Despite Alabama’s lopsided loss against Clemson in the national championship, the SEC remains in a strong position entering the 2019 season.
ESPN has released its Way-Too-Early Top 25, and five of the top 10 teams hail from the SEC, including the top two in recent years: Alabama and Georgia. Florida, Texas A&M and LSU round out the SEC’s members in the top 10.
The Crimson Tide return 17 starters from the one-loss team.
Along with the return of Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and WR Justyn Ross returning, plenty of other key players across the SEC, perhaps most notably Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. Georgia and QB Jake Fromm will be at the helm for the third straight year, but for the first time won’t have Justin Fields looking over his shoulder.
Georgia plays only four true road games in 2019 and hosts Notre Dame on Sept. 21 and Texas A&M on Nov. 23.
At the bottom of the top 10, writer Mark Schlabach asks if Florida coach Dan Mullen can get even more out of QB Feleipe Franks. “How much will a second season under Mullen help him?”
Similar to Florida, the high ranking of Texas A&M suggests that Jimbo Fisher is also ahead of schedule. Schlabach points out that the Aggies won nine games for the first time since 2013, defeated NC State 52-13 in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl and signed the No. 3 recruiting class in the early signing period.
LSU, meanwhile, has a highly ranked offensive guard and running back, Kardell Thomas and John Emery, in its recruiting class following a 10-win season.
Missouri at No. 22 and Auburn at No. 23 also made appearances in the early ranking.