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10 pressing questions for SEC football this coming fall


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10 pressing questions for SEC football this coming fall

Pat Dooley
5-6 minutes

The heat, humidity and lazy days of summer are coming, which means players in the SEC will be spending a lot of time getting their bodies right over the next three months before camps start.

They made it through the spring and most of them know where they will be playing this season (with some still dangling in the portal) and our minds are starting to shift to the images we will see in the fall.

This brings more questions than answers, like whether Greg Sankey can get this whole NIL thing under control.

But that’s for a different day. Today, we want to look at the questions surrounding some of the teams in America’s Conference. Of course, football is unscripted so everything can change, then change again.

We do know that no matter how the sport screws things up, we are still going to be there watching. College football is idiot-proof. I think. They sure have been trying lately to mess it up.

Jimbo-Fisher.jpeg

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 recruiting class… a coach who is expected to win national titles… a win over Alabama under the giant belt buckles Aggies wear…

What’s not to like?

Jimbo Fisher has not won more than nine games in four years at A&M and he has already cautioned fans about lofty expectations for this season. It may be a year away. Or never come at all. Who knows?

But the pressure will be palpable in College Station.

Anthony-Richardson-shush.jpeg

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The talent is there but we still aren’t sure if he’s ready to be a leader. And there really isn’t much of a sample size to go on.

But if Billy Napier can get the best out of him and if he can start to show some maturity —and if he can stay healthy — AR-15 could live up to Todd McShay’s prediction of being a top-10 pick in the NFL draft.

A lot of “ifs” there, though.

USATSI_16784096.jpg

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, the Bulldogs will flinch a little. You can’t lose the guts of a generational defense and plug-and-play as if nothing changed.

But Kirby Smart has players. Georgia also has a bullseye on its back that they haven’t felt since Herschel Walker was rumbling between the hedges.

Georgia will be really good. Elite? That is truly the question.

Bryan-Harsin.jpeg

Jake Crandall-USA TODAY NETWORK

The attempted coup failed and Harsin is back for a second season after his first losing season as a head coach (6-7).

He has made some changes and Auburn has to be a little embarrassed about the way it consumes its head football coaches. But the bottom line is that he has to win.

That has not changed.

USATSI_16778001.jpg

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, some people think so. He has shown his displeasure with the direction college football is going and might want to ride off to the lake and enjoy the rest of his life.

He has a Heisman-winning quarterback and a team loaded with talent so there is no doubt Alabama is one of a handful of teams who could win it all.

It will be interesting.

USATSI_17010934.jpg

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Every team in the SEC West has a tough schedule and Arkansas seems to find a way to make its schedule brutal. Cincinnati and BYU as non-cons? Were the Chiefs unavailable?

Sam Pittman won nine games last year with a schedule that was considered one of the two or three most difficult in the country. He can handle it.

LSU.jpeg

Andre Broussard/The Daily Advertiser

Brian Kelly’s hire was both a blockbuster and bewildering at the same time and his fake Cajun accent only made it more confusing.

He has players, but does he have enough and can they get to where he wants them in time for the biggest games?

The truth is that most people have no idea what these Tigers will look like.

Spencer-Rattler.jpeg

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s look at the facts – he lost his job at Oklahoma, transferred to a school in a conference that plays way better defense, and doesn’t have the skill players around him at South Carolina that he did with the Sooners.

It seems unlikely. Remember, he was a Heisman contender going into last season, too.

USATSI_17244084.jpg

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

One would think so with Josh Heupel and Hendon Hooker way more comfortable in Knoxville.

We should know at the end of the stretch where the Vols face Florida, LSU and Alabama before the midway point just how dangerous this team can be.

SEC-Helmet.jpeg

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

This is the question everyone needs an answer to.

Right minds? You mean, other than the guys who vote for their hometown teams every year?

It’s difficult to see a path for another team to win either division. This isn’t parity, but it is the SEC.

There is not a team in the East with anywhere near the talent of Georgia. And Alabama is still Alabama and likely the preseason No. 1 team in the country.

So, I guess we saved the easiest question for last.

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The little slam about "the way [Auburn] consumes football coaches" is BS. 

Minus Alabama and Auburn, the remainder of the SEC has averaged 4 different head football coaches since the Saba era began. 5 different SEC programs have had more program changes than Auburn and 3 have changed coaches the same amount of times. Only four have changed less. 

