“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is a Christmas song, but really, it should be about mid-March.

We’re only 2 days away from Selection Sunday. Conference champions will be decided on Saturday and Sunday (including at the SEC Tournament on Sunday). Bubbles will burst. Bids will be stolen. Brackets will be set.

Oh and my birthday is next week. What a great time to have been born!

If Mizzou could get me a win or 2 in the SEC Tournament and advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, I’d be a happy camper.

Anyway, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s Mailbag:


Which quarterback not likely to go in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft do you think will have the best NFL career?

I’ll include Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis as the first-round locks. I’ll also mention Hendon Hooker as a potential Round 1 sleeper, so those guys are off the board in terms of answering this question.

There’s a guy SEC fans might be familiar with by the name of Stetson Bennett IV that I think could have a solid NFL career ahead of him. He led Georgia to back-to-back national titles, making the plays that needed to be made along the way.

He is a sneaky good runner and plays with plenty of confidence. I don’t think he’ll be starting for a team in 2023 (or even in 2024), but if he gets a chance to play down the road sometime, I don’t want to be counted among those who continue to doubt Bennett.

Another name to keep an eye on is Fresno State QB Jake Haener. Fresno State produced David and Derek Carr (and also WR Davante Adams), so it is a solid football program. Haener could certainly be a late-round steal.


Did Dennis Gates get snubbed by not winning the SEC Coach of the Year award?

Let me start by saying that I think Gates has done an incredible job with the Tigers this year and deserves every ounce of credit that he gets. But Buzz Williams (Texas A&M) and Jerry Stackhouse (Vanderbilt) were named co-Coaches of the Year in the SEC, and I have no problem with that.

Stackhouse’s Commodores really came on strong since January. Williams led the Aggies to the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament bracket.

I guess I would take a bit of an issue with Stackhouse being the co-Coach of the Year alongside Williams instead of Gates, though. Vanderbilt was 19-17 last year. The Commodores were 18-13 entering the SEC Tournament.

Williams’ Aggies won 6 more SEC games in 2022-23 than they did in 2021-22 (9 to 15). Stackhouse’s Commodores only improved by 4 SEC wins (7 to 11). Gates led the Tigers to 11 more wins thus far (23 to 12) and increased the Tigers’ SEC victory total by 6 (5 to 11).

Gates and the Tigers also won head-to-head against Stackhouse’s Commodores. I would have either named Williams and Gates the co-Coaches of the Year or just given the award to Williams alone.


Now that Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and others have retired, who will be the next big-name men’s basketball coach to call it quits?

Here’s a (surely incomplete) list of big-name coaches who are getting up there in age:

  • Leonard Hamilton, Florida State (74)
  • Jim Larrañaga, Miami (73)
  • Rick Pitino, Iona (70)
  • Bob Huggins, West Virginia (69)
  • Rick Barnes, Tennessee (68)
  • Kelvin Sampson, Houston (67)

Many of those guys are still at the top of their game. Larrañaga led Miami to an ACC regular-season title this year. Sampson and his Houston Cougars are legitimate national title contenders. Barnes had Tennessee as high as No. 2 in the AP Poll this season.

Still, time comes for us all, so I could see any one of those coaches being the next big-name guy to call it quits. If I had to put money on it, I’d bet on either Hamilton or Pitino being the next to retire.


OK, last chance to ask this before Selection Sunday. How many SEC teams will make it to the NCAA Tournament?

This is tough, because my deadline is right before the start of the Auburn-Arkansas game. If Arkansas loses that game, I think the Hogs are out. Hogs win? They’re in (and the Tigers would likely be in, too).

The locks, in my opinion, are Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mizzou. I think Auburn’s win over Tennessee in the regular-season finale solidified the Tigers’ spot. Mississippi State’s win over Florida likely puts the Bulldogs into the field of 68, too.

That’s 7 SEC teams as of Thursday afternoon. I also think Arkansas can get in with 2 wins in the SEC Tournament and Vanderbilt can get in if it reaches the semifinals.

Do I think all 9 of those SEC teams will make the Big Dance? No. I’ll go with 7 as my official answer, but I wouldn’t be shocked if 8 got in. I just hope at least 4 SEC teams make it to the Sweet 16. That would be a big boost for the league!

Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at Adam.Spencer@XLMedia.com.