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Texas Looms as Top Challenger to Georgia in Revamped SEC

After a team from the Southeastern Conference won the previous four national titles, there were no SEC teams in the national title game last season when Michigan topped Washington to win the championship.

With Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC and the College Football Playoff expanding from four to 12 teams, it is not a surprise that the sportsbook odds have the SEC at -150 to have the most teams in the