Auburn is average with changing coaches. One of our coaching changes came because Chizik had lost control of the program, discord was rampant in the staff and roster and we turned in one of the worst - if not the worst - seasons in history. That coach's replacement should have been let go about 3 years earlier than he was. Harsin was an unpopular hire for a large portion of the Auburn PTB, he recruited poorly, lost a major portion of the roster and turned in a losing season. If Auburn was as bad as everyone makes us out to be, we'd be entering the Hugh Freeze era this season, but we aren't. This argument is just silly. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, aucom96 said:

The little slam about "the way [Auburn] consumes football coaches" is BS. 

Minus Alabama and Auburn, the remainder of the SEC has averaged 4 different head football coaches since the Saba era began. 5 different SEC programs have had more program changes than Auburn and 3 have changed coaches the same amount of times. Only four have changed less. 

Auburn is average with changing coaches. One of our coaching changes came because Chizik had lost control of the program, discord was rampant in the staff and roster and we turned in one of the worst - if not the worst - seasons in history. That coach's replacement should have been let go about 3 years earlier than he was. Harsin was an unpopular hire for a large portion of the Auburn PTB, he recruited poorly, lost a major portion of the roster and turned in a losing season. If Auburn was as bad as everyone makes us out to be, we'd be entering the Hugh Freeze era this season, but we aren't. This argument is just silly. 

Pay no attention to Florida being on its fifth coach since 2010, which includes firing coaches the year after they won the SEC east!

Edited by AUwent
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5 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

10 pressing questions for SEC football this coming fall

 

fwiw, not sure if it a c/p issue or formatting, but none of the questions ever come through on these articles.

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4 minutes ago, W.E.D said:

fwiw, not sure if it a c/p issue or formatting, but none of the questions ever come through on these articles.

thanx. i will post again and see if i screwed up which i probably did.

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10 pressing questions for SEC football this coming fall

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SEC-sign-2.jpeg?w=1000&h=600&crop=1
May 7, 2022 1:41 pm ET
 

The heat, humidity and lazy days of summer are coming, which means players in the SEC will be spending a lot of time getting their bodies right over the next three months before camps start.

They made it through the spring and most of them know where they will be playing this season (with some still dangling in the portal) and our minds are starting to shift to the images we will see in the fall.

This brings more questions than answers, like whether Greg Sankey can get this whole NIL thing under control.

But that’s for a different day. Today, we want to look at the questions surrounding some of the teams in America’s Conference. Of course, football is unscripted so everything can change, then change again.

We do know that no matter how the sport screws things up, we are still going to be there watching. College football is idiot-proof. I think. They sure have been trying lately to mess it up.

 

1
Is Texas A&M ready for its close-up?
Jimbo-Fisher.jpeg

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 recruiting class… a coach who is expected to win national titles… a win over Alabama under the giant belt buckles Aggies wear…

What’s not to like?

Jimbo Fisher has not won more than nine games in four years at A&M and he has already cautioned fans about lofty expectations for this season. It may be a year away. Or never come at all. Who knows?

But the pressure will be palpable in College Station.

 

2
Is Anthony Richardson the real deal?
Anthony-Richardson-shush.jpeg

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The talent is there but we still aren’t sure if he’s ready to be a leader. And there really isn’t much of a sample size to go on.

But if Billy Napier can get the best out of him and if he can start to show some maturity —and if he can stay healthy — AR-15 could live up to Todd McShay’s prediction of being a top-10 pick in the NFL draft.

A lot of “ifs” there, though.

 

 

3
Can Georgia lose 15 players to the NFL draft and not flinch?
USATSI_16784096.jpg

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, the Bulldogs will flinch a little. You can’t lose the guts of a generational defense and plug-and-play as if nothing changed.

But Kirby Smart has players. Georgia also has a bullseye on its back that they haven’t felt since Herschel Walker was rumbling between the hedges.

Georgia will be really good. Elite? That is truly the question.

 

 

4
Is Bryan Harsin still in trouble at Auburn?
Bryan-Harsin.jpeg

Jake Crandall-USA TODAY NETWORK

The attempted coup failed and Harsin is back for a second season after his first losing season as a head coach (6-7).

He has made some changes and Auburn has to be a little embarrassed about the way it consumes its head football coaches. But the bottom line is that he has to win.

