgia lost a record-setting five players in the first round of the draft. Former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning left the Bulldogs in the offseason to take the head coach position at Oregon.
Kentucky looks to be the Bulldogs’ biggest competition in the SEC East, finishing last season ranked in the top-20. Kentucky lost double-digit players to the draft and transfer portal. While it is a good sign that Mark Stoops is attracting top-level talent to Lexington, that may leave the Wildcats a little thin in some key areas.
After three-straight double-digit win seasons at Louisiana, Billy Napier will look to turn around Florida’s program after a troublesome 2021-22 season. Napier’s staff will include a mix of coaches following him from Lafayette, as well as some intriguing names from the NFL.
2022 SEC Championship Odds
Odds below courtesy of DraftKings as of Wednesday, June 15:
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