Should Greg Sankey Just Send the SEC Trophy to Tuscaloosa Now?
After a convincing 41-24 win over the Georgia Bulldogs, it’s highly possible that the Crimson Tide’s most difficult matchups of this 10-game SEC-only gauntlet, are already in the rearview. However, as many SEC football fans have already discovered in the 2020 season, there is a reason the games still have to be played out. — Anything can happen in college football.
What’s in Alabama’s path to the SEC throne?
Alabama @ Tennessee — October 24
Jeremy Pruitt and the Tennessee Volunteers took a brutal loss at home to the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats, by a score of 34-7. While the SEC still has six games on their schedule, it’s difficult to find where Tennessee could put up enough points to overpower Alabama. Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee’s starting QB, has been sacked on 11 occasions, yet has only reached the end zone four times in 2020.
Fun Fact: Tennessee hasn’t beaten Alabama since their matchup in 2006. (But, hey, streaks can’t last forever)
Mississippi State vs Alabama — October 31
The inaugural season for Mike Leach’s patented “Air Raid” offense has seen quite a rocky start for the Bulldogs in Starkville. Other than knocking off the reigning National Champions in week 1, Mississippi State has yet to secure another win on the season. With an offense that only has 114 rushing yards for the season and averages 18.5 points per game, it’d be a tall task to match up with one of the best offenses in the country, over in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama @ LSU — November 14
2020 has been pretty bleak for the defending National Champs in Baton Rouge. In fact, LSU is the first team in over two decades (Michigan, 1998) to win a National Championship and, subsequently, lose the opening game of their following season. Now, to be fair, the Bayou Bengals have already had a game postponed due to a COVID-19 spread in the locker room, so they don’t quite have the same sample size as the other contenders. Nonetheless, allowing 494.7 yards on defense per game while only averaging 467.3 on the offensive side of the ball is never a good sign.
Kentucky vs Alabama — November 21
Starting off 0-2, the Wildcats’ season may not have begun on the right note, but after winning their last two in a row, they could be heading in the right direction. Arguably, their week four domination on the road could be the brightest part of their season to this point. When unranked Kentucky completely blanked No. 18 Tennessee in Knoxville, they set a standard for themselves for the rest of the season. If not for a Week 2 overtime loss, the Wildcats could be 3-1 and battling for first place in the SEC East.
Auburn vs Alabama — November 28
Like most seasons, Gus Malzahn finds himself on the hot seat again. After starting off the season with a win, the Auburn Tigers got manhandled by Georgia (26-7) and just barely got past Arkansas by a field goal in a night game at home. For the benefit of the doubt, it’s important to note that their program lost some key defensive players in the 2020 NFL Draft; however, there is no excuse for the lackluster performance on the offensive side of the line of scrimmage.
No matter what, It’s the Iron Bowl, every single matchup between Alabama and Auburn could potentially be a toss-up.
Alabama @ Arkansas — December 5
The Razorbacks are actually having a year to remember for themselves. For starters, prior to the 2020 season, the Arkansas Razorbacks hadn’t won an SEC game since October of 2017 (Ole Miss, 38-37). In just four games, the Razorbacks have managed to win two of their SEC matchups and were less than a field goal away from stealing a road win against No. 13 Auburn. This program has definitely got itself steered in the right direction with what they’ve done in 2020. A few more seasons like this, however, could land the Razorbacks in a spot to really consistently compete in the SEC again.
Who makes it out of the SEC East?
Easy Answer: Whoever makes it out of that week six Georgia @ Florida game alive.
If offensive talent is going to be kryptonite for Georgia (like it was against Alabama), it would be a fairly large task to undertake for the Bulldogs. In 2020, Florida’s offense is averaging just over 42 points per game and the Gators’ only loss on the season results from a Texas A&M game-winning field goal in College Station, TX.
Ultimately, the SEC Championship trophy may need to stay with the commissioner for just a few more weeks. As the only undefeated team left in the SEC, the crown is Alabama’s to lose; But, we should expect to hear from either Florida or Georgia about that take, before the season ends.
For more content from J.R. and all the talented interns at Tide 100.9, make sure to tune-in for Tide Tonight - Monday and Wednesday 6:00-7:00 pm and Thursday 6:00-6:30 pm. You can hear all of our radio content on the new Tide 100.9 app!