SEC Deja Vu?: Bama, LSU, Georgia at the top of College Football.
Is it the Late- 2000's all over again?
SEC dominance is coming back into College Football.
In 2014, we saw the end of an era. The Southeastern Conference had lost it's first National Championship in over 7 years. Teams like Florida, Auburn, LSU, and Alabama all winning and solidifying that the Southeastern Conference was king of college football. Yet, in the past three seasons, we have seen an SEC resurgence as far as being the most powerful conference in College Football. The 150th season is in Week 3 and we have seen that as of now the top 4 teams making the college playoff are Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and LSU, in that order. Alabama and Clemson have established themselves as the top two programs in the country. It would seem that they are set to meet again in the National Championship which will be played in New Orleans, Louisiana. However, there is always a chance that the two teams meeting in the National Championship could very well be in the Top 4.
Let’s start with the obvious. Alabama is by far the best as far as talent. Under the leadership of Nick Saban the Crimson Tide have eclipsed their conference and have played in the College Football playoff every year of it’s existence and to pick against them to win the National Championship would appear not entirely a safe bet since somehow even a mediocre Alabama team seems to be better than any team in the country. Alabama’s quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, a Heisman hopeful who first emerged in the Alabama-Georgia National Championship two years ago, has it seems, been getting better with each week that he has played under Saban. Along with Tugovailoa’s leadership, Alabama has a receiving core that rivals in some cases NFL teams as far as talent. Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy account for a huge chunk of Tugovailoa’s yards but they also are human highlight films in themselves and will without a doubt be playing on Sundays in the near future. Not to mention Alabama’s superb backfield lead by Najee Harris. The Tide are rolling again towards an undefeated conference campaign and the big test for them to become National Champion comes November 9th against LSU.
The Second SEC team to consider in this years chase for glory is the Georgia Bulldogs. The Dogs are by far a better team than anyone in the East and it looks to be a rematch with Alabama in Atlanta in December. However, Georgia’s got some work to do as their quest for glory takes a difficult test against Notre Dame this upcoming weekend. Despite this, Georgia’s coaching is something that many would say rivals that of Alabama. Kirby Smart, Nick Saban’s former defensive coordinator, has not proven that he can outwit his mentor but things may be different when the two meet again in the future as Alabama is set to place Georgia as a regular opponent in the near future. Under center, Jake Fromm has proved that he can “toss the rock” with the best of them but finishing the job in January is entirely up to him and no one else since the Dogs young team has yet to experience a National Championship situation. Froom being a veteran seems prepped to take history into his own hands. Not to mention he is also a Heisman hopeful. With all the attention on Alabama, I would not count Georgia out of the hunt for the National Title either. Georgia is a good team that seems to win quietly and without the press bugging them as much as Alabama or LSU. Look forward to big things from the Dogs who (in my opinion) have the easiest road back to the National Title of the three teams discussed.
Lastly, LSU. The Bayou Bengals have waited almost a decade since their last National Championship and appear to be hungry for this one. Growing up in South Louisiana, LSU is the talk of the town every fall. What is Coach O going to improve on? Can he beat Alabama? Is this the year? All these questions seem to come up the moment LSU’s season ends in disappointment as it has due to it's archrival in Tuscaloosa. However, of the three teams mentioned here, LSU is the only one so far that has played an opponent worthy of being in the conversation of National Champion. Texas has had a recent resurgence as a powerhouse and proved it on the national stage last season when beating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. However, Joe Burrows spectacular performance against Texas in Austin last weekend showed that Texas although in the conversation is not ready to make the jump to winning it all. Ed Orgeron appears to be on the hot-seat in many people’s mind and will hopefully not have the same fate as his predecessor, Les Miles. Alabama made quick work of Les Miles, LSU’s winningest coach, and prevented him from attaining many SEC titles in addition to National Championships. The Tigers will face Alabama and surprisingly have a chance against this team. Burrows has been consistent in the weeks that we have seen him and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Although, the season is still young and LSU has plenty of room to improve. Defensively, LSU is not the powerhouse that it once has been. Giving up 38 points to Texas was not something that is usual of LSU, known for its Defensive Backs. Of the three SEC teams, LSU appears to have the most to prove and taking down Alabama would be a significant step in proving that. The problem that faces LSU is that they haven’t beaten Alabama since 2011 and has been shut out three times in that span. Although, this may be the year, tune in to Bryant-Denny Stadium November 9th to find out.
Three SEC teams set up to establish glory each of them writing there own paths in history. A decade earlier, Florida, LSU, Alabama, and Auburn were the talk of discussion. Alabama being the only school to win more than one championship in the 7 year span of dominance. It would seem that fate would pit the Southeastern conference against each other for College Football’s biggest crown as 6 teams are ranked in the Top 25, the most since 2013. Could the next decade be another SEC trampling of opponents. Will Alabama remain at the top of the SEC? So many questions unanswered but one thing is for sure. For those of you out there experiencing SEC Football dominance nostalgia, you are not the only one.
© 2019 Ellis Distefano