10 debates SEC fans are having right now
Even aside from who is really No. 1, which is something of an anti-climax this year, SEC fans love to argue. Don’t take our word, just ask a few a question and we’ll come back next week to confirm the conclusion. This season might not have been the most competitive year in the league — certainly not at the top — but it’s been a great one to raise debate topics. Here are 10 debates SEC fans are having right now, and where we weigh in.
1) Who’s the best running back in the SEC? You used to hear names like Chubb and Fournette, but so far this season, it’s hard to argue against Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway. His 1,106 rushing yards doesn’t just lead the league, it’s a long lap ahead of the competition. Of course, Alabama might have something to say before Pettway’s coronation — and don’t forget surprise backs like Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams III, Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams or Kentucky’s Benny Snell.
2) Does the league have a second playoff team? The answer is probably not. A&M wasted a great chance by falling to Mississippi State. LSU lost its chance early, as did Auburn. Gus’ Bus could still make things interesting with a win over Alabama, but that aside, the chances are slim and none, and slim is leaving town.
3) Who is the league’s most disappointing team? Probably Ole Miss, although Tennessee is another bad loss from the thick of the conversation, and a 5-4 Georgia team is very underwhelming.
4) Who is the league’s surprise team? A&M had this locked up, but then blew it with the loss to Mississippi State. Kentucky could get in this conversation if it wins two of its final three games. And Auburn locks up the comeback award if it wins in the Iron Bowl.
5) Which coach will be the next to go? This is a tough one. Many of the underwhelming SEC coaches (Kirby Smart and Barry Odom spring to mind) are first-year guys who aren’t going anywhere. Hugh Freeze is one bad NCAA report away from the road, and he might get it. But if not, this one is wide open. Butch Jones’ job looked super-safe, but if he loses to Kentucky on Saturday, that could change. Mark Stoops’ job looked anything but safe in September, but that changed, too.
6) Should we change the SEC Championship game setup? No, although it is a popular idea. The East is bad this year, maybe historically bad. But I remember the late ’90s, when national title contenders Florida and Tennessee ruled the SEC, and a solid Georgia team could have run away with the West, but instead was doomed to third (or worse) in the East. These things go in cycles, and the next one probably starts whenever Nick Saban retires. Calm down.
7) Who is the most underrated player in the league? Vandy’s Zach Cunningham is an excellent pick, as he leads the SEC in tackles by a relative mile, and would be an absolute wrecking crew if surrounded by even average talent. The Commodores’ Ralph Webb is another good candidate, as he’ll set the school rushing record in his third year, despite playing with a terrible Vandy offense.
8) Who is the SEC’s MVP this year? It’s Jalen Hurts, and it might not be close. Hurts won’t win the Heisman this year, and probably won’t even go to New York. But it’s because his stats don’t match the reality of his maturity and leadership within the Alabama offense. Saban loves playing a true freshman QB probably as much as he loves press conferences, but Hurts has been golden this year.
9) Who had the most devastating injury in the league? Trevor Knight at A&M is a candidate, but Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been a devastating loss to Tennessee. Of course, so has Cam Sutton. And Alvin Kamara. And half of their offensive and defensive lines. Just give Tennessee a game ball and a crutch. They deserve both, honestly.
10) Will we see an early signing period? The last week of college football recruiting is generally insane, and it would help the big boys to be able to nail down the top recruits earlier, so don’t be shocked if it eventually happens. Would it change things? Probably not, although it might make teams be a little more aggressive in evaluation, so as to avoid missing out on under-the-radar stars. But here’s one pick that says by next season, it’ll either be in place or coming soon.