The Alabama Crimson Tide are significant favorites to win the SEC in 2017 and isn’t difficult to see why. Nick Saban is the best coach in the conference and, in short, his team is deepest and most talented by a significant margin. In fact, the Tide are seen as better than 50 percent to win the conference according to posted odds across the land and that, given the strength of the SEC, speaks for itself.
However, Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports doesn’t see it that way. The analyst released his game-by-game predictions on Twitter this week and that foreshadowed a bold decision in print to pick the Georgia Bulldogs to win the SEC East with an 11-1 record, and then the entire conference with a win in the SEC Championship Game.
This all hinges on coach Kirby Smart becoming more comfortable with what’s asked of head coaches in major college football because, aside from that, Georgia is as set roster-wise as anybody in the SEC. With 10 starters returning defensively, the offense shouldn’t be asked to do too much against an SEC East that, at least among primary contenders, is a bit offensively-challenged at the moment. Does Georgia have offensive questions? Sure … but they’re a big overstated.
All it takes is a little offensive diversity to take pressure off quarterback Jacob Eason and running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. A one-loss Georgia team will top a one-loss Auburn team in the SEC Championship Game and make the College Football Playoff.
It might be even bolder to predict Auburn to top Alabama in the SEC West, as Sallee references with the inclusion of the one-loss Tigers in the title game against Georgia. More than anything, this smells like an attempt to fade the public (and the consensus) in avoiding Alabama and the Bulldogs have always been quite talented.
Still, the decision to go bold with this pick won’t go over well everywhere and it seems more likely than not that Sallee won’t be right on this one.