22 Jun SEC Teams Offering Intrigue in 2020
Welcome to part two of XTB’s breakdown of the SEC. Check out part one prior to reading on.
The SEC teams below offer intrigue with good contingency plans at quarterback, that also return experienced head coaches. Let’s get started.
Dan Mullen boasts two consecutive 10 wins seasons at Florida as well as two New Year’s Six bowl victories, yet there are still mixed reviews on his tenure. Many fans have questioned Florida’s inability to compete with the other SEC blue bloods on the recruiting trail as Mullen has only signed one 5 star prospect in three years.
While Mullen has not had the most stellar recruiting record he has leveraged that via the transfer portal. Mullen has gotten key contributions from transfers Van Jefferson, Jon Greenard, and Trevon Grimes. With recent additions of linebacker Brenton Cox, running back Lorenzo Lingard, and Wide receiver Justin Shorter the Gators we’re able to land a trio of former five star prospects at key positions of need for the future. Regardless of stars, Mullen has been able to elevate the play of the gators roster tremendously but he has yet to conquer the elephant in the room or the dog for that matter.
Mullen is winless versus Nick Saban dating back to his Mississippi State tenure, and has yet to beat Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart as the Gators head coach. Expectations are high for this season but they should be tempered. Kyle Trask could be facing a sophomore slump after key departures in Lamical Perine, Tyrie Cleveland, Freddie Swain, Jefferson, and Josh Hammond.
Trask shattered expectations in his first starting season since high school but still remains a project at the QB position. Trask will be the entrenched starter but by no means is the job untouchable. Inexperienced Emory Jones presents a multi-dimensional threat at QB while Trask is the typical pocket passer. Barring something unforeseen Florida’s success will be determined by Trask’s ability to be the offensive leader expected out of the quarterback position.
With Jimbo Fisher now in year three of his ten-year contract, the Texas A&M Aggies are in prime position to make a run in the SEC West for several reasons. The return of senior quarterback Kellen Mond gives them an edge in experience over the teams that bested them in the division last year. Mac Jones will be entering his first season as the starter as will Myles Brennan of LSU, while Auburn’s Bo Nix remains a mixed bag after winning SEC freshman of the year.
Fisher has an edge because the team is battle-tested. The Aggie’s played a grueling schedule, going 0-5 against teams that finished in the top 15 last season. As Iron sharpens iron this team has battled the best and shown vast improvement because of it. While there is no such thing as a good loss that 0-5 group returns its leading rusher and receiver in Isaiah Spiller and Jhamon Ausbon. The Aggies return several talented players on defense and will need big contributions from players such as Elijah Blades, Clifford Chattman, and Anthony Hines III to unseat our next team.
Typically when Auburn beats Alabama it results in a title run. Unfortunately, the Tigers experienced a few stumbles as Nix has progressed as their quarterback. Head coach Gus Malzahn has managed to put together several talented rosters but has yet to contend for a national championship since the days of Nick Marshall.
The addition of former Arkansas head coach Chad Morris as offensive coordinator could mean offensive spikes. The last time Morris was an OC, the Clemson Tigers became the first ACC team to average 40+ points per game in consecutive seasons. He also oversaw SMU’s turnaround as their head coach from 2014-17.
Auburn possesses one of the more explosive receiver groups in the country and should look to capitalize on that this season with improvement from Bo Nix. Auburn lost several players from that elite defensive unit and will need to rely more on its offense to win games this time around.
Each of these teams is relying on a big jump from its quarterback this year and for good reason. Trask and Mond have a smaller window of opportunity than Nix but they are passers who have a willingness to attack coverage with reckless abandon sprinkled on top. Nix remains in good hands with creative minds like Malzahn and Morris and with their tutelage could achieve success like his father, former 11-0 Auburn QB Patrick Nix.
Up next are the true contenders or the favorites to win the SEC next year: Georgia and Alabama.