Georgia beat out Texas for the top spot in the SEC power rankings

The Associated Press

The Bulldogs get the edge given Kirby Smart’s SEC track record, the fact that Carson Beck looks like the conference’s best starting quarterback and more consistency on defense.
Georgia is laden with veterans on both sides of the ball, and anything short of an SEC Championship Game appearance for this squad would be downright shocking.
Quinn Ewers has gotten better in each year as a starting quarterback.
The Rebels have certainly flirted with SEC glory throughout Lane Kiffin’s tenure, though Alabama has consistently served as a major barrier.
Having Arnold take his first consistent snaps — outside of a bowl game — behind that line certainly complicates things.
13Though Shane Beamer has yet to announce anything officially, it seems as if South Carolina will be turning to a homegrown option to replace quarterback Spencer Rattler.
Not great for a first-time starting quarterback.14Just a few years ago, it looked like Arkansas was turning a corner under Sam Pittman.
Will that pair be enough to power Arkansas to a bowl game?


1To tell the truth, Texas and Georgia were vying for the No. One place. Given Carson Beck appears to be the best starting quarterback in the conference, Kirby Smart’s SEC experience, and increased defensive consistency, the Bulldogs have the advantage. For the defense, anticipate seeing a squad that resembles the one that utterly destroyed rivals in 2021. There are a lot of veterans on both sides of the ball for Georgia, so anything less than an SEC Championship Game appearance for this team would be extremely surprising. We expect Texas to settle in nicely at its new location, if Georgia’s explainer wasn’t enough of a clue. With a breakthrough run to the College Football Playoff last year, Steve Sarkisian has gradually transformed this roster into a formidable group, and the program is expected to perform better than it has since Colt McCoy was in charge of the offense. Year after year as the starting quarterback, Quinn Ewers has improved. On offense, he has an abundance of talent at his disposal, but a large portion of it consists of transfers or former blue-chip prospects with minimal collegiate experience. There are a few key areas for the defense to replace, including both starting boundary cornerback positions and interior defensive line spots, but there is optimism that viable alternatives will surface. 3 Is this the year Ole Miss finally makes a breakthrough? Throughout Lane Kiffin’s tenure, the Rebels have definitely dabbled in the SEC, but Alabama has always posed a significant obstacle. Once divisions are history and the Crimson Tide are not present on the 2024 schedule, Ole Miss will be able to emerge from Alabama’s shadow at last. With his sights set on making a deep run to the expanded College Football Playoff, Kiffin fully loaded up on veteran transfer talent because Ole Miss’ 2024 slate is so favorable. The new players, who have the potential to form a completely new team by themselves, will need to gel in a real-world competitive environment, but there is plenty of material available. 4In case you haven’t heard, Tuscaloosa is experiencing significant change. After 17 storied years at Alabama, Nick Saban made the decision to hang up his helmet to make room for former Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer. He takes over a fantastic roster that still has the potential to be an SEC contender despite a few significant transfer losses. Because of DeBoer’s talent for getting the most out of quarterbacks in particular, Jalen Milroe should have a big season because of his exceptional physical attributes. 5This is the year Missouri needs to get serious about making waves. Brady Cook and Luther Burden’s partnership will only help the Tigers for a limited amount of time. The latter will most likely be selected in the top-15, while the former may sneak into the first round of the 2025 NFL Draft. Five defenders chosen in the 2024 draft must be replaced by Mizzou right away. It will take a swift addition to fill the void on that side of the ball, like Williams Nwaneri, a five-star freshman defensive lineman. 6This is Tennessee time, Nico. Nico Iamaleava is coasting into the 2024 season as Tennessee’s surefire starter at quarterback after spending the majority of his rookie season behind Joe Milton and taking home Citrus Bowl Bowl MVP honors in his first career start. Early growing pains will be eased by an experienced offensive line that returns three starters, a backfield led by Dylan Sampson, and a wide receiver corps that includes six players with three or more years of collegiate experience. Watch out for Tennessee’s defense, which under Josh Heupel has subtly improved each season. utilizing an edge rusher such as James Pearce Jr. and a deep rotation along the line. causing mayhem in the backfields of the opposition, this team may make its greatest breakthrough to date. 7It’s difficult to replace a Heisman Trophy winner. There would typically be some uproar if an LSU player who has only made one start in three years were to take the place of a Heisman Trophy winner. However, it’s really difficult to remain neutral when it comes to Garrett Nussmeier. After signing with the Tigers in 2021, Nussmeier has given us a few tantalizing glimpses, and he appears to have everything it takes to be successful at this level. He is very well-built, elegant, extremely strong in the arms, and accurate in all situations. Leaving aside Nussmeier’s affection, LSU’s potential is greatly diminished by a defense that consistently failed it in the previous campaign and has some serious concerns going into the 2024 campaign. 