The SEC Contenders for 2019 are seeking to play for an SEC Championship in December. These teams are some of the best in college football, with a few that are on the rise. The conference has been dominated by Alabama for the last ten years or so. Can one of these teams finally dethrone them? Georgia won the SEC Championship in 2017, but failed to win the National Championship. Nick Saban’s squad in Tuscaloosa still reigns supreme in the conference. However, a few teams on the rise want to change that. There is yet another battle for SEC Contenders for 2019.
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SEC Contenders For 2019
Bulldogs Favored in the East
Starting in the East Division, the Georgia Bulldogs are once again the favorite. The Dawgs have won the East Division the past two seasons. Kirby Smart has done a phenomal job in Athens. Despite losing to Bama in the College Football Playoff title game in 2017, Smart’s Bulldogs have stayed in the hunt. Losing five of their top receivers will be tough, but Georgia led by Jake Fromm at quarterback are still the heavy favorites.
A Close Second
Florida has become an intriguing team once again. A 10-win team in Dan Mullen’s first season, the Gators are back as a contender. Florida hasn’t been to the SEC Championship Game since 2016. This season, they look to change that. With Feliepe Franks back under center and a plethora of great receivers, the offense can thrive. The Gators’ defense can be great again too. The main key for Florida is to beat Georgia and Kentucky. The Gators lost both of those last season, which ended their SEC Championship hopes. In 2019, with a quality team, they just might pull it off. Franks will have to be the best he’s ever been though. For Mullen to get the Gators to Atlanta, the offense has to play essentially well and win their key games. The match-up against Auburn could be a must-win game as well for Florida. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Gators are true contenders once conference play starts.
The final true contender in the East is South Carolina. The Gamecocks return many starters, and Will Muschamp has done a tremendous job in Columbia getting the program on track. Heading into 2019, Carolina can be a contender in the East. Many don’t think they will win the division. But, a 9-3 team could be the destination for the Gamecocks. Picked to finish last in the pre-season, South Carolina has a lot of talent to work with. Gamecock fans want another trip to Atlanta, but I don’t think it happens in 2019. A third place finish is likely for Carolina, which is still a good spot to sit in.
Alabama Reigns Again
Heading over to the West Division, Alabama reigns supreme. They’ve won multiple titles under Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide are the best team in all of college football. They just got beat by a great Clemson team in last year’s championship. Tua Tagovailoa returns to lead the way this season. Many think he can win the Housman Trophy. Alabama also returns a lot on defense, which will be interesting to watch. The defense for Bama is always loaded. But, it comes down to their offense. Returning Tua and Jerry Jeudy is something Alabama needed. With Najee Harris at running back, the Tide are set offensively. The big question is can they overcome the adversity from last season’s final game fallout?
Tigers on Right Track
LSU will be an interesting team to watch in 2019. Returning Joe Burrow at quarterback gives the Tigers a bit of insurance at the position. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is likely the starting running back. But what about the receivers? Justin Jefferson will have a breakout season. You heard it here first. Also, Jamarr Chase and Terrace Marshall are primed for great seasons. So, offensively, LSU seems ready. On defense, Grant Delpit is back. The best safety in all of college football returns. Michael Divinity is also back. And Derek Stingley Jr is ready to show the world what he’s made of. Dave Aranda’s defense is once again stacked. The key games for LSU are Florida, Auburn, and Alabama. Coming away from those three games with a 2-1 record would be great for the Tigers. Also, week two against Texas will tell us whether LSU is a legit contender or not.
Aggies Ready to Breakout
Texas A&M comes into year two under Jimbo Fisher. With Kellen Mond back as the likely starter, the Aggies want to cause havoc in the SEC West. Many believe they are true contenders this season. Fisher does a tremendous job maturing quarterbacks. Can he fix Mond? That’s the main question for Texas A&M this year. Their level of play revolves around how well Mond performs. He can make their offense thrive. But, they must win their big games. At Clemson the second game of the season will tell a lot about the trajectory of this program and the offense. The Aggies always have solid defense, but their offense is what will carry them this season.
Auburn comes into 2019 with many questions. A new quarterback in Bo Nix. A former five-Star recruit, Nix is ready to go on the Plains. If Guz Malzahn doesn’t right the ship, is he gone after the season? 2019 will be a big year for Auburn. Can they get back to the SEC Championship? Losing Jarrett Stidham puts Auburn in a fresh-look Offense that may or may not work. If it doesn’t work, this Auburn team probably goes 7-5. If it does work, a 9-3 or 10-2 team could happen on the Plains. The Tigers are always in contention for an SEC Championship, but 2019 is a big year for the program.
The SEC Contenders this season are listed with heavy favorites, and teams that could shake things up. As the season approaches, these teams will be searching to win their division and claim supremacy in the SEC.