SDS Mailbag: Top QB transfers, 2022 Power 5 conference champs and SEC hoops bubble talk
There’s normally a bit of a lull in the college football world after the national championship game and ahead of February’s National Signing Day. Usually, attention turns toward the NFL playoffs for these few weeks.
However, this year, the transfer portal has been out of control. There are NFL Draft declarations, players looking for new schools, coaches and coordinators moving around, and more. Much like the NFL, college football seems to be trending toward being a year-round news cycle.
The good news? That gives us plenty to talk about in the Mailbag! Here are your questions for this week:
Caleb Williams and JT Daniels are 2 of the best QBs remaining in the portal as of this week. If you were a Power 5 coach, who would be your top choice?
That’s a good question, and since it’s a transfer portal question at this point in the offseason, my answer would depend on who your offensive coordinator is and what sort of other personnel you have.
It’s too late to build too much around a quarterback, so you need a guy for the personnel you have. If you have a strong offensive line and solid running game, you’d want to take a good look at Daniels. He’s a pure pocket passer with an explosive arm, but he’s not going to improvise much or do anything as a runner.
But, if you have a ton of athletes on offense and just need a playmaker to run the show, Williams is the answer. Wherever he ends up, he’s going to be a popular preseason Heisman Trophy pick. He can run, throw, extend plays with his legs, anything you need a QB to do. But, he’s also probably going to make a few more mistakes than Daniels.
In a vacuum, you’re taking Williams as your QB, based on his upside alone. But, college football isn’t played in a vacuum, so if you’re set up for a pro-style offense, Daniels is the guy you’d go with. It’ll certainly be interesting to see where they both end up!
Last week, you predicted Alabama would win the national title in 2022. Who do you think will win every Power 5 championship?
Considering Georgia just won the national title without winning the SEC title, it is possible to make the Playoff without a conference championship (especially if you’re an SEC team). That said, here are the teams I think will win their Power 5 leagues next fall:
- ACC: Clemson – When in doubt, pick the Tigers. No one really scares me in the ACC next year. NC State should be decent. Keep an eye on Pitt, Miami and Wake Forest, too. But, if it really is a crapshoot year in the ACC, I’ll go with the team that has won the title more often than not the past few years.
- Big Ten: Ohio State – CJ Stroud is back. Jaxon Smith Njigba is back. This is a hungry, motivated Buckeye team after losing to rival Michigan and missing out on the B1G Championship Game last year.
- Big 12: Texas – I’ll stop short of saying Texas is a Playoff contender, but I like what the Longhorns have done this offseason, bringing in Ohio State transfer QB Quinn Ewers, WR Isaiah Neyor from Wyoming and TE Jahleel Billingsley from Alabama, among others. This should be a fun squad under Steve Sarkisian.
- Pac-12: USC – Lincoln Riley has made a heck of an impact already in Los Angeles. He’s bringing in lots of talent and could still add former Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams to the mix before all is said and done. I think Oregon and Utah both take steps back, so let’s say the Trojans sneak into the title game and win the Pac-12 this year.
- SEC: Alabama – I picked the Tide to win the national championship, so I’m going to ride with them here, too. I think 2022 could be an undefeated year for Nick Saban’s squad. I want to see them bring in an impact transfer at receiver, one in the secondary and perhaps an offensive lineman, too, but the future is bright in Tuscaloosa.
There you have it. I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong by at least one of these wacky conferences, but we shall see!
As things stand entering this weekend, how many SEC men’s teams do you have making the NCAA Tournament?
Let’s start with the locks. Right now, I have Auburn and Kentucky as the 2 squads that are solidly in the field of 68. Auburn is in the mix for the No. 1 overall seed, too. Kentucky is currently a 3-seed, in my opinion. That could all change Saturday at Auburn, though.
Meanwhile, I currently have LSU, Alabama and Tennessee all solidly in the tournament mix based on the strength of their resumes. That makes 5 SEC teams I think would be in the tournament comfortably if it started today.
Then, there are the bubble squads – Mississippi State, Florida, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Mississippi State lost at Florida on Wednesday. Arkansas beat South Carolina on Tuesday and Texas A&M lost a hard-fought game against Kentucky on Wednesday night.
I think a minimum of 2 of those teams get into the field of 68, with the potential for 3 to make it. I don’t think all 4 will be part of March Madness. My guess, as of right now, is that Florida and Arkansas make it and Texas A&M is either the last team in or the first team out.
That makes 7, potentially 8, SEC teams in the NCAA Tournament field. What a year that would be for the SEC!
At the LSU game on Saturday, a fan hit a half-court shot to win free Whataburger for a year. If you could hit a shot to win a free year of any fast-food restaurant, which would you pick?
Great question. I would bet a lot of people around the South would say Chick-fil-A or Raising Cane’s. Those are both great options, but Whataburger is tempting, too.
I would honestly go with McDonald’s. I love McDonald’s. Big Macs, McDoubles with Big Mac sauce, McNuggets, McChickens, Filets-o-Fish, those incredible fries – you can’t go wrong.
It would be dangerous if I had access to free McDonald’s for a year. I don’t think my heart would be able to handle that much grease. But, what a way to go! Give me McDonald’s all day if I make my halfcourt shot, please!
Also, I saw a guy win a year’s supply of bacon for making a long putt on the court at the Texas A&M-Mizzou game. That sounds pretty awesome, too!
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.