8As Oklahoma enters the SEC, there are two main areas of concern: replacing five offensive linemen with starting experience, and acclimating a brand-new starting quarterback, sophomore Jackson Arnold. Although the Sooners have been successful in using the portal to handle their OL needs, it isn’t ideal to field a completely new unit while switching to a league like the SEC. It makes things more difficult when Arnold takes his first reliable snaps behind that line, unless it’s in a bowl game. Arnold shouldn’t have too much trouble bailing the Sooners out of a lot of holes because Oklahoma boasts one of the SEC’s strongest defensive teams. 9Kentucky starts a former transfer at quarterback for the third consecutive year. Not as experienced as his predecessors, but with a pro-style offensive scheme that seems to fit Kentucky perfectly, is Brock Vandagriff the player who finally steps up to the next level? As new offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan is sure to add some of his own wrinkles, Kentucky will likely stick to the formula we’ve grown accustomed to from them in recent years. Leading receiver Dane Keyback and wide receiver Barion Brown are lining up to spread the field alongside Vandagriff, so he will have a choice of weapons. After a fast-paced search, Texas A&M selected Mike Elko as Jimbo Fisher’s replacement, and it was a great decision. Elko guided a Duke team that hadn’t experienced a winning campaign since 2018 to an 8-4 record and a victory over Gus Malzahn’s UCF in the Military Bowl in his first year as head coach (2022). After that, he had a 7–5 performance in 2023, which doesn’t seem too bad considering Duke had to deal with three separate quarterback injuries. Now he takes over at an institution that obviously doesn’t hesitate to invest large sums of money in its football program. It is not implausible to believe that Elko’s Aggies will aim to win at least eight games this season. 11A lot of pundits appear to be very negative about Florida. It makes sense considering that the Gators have now finished two years under Billy Napier with an 11-14 record. For him, this season really feels like make-or-break. However, Florida is the one team that isn’t in the top 10 but that I have faith will make it up into that group by the end of the season. One of the best playmakers in the SEC, wide receiver Eugene Wilson, is underappreciated, and the defense is actually improving with transfers supporting the returning starters. Wide receiver Graham Mertz is also expected to be motivated to improve his game now that star freshman DJ Lagway is in the room. 12A lot of time and energy has been put into improving his squad around the quarterback by Hugh Freeze. Payton Thorne must now decide what to do next. The former transfer from Michigan State did not make an impression during his first campaign on The Plains. Thorne needs to improve significantly if the Tigers are to avoid embarrassing mishaps like losing to New Mexico State. It is no longer a problem that he lacked talent to spread the ball to, as WR Cam Coleman and other former five-stars are now part of the team. 13South Carolina will likely look to a homegrown option to replace quarterback Spencer Rattler, even though Shane Beamer has not made any official announcements yet. This spring, LaNorris Sellers seemed like a natural choice. He has impressed the coaching staff since the day he joined the program. It remains to be seen to whom he will toss the ball. Xavier Legette is no longer with his former team; last season, he was responsible for more than a third of the receiving yards. Three of the top four receivers behind him are also in this position. Not too good for a starting quarterback making his debut. 14Under Sam Pittman, Arkansas appeared to be turning the corner a few years ago. After just four SEC victories in total over the previous two seasons, there are now some doubts regarding his employment situation. We’ll see if the recent, rather drastic changes Arkansas has experienced result in any kind of revitalization. After just one year, offensive coordinator Dan Enos was fired, and Bobby Petrino—a well-known figure—was brought in to take his place. With KJ Jefferson’s transfer, he will be working with a whole new quarterback. In Arkansas’ spring game, former Boise State starter Taylen Green had a strong showing. Ja’Quinden Jackson, the new running back, also did well. It will be a difficult road with that schedule, but can that duo propel Arkansas to a bowl game? 15 Jeff Lebby comes into an enviable position by inheritance. The program is still grieving over Mike Leach’s untimely and tragic death in many ways as the new head coach takes over. Constrained, Mississippi State named Zach Arnett, a former defensive coordinator, to take Leach’s position. Arnett didn’t even last a full 12 games. The offense of Mississippi State should be explosive in Year 1, given Lebby’s experience working under coaches like Josh Heupel and Lane Kiffin. However, for a coach as inexperienced as Lebby, expecting the Bulldogs to contend for bowl games at this early stage seems difficult. sixteen.

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