Who is Alabama's biggest threat in the SEC?
Welcome to a yearly tradition: who is the Alabama Crimson Tide's biggest threat to winning the SEC? We're only one week into the SEC season, and it's time to overreact and predict which team will give the Tide the most trouble. Alabama got off to a strong start against Missouri on Saturday with a 38-19 win (most of the Tigers points came in garbage time), which isn't surprising. But elsewhere around the conference we saw some interesting results. The answer to this question might not be as clear as you think. We'll take a look at each game and the teams that participated (so Missouri's out for obvious reasons).
Auburn 29 Kentucky 17
Of course, we start with the rival. The Tigers used multiple Terry Wilson turnovers to overwhelm Kentucky on Saturday, and they appear to be the biggest threat in the SEC West. Bo Nix showed his new and improved passing by throwing for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, it helps when you throw to an NFL talent like Seth Williams, who hauled in two incredible touchdowns.
Auburn: top competitor in the West
Kentucky: turnovers are a bigger concern than competing with the Tide.
Georgia 37 Arkansas 10
Arkansas, believe it or not, held a 7-5 lead at halftime over the Dogs. Something clearly got into Georgia, most likely an earful of Kirby Smart, and they pulled away from there. Georgia must figure out who their quarterback will be going forward, but the defense appeared up for the task. Arkansas got a reminder that even with their talent offensively, they're still a long ways away from being a contender.
Georgia: They have to go through Auburn and Tennessee first, which will give us our answer on if they can compete with the Tide. Then they get Bama.
Arkansas: Maybe for like a quarter. 10 points in a game won't beat, well, anyone in the SEC.
Florida 51 Ole Miss 35
Kyle Trask emerged as a Heisman contender, and the Gators showed they can score points in a hurry. Trask threw for over 400 yards and six touchdowns, with 170 yards and four scores going to tight end Kyle Trask, and his development is a huge factor going forward. Their defense got an early reminder that it's tough to keep up with their own offense's pace, but also learned how good Lane Kiffin's offense will be. Ole Miss produced 615 total yards offensively, including 227 by receiver Elijah Moore.
Florida: If Trask is legit and this wasn't a fluke, the Gators can hang.
Ole Miss: The Rebels have beaten the Tide with similar talent, so they have a chance in one game, but maybe not overthrowing them in the West.
Mississippi State 44 LSU 34
Honestly, I'm not surprised that LSU lost. Did I predict it? No, but I knew they wouldn't be even close to as good as they were last year. Mike Leach and KJ Costello torched the Tigers defense for 623 yards passing in Death Valley. No need for a running when you're throwing the ball that efficiently.
Mississippi State: It's Mike Leach. Anything's possible.
LSU: Ed Orgeron has a lot of work to do, but this isn't a bad team by any means. They're just not a contender this year.
Texas A&M 17 Vanderbilt 12
An ugly game is never what you want, especially when you're facing Vanderbilt. The Aggies couldn't ever pull away from the Commodores, but held on for a win aided by a penalty against head coach Derek Mason. Kellen Mond needed to find new playmakers at wide receiver, and it showed. He threw for just 189 yards Saturday, and Texas A&M couldn't get the ball moving consistently enough.
Texas A&M: Losing three starting receivers hurts the offense's ability to compete against a high powered unit, but the defense could be great. Jimbo has to be a little worried.
Vanderbilt: Derek Mason's coaching for his job, not to beat Bama.
Tennessee 31 South Carolina 27
A game winning punt ended the game in Tennessee's favor, and that's a little momentum they needed to get 2020 started. For the Gamecocks, there's plenty of reasons to be excited with how Shi Smith and Colin Hill connected, but the mental mistakes killed them. Tennessee's looking to contend in the conference, but they almost didn't come away with a win. It's a long season, so there's time to improve.
Tennessee: It's unlikely the Vols can beat Bama, but there's a reason they're a dark horse team.
South Carolina: They'll need more than Smith to move the ball, and at times he was they're only explosive player.
Alabama's Top Competition
3. Mississippi State