On the SEC:
- I predicted Alabama would have some drop-off on defense last year; statistically they were fine, but they clearly struggled to reload at middle linebacker. By the end of the regular season they looked as vulnerable as they've ever looked during the Saban era. They ended up being fine in the playoffs, but I think there's cause for concern again this year. They lose 3 of the their top 5 linebackers, and its top 6(!) players in the secondary. Saban's scheme depends on having corners hold up in press coverage on the outside, safeties taking away RPOs, and middle linebackers cleaning up runs that get funneled to them. Even with how well Alabama recruits, they will be asking a lot of some really green players. Of course, if Tua Tagavailoa is truly as good as he appeared to be in the national championship game, then Alabama's offense will p be good enough to carry the team. The rest of their offense is loaded, and if Saban has found his first truly elite quarterback then this offense will be unfair. But then again I thought Saban would unleash Jalen Hurts last year, but it appears Saban didn't feel comfortable making his quarterback the focal point, and it's not sure thing that he'll open up the offense for Tua. Moreover, Tua's championship game performance may well be a mirage that only occurred because Georgia wasn't prepared for him - Garrett Gilbert serves as a cautionary tale. Overall, Alabama is always a safe bet, but perhaps not as much so as in previous years.