SDS Mailbag: Spring QB battles, SEC teams in NCAA Tournament and early Week 1 CFB hype
No one asked me for my Super Bowl pick this week (probably for the best, based on my recent gambling record), but I’m going to make it anyway.
I think former Mizzou star LB Nick Bolton and the Kansas City Chiefs will take down the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Arizona. Yes, QB Patrick Mahomes is dealing with an ankle injury, but that didn’t do much to slow him down against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.
Now he’s had 2 additional weeks to heal. He won’t be at 100%, and I’m sure the Eagles’ historically great pass rush will bring him down a couple of times, but I think the Chiefs get the job done and get Mahomes his second ring (and Bolton his first).
(Sidenote: I made my Super Bowl player over/under picks for Underdog Fantasy. It’s legal in a ton of SEC states where sports betting isn’t allowed. Might want to get in on the action and fade me!)
With that prediction made, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s Mailbag!
Several SEC teams have QB battles this spring. Which one are you most excited for?
Personally, I want to see if Sam Horn or newcomer Jake Garcia can push Brady Cook at Mizzou, but that’s probably a low-stakes battle in the overall SEC picture.
The real answer here is Alabama. I expect Carson Beck to run away with the Georgia job. That’s obviously not a guarantee, but that’s the way I’m leaning.
With Tommy Rees in as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, it’ll be interesting to see if Jalen Milroe or Ty Simpson wins the Crimson Tide QB1 position. Simpson would indicate a more pass-heavy offense. Milroe would indicate a potential return to a Jalen Hurts-style of offense.
After not making the College Football Playoff last season, the Tide need to get back to the field of 4 in 2023 to quiet naysayers. We’ll see who stands out this spring.
How many teams will the SEC get in March Madness this year?
Let’s start with the locks. At this point in the season, I would say that Alabama and Tennessee are the only 2 true locks from the SEC to make the NCAA Tournament on the men’s side.
I also think Kentucky, Mizzou, Auburn and Arkansas are in good shape to make the tournament. That leaves a few wildcard options. Texas A&M tops that list. I want the Aggies to get 1 more solid win and then I’ll move them into the “good shape” group.
The other teams are Mississippi State and Florida. The Gators have a high-level win over Tennessee, but at 13-11, they might need to win out and win a game or 2 in the SEC Tournament to make the field of 68.
A Feb. 22 home game vs. Kentucky is also a must-win for Todd Golden’s squad now.
For the Bulldogs, a nonconference win over Marquette looks better and better with each passing day. Wins over TCU and Mizzou are solid, too. The Bulldogs play at Arkansas on Saturday and host Kentucky on Wednesday. A win in 1 of those games would be huge for their NCAA Tournament résumé.
I’ll predict the SEC gets 7 teams in. The 6 teams I had in the first 2 groups and Texas A&M. We’ll see how Mississippi State and Florida play down the stretch, though!
I know it’s still a few months away, but what Week 1 SEC football matchup are you most eager to see?
There are a few intriguing games on the Week 1 slate, including South Carolina-North Carolina in Charlotte, LSU-Florida State in Orlando, Virginia-Tennessee in Nashville and Florida heading to Utah for a true road game.
I’ll go with Florida at Utah as the game I’m most excited for. The Gators handed the Utes an early blow to their College Football Playoff hopes in The Swamp last season. You know Kyle Whittingham and the Utes will be eager for some revenge.
Of all of the neutral-site games, LSU-Florida State in Orlando is a very important matchup. Florida State will be hyped up as a potential Playoff contender this coming season, but it’s LSU that had more success in 2022.
The Tigers lost to the Seminoles in dramatic fashion in Week 1 last season, but that was Brian Kelly’s first game as the LSU coach. Expect his team to be much more ready to play this time around in Week 1!
If Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were off the board and you were a QB-needy team, would you rather draft Will Levis or Anthony Richardson this year?
I’m going to hedge my bets a bit here and say that depends on how your team is structured. A team like the Baltimore Ravens, should they lose Lamar Jackson, would be a better fit for Richardson.
A team like the Indianapolis Colts would be a better fit for Levis. They have a decent offensive line, possession receivers and a strong running back in Jonathan Taylor. Levis fits that pro-style foundation better than Richardson, who would be a better fit in a more creative style.
Also, Richardson is the more unrefined product. He has a higher ceiling than Levis, but also a much lower floor. Sometimes risks like that pay off, but other times, they don’t.
If my team, the Green Bay Packers, was to decide to trade Aaron Rodgers and draft a quarterback, I’d rather go with Levis. But I wouldn’t be upset to get either Levis or Richardson in Green Bay!
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at Adam.Spencer@XLMedia.com.