It will come as little surprise to college football fans that the reigning national champs are favored to win the Southeastern Conference in 2018.
According to college football insider Brett McMurphy, the SEC preseason media poll has the Alabama Crimson Tide entering next season as the front-runners to win the conference. While the Crimson Tide got the nod in the West, the Georgia Bulldogs were the pick in the East.
Both teams made it to the College Football Playoff National Championship a season ago—an overtime instant classic—but as McMurphy noted, the media has correctly predicted the conference champion just six times in 26 years.
Alabama started the season 11-0 and won its fifth championship under Nick Saban, but it's easy to forget the Crimson Tide did not win the SEC—or even their own division. The Auburn Tigers rode their late-season momentum to upset the Crimson Tide to put their CFP hopes in jeopardy.
But the committee felt Saban's squad was one of the best four teams in the country, and the ensuing games would validate that belief.
Alabama entered the offseason with a quarterback battle after freshman Tua Tagovailoa led his team to a championship after relieving incumbent starter Jalen Hurts at halftime of the title game. And now, it's unclear if Hurts will even be on the roster.
Meanwhile, Georgia has one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Jake Fromm. He had his Bulldogs on the verge of a national title as a freshman, and although he broke his non-throwing hand this summer, he enters his sophomore campaign as a Heisman Trophy contender. His backup just happens to be the No. 1 recruit in the country, Justin Fields.
Last year, Georgia ran away with its division, clinching the SEC East title by the first weekend of November. The Bulldogs wound up winning the division by two games over South Carolina, and no other team in the East finished with a conference record above .500. Alabama had control of the West all season until the final week of the regular season, as Auburn sneaked into the SEC championship game. Not to be forgotten, the LSU Tigers finished one game back.
It appears Alabama and Georgia are on a collision course to meet in Atlanta in December, but there's a reason they play the games on the field and not on paper.