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2023 SEC Football Conference Preview

Kirby Smart

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Brett Davis)

SEC Conference Preview
(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Brett Davis)

2023 SEC Football Conference Preview

Vendetta Sports Media will be bringing you conference previews this season, and we start with the kings of college football: the SEC. The SEC has had their way, winning six of the last eight national championships, and 14 since 2000. On top of the SEC are the Georgia Bulldogs, who are looking for the first three-peat since Minnesota back in 1934-1936. Head Coach Kirby Smart always has his guys ready every Saturday, and often turns out NFL-ready prospects as we see on a year-by-year basis. Our SEC conference football preview has a lot to get into.

On paper, completing the three-peat should be viewed as a daunting task. However, the Bulldogs have maybe four tough games on their schedule as the rest is a cakewalk. The SEC East is very down this year, with Tennessee being their only competition for another SEC Championship berth. The tricky part is that the SEC West is better than years past and will stand to upset the Bulldogs. In this article, I will be going over both divisions within the SEC by ranking the teams in order of how I believe they will finish the year.

SEC East

  • 1. Georgia
  • 2. Tennessee
  • 3. South Carolina
  • 4. Kentucky
  • 5. Florida
  • 6. Missouri
  • 7. Vanderbilt

As I mentioned above, the only real trouble game for the Georgia Bulldogs this year is a November matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers. Potential first-round pick Joe Milton will look to keep this high-powered offense from last year going.

For Tennessee, I believe they could surprise some people this year. I wrote a bold predictions article for the 2023 season where I mentioned that the Volunteers could upset the Bulldogs and win the SEC East and play for a conference title. What could hold this team back from doing so is if they take a big-time jump on the defensive side of the ball. If they get major production from Tyler Baron and Wesley Walker, they might be able to pull it off.

South Carolina has a lot of potential on both sides of the ball, but their offensive line has quite a few holes in it that I don’t believe they can fill this season. The schedule makers also did not do them any favors as they have three road games against top-25 schools. I have them over Kentucky based on if they can escape the start of the year with two wins, which could do wonders for their confidence down the stretch.

I think Kentucky did a wonderful job in the transfer portal this off-season, landing some interior offensive line help, a home run-hitting running back, and depth in the secondary. If Liam Coen can get Devin Leary going, Kentucky could be tougher out than some are expecting this season. A sneaky team in this SEC conference preview.

Florida should be another team that is a tough out but might not be competing for a bowl game. It really depends on how you view Graham Mertz. I am not high on him, so I can’t put them any higher in my SEC Conference preview. He has big shoes to fill in the departing Anthony Richardson but with improvements to the defense who knows what could happen.

Could Missouri ruin a team’s season in 2023? The Tigers’ defense flew under the radar last year and was quietly one of the best in the conference, and with them returning eight starters from a year ago they should only get better. Issues with the starting Quarterback spot make it hard to really believe in this team, but they could be a bettor’s dream.

Vanderbilt isn’t a team you can walk all over in 2023 like in years past, but they are still a few years away from being very competitive. While I do believe they are trending in the right direction, they simply can’t recruit with these bigger schools. If they want to push for a bowl game, they have to rack up their wins before mid-October before they go up against Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Ole Miss. Trey does have Vandy at over 3.5 wins in his hot takes article, and I would agree.

SEC West

  • 1. LSU
  • 2. Alabama
  • 3. Texas A&M
  • 4. Ole Miss
  • 5. Arkansas
  • 6. Auburn
  • 7. Mississippi State

No, you did read that right–I am eating the Brian Kelly cheese. I have the West winner in my SEC Conference preview as the LSU Tigers. I do understand that under Nick Saban, the Alabama Crimson Tide has not missed back-to-back SEC Championships. All good things come to an end eventually. The LSU offensive line will be fantastic this year, which should give Jayden Daniels all the time he wants. They also have two defensive stallions in Maason Smith and Harold Perkins Jr. who will make life miserable for the opposing offensive coordinators.

I don’t want this to come off as me thinking the Alabama dynasty is over and Saban is going to ride off into the sunset. I just have some major concerns about the Quarterback situation in Tuscaloosa, and with a new offensive coordinator, this could go south very quickly. I also don’t love the receiving options, but it’s Alabama so they should be more than talented enough to make up for any woes at the Quarterback spot.

One year removed from one of the best signing classes in college football history, Texas A&M will look to put that talent to good use in 2023. Even with a number of those signings transferred out, they kept a huge number. The offense will look to make a major jump this season with the additions of Bobby Petrino and Jim Chaney. Kyle Field is always a difficult place to play, but if the Aggies are good this year, it could become a house of horrors for opposing teams.

I’m also eating the cheese on Ole Miss this year. This one could come back to bite me, as they very well could be an 8-5 team again as they were last year. But with this defense returning 10 starters from a year ago and having one of the best running backs in the conference in Quinshon Judkins and former UTSA standout Zakhari Jenkins could power this offense to be a quality squad in 2023. This is probably the biggest bold prediction of my SEC Conference preview.

My apologies to our own Jackson Law, as his Arkansas Razorbacks aren’t getting a ton of love from this writer in my SEC Conference preview. KJ Jefferson is a solid college Quarterback and the Hogs have made vast improvements to their front seven, they will look to make some noise. If they were in the SEC East, they would be higher up the rankings.

I like the Hugh Freeze hiring, I do. He should bring energy to this team in ways they didn’t have before. But none of the Quarterbacks in contention to start warrant any reason for excitement or optimism this year. The Tigers did make sweeping changes to their offensive line and tweaks to a defense that can only be described as above-average at best.

Will Rodgers can only do so much. I think what hurts this team for my SEC Conference preview is that they are going away from the Mike Leech Air-Raid style offense which should be completely different. Their secondary also has a ton of question marks, as most of that unit is entirely brand new to this team. Maybe they can start to rebuild what they want this offense to look like, but they won’t be terribly competitive in 2023.

This has been our 2023 SEC Conference preview! Did I rate your team too low? Think there is a team being overhyped? Let me know in the comments below, and keep an eye out for more conference previews coming!


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