That has not changed.

 

5
Does Nick Saban get fed up with NIL and transfer portal and hang it up if he wins it all this season?
USATSI_16778001.jpg

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, some people think so. He has shown his displeasure with the direction college football is going and might want to ride off to the lake and enjoy the rest of his life.

He has a Heisman-winning quarterback and a team loaded with talent so there is no doubt Alabama is one of a handful of teams who could win it all.

It will be interesting.

 

6
Can Arkansas thrive despite another killer schedule?
USATSI_17010934.jpg

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Every team in the SEC West has a tough schedule and Arkansas seems to find a way to make its schedule brutal. Cincinnati and BYU as non-cons? Were the Chiefs unavailable?

Sam Pittman won nine games last year with a schedule that was considered one of the two or three most difficult in the country. He can handle it.

 

7
What will LSU look like?
LSU.jpeg

Andre Broussard/The Daily Advertiser

Brian Kelly’s hire was both a blockbuster and bewildering at the same time and his fake Cajun accent only made it more confusing.

He has players, but does he have enough and can they get to where he wants them in time for the biggest games?

The truth is that most people have no idea what these Tigers will look like.

 

8
Can Spencer Rattler really be a Heisman contender?
Spencer-Rattler.jpeg

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s look at the facts – he lost his job at Oklahoma, transferred to a school in a conference that plays way better defense, and doesn’t have the skill players around him at South Carolina that he did with the Sooners.

It seems unlikely. Remember, he was a Heisman contender going into last season, too.

 

9
Will Tennessee be more dangerous than last year?
USATSI_17244084.jpg

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

One would think so with Josh Heupel and Hendon Hooker way more comfortable in Knoxville.

We should know at the end of the stretch where the Vols face Florida, LSU and Alabama before the midway point just how dangerous this team can be.

 

10
Can anybody in their right mind at SEC Media Days pick any teams to win their divisions other than the obvious two?
SEC-Helmet.jpeg

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

This is the question everyone needs an answer to.

Right minds? You mean, other than the guys who vote for their hometown teams every year?

It’s difficult to see a path for another team to win either division. This isn’t parity, but it is the SEC.

There is not a team in the East with anywhere near the talent of Georgia. And Alabama is still Alabama and likely the preseason No. 1 team in the country.

So, I guess we saved the easiest question for last.

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5 hours ago, aucom96 said:

The little slam about "the way [Auburn] consumes football coaches" is BS. 

Minus Alabama and Auburn, the remainder of the SEC has averaged 4 different head football coaches since the Saba era began. 5 different SEC programs have had more program changes than Auburn and 3 have changed coaches the same amount of times. Only four have changed less. 

Auburn is average with changing coaches. One of our coaching changes came because Chizik had lost control of the program, discord was rampant in the staff and roster and we turned in one of the worst - if not the worst - seasons in history. That coach's replacement should have been let go about 3 years earlier than he was. Harsin was an unpopular hire for a large portion of the Auburn PTB, he recruited poorly, lost a major portion of the roster and turned in a losing season. If Auburn was as bad as everyone makes us out to be, we'd be entering the Hugh Freeze era this season, but we aren't. This argument is just silly. 

Consumes was a poor word for them to use. The ironic part is that we aren't that quick triggered like you said. Waited too long for a few guys. "Treat" would probably be the more appropriate word. Every coach since Dye, besides maybe Chiz, seems to have been backstabbed at some point, with Tubs and Harsin's being the most public 

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18 hours ago, au302 said:

Consumes was a poor word for them to use. The ironic part is that we aren't that quick triggered like you said. Waited too long for a few guys. "Treat" would probably be the more appropriate word. Every coach since Dye, besides maybe Chiz, seems to have been backstabbed at some point, with Tubs and Harsin's being the most public 

Auburn can’t get out of its own way sometimes. I am rooting for CBH but I am still peeved we didn’t get Kirby when we did and now it seems we let freeze go too. Crossing my fingers this will all workout. 

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I don't think the consuming coaches was so much about how long they stay as coaches as the other things we have seen from certain boosters over the years where some boosters are to involved in areas where they shouldn't be.  I do emphasize some boosters as we have an awful lot of really good boosters who are great Auburn fans and who know where the line should be drawn between booster and Athletic Program.

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