The beginning of a new college football season is always an exciting time, but it was a little anticlimactic for fans of the SEC. Why? Because, thanks to the pandemic, they had to wait a few weeks for their teams to take the field—which they finally did last weekend.
In many respects, it was glorious. With the toughest conference in college football taking the field, fans could rest assured there would be some good, quality games on. They knew they could see Alabama dominate someone, Mike Leach’s air raid offense, and the defending national champions.
As could be expected in season openers, everything did go over as expected. Some hiccups were expected, of course, due to coronavirus complications and restrictions. Then there was also the impact two new head coaches, Mississippi State’s Mike Leach and Ole Miss’s Lane Kiffin, would have.
Or whether they would have time to make the kind of impact they wanted.
Of course, after just one game, it is too soon to judge what any team will look like this season. Every team had growing pains in Week One and will get better as the season goes on. How much better remains to be seen.
But from what we have seen, it is worth reexamining the odds to win the SEC.
SEC Championship Odds: There’s Alabama… and Everyone Else
Coming into the season, Alabama (-143; odds via DraftKings) was the favorite—like they always are. Over the years, Nick Saban has proven that his team can reload no matter how many starters it loses on either side of the ball.
From what the team showed us against Missouri, this will be another banner year for the Crimson Tide. Mac Jones looked as good as he did last year, completing 18 of 24 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Najee Harris had a solid outing (98 yards, three touchdowns), and Jaylen Waddle caught eight passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Florida (+275) saw their odds move up after the offense’s dominant performance against Ole Miss. However, to beat Georgia and Alabama, the defense can’t give up 35 points as it did to the Rebels. But was that because the defense is not as good as it was last year?
Or does Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss offense deserve some credit?
Georgia’s odds dipped down to +500 from +300 after the lackluster showing by the offense against Arkansas. They will need to get the kinks worked out soon, though. If they make it past Auburn this week, they face Tennessee and then Alabama.
SEC Odds: A Different Type of Bulldog is with a Big Bite
After dismantling LSU, Mississippi State saw its odds take a giant leap going from +15000 to +1000. From how the offense played, it is not hard to understand why. Leach’s air raid offense’s real test will come in a few weeks when they face Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia over four weeks.
While Texas A&M managed to get a win against Vanderbilt, they did not look good doing it. Surprisingly, their odds did not move much (+1400 to +1800). But that will undoubtedly change after they face Alabama this week.
As for the rest, Tennessee (+2800) looked good against South Carolina. But they will have to play better when they face Georgia in a couple of weeks and then Alabama two weeks later. Auburn (+3300) had a good outing against Kentucky, but if they lose to Georgia this week, their odds will skyrocket. With the loss to Mississippi State, LSU (+4000) has made its one stumble with more challenging games to come.
Kentucky (+10000) and Ole Miss (+15000) proved that they would not roll over for anyone in their season openers. But the same cannot necessarily be said for South Carolina (+15000), Missouri (+20000), Vanderbilt (+30000), ad Arkansas (+50000).
As the season progresses, more teams will lose games, and the real contenders will emerge. But for now, with no one technically eliminated, there is only one question that needs to be asked. It is not about who will win the SEC, though.
No, it is one that every fan can appreciate: are you ready for some football? Because a whole lot is coming our way.