NCAA

College Football: Who Are the Best SEC Teams in 2019?

Georgia could be one of the best football teams in the SEC in 2019.

Are you sensing the inevitable? After last year’s College Football Playoff National Championship game, it was clear to many fans watching that 2019 would be all about Clemson vs. Alabama. These have been arguably the best two programs in college football for the last half-decade, and it will be fun to see if any teams in the SEC can topple Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.

Who are the best teams in the SEC? Will any teams be able to force overtime against the top squads, let alone challenge them for supremacy? Let’s break down the conference and crown division champions.

SEC East

Georgia and Florida will fight for the top spot, but the East as a whole should see a down year in terms of production. Outside of those top two, the rest of the teams in the division could struggle to play .500 football.

1. Georgia Bulldogs

  • 2018 record: 11-3

The Georgia Bulldogs are our pick to win the SEC East. They are led by former five-star recruit Jake Fromm, who should have an excellent junior season. He has been more of a game manager in this offense, but we expect the training wheels to come off this season. On the defensive side of the ball look for Richard LeCounte Jr to lead the team in tackling for the second season in a row.

2. Florida Gators

  • 2018 record: 10-3

Dan Mullen should see a much bigger improvement in the offense during his second season as head coach of the Gators. Felipe Franks threw 24 touchdowns and ran for seven more as the Gators averaged 35 points per game. The rivalry game with Georgia on Nov. 2 will determine if they can win the division.

3. Missouri Tigers

  • 2018 record: 8-5

This is where you start to see a drop off in the East. Missouri should be a good team, but with Drew Lock in the NFL, this offense will struggle to put up points.

4. South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina could be one of the best football teams in the SEC in 2019.
Is this the year South Carolina gets over the hump in the SEC East?| Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • 2018 record: 7-6

Is Will Muschamp ever going to make South Carolina a contender? The Gamecocks are just 22-17 in four seasons under Muschamp. The team does return seven starters on both sides of the ball, but showdowns with Texas A&M and Alabama from the SEC West means it will be a long season for the other USC.

5. Tennessee Volunteers

  • 2018 record: 5-7

This could be the most improved offense in the SEC. The Volunteers return 10 starters, including their top two running backs who both averaged over four yards per carry.

SEC West

Unless Georgia makes the SEC Championship, we think the winner of the West will go on to the College Football Playoff. If recent history repeats, that’s a safe bet to make; Alabama qualified for the CFB the past five seasons.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

  • 2018 record: 14-1

Alabama is our pick to win the National Championship. Bama’ is loaded on both sides of the ball, and we think Tua Tagovailoa was robbed of the Heisman last season. Expect another dominant campaign from the star quarterback, as we don’t see any team in the West having a realistic shot of taking them down.

2. LSU Tigers

  • 2018 record: 10-3

The Tigers will live and die with quarterback Joe Burrows, who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in the meeting against Alabama last season. The Tigers will need to be a threat to throw the ball farther than 10 yards to win the division, and we don’t see it happening.

3. Texas A&M Aggies

  • 2018 record: 9-4

Texas A&M isn’t a top-line SEC contender yet, but it will be. Jimbo Fisher is a great recruiter, and the Aggies have talent on both sides of the ball. The defense will need to bring a new crop of talent with just four starters returning.

4. Auburn Tigers

Auburn could be one of the best football teams in the SEC in 2019.
Auburn should be a bowl-eligible team from the SEC in 2019. | Michael Chang/Getty Images
  • 2018 record: 8-5

The Tigers will need a young quarterback to fill the shoes of Jarrett Stidham, who pursued the NFL after a less than stellar 2018. Joey Gatewood is in the driver’s seat as a redshirt freshman, but Bo Nix comes in as one of the country’s top high school recruits.

5. Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • 2018 record: 8-5

The Bulldogs lose all everything play Nick Fitzgerald, who led the team in passing and rushing last season. We don’t expect them to win more than six games this season, as the offense will have a steep drop-off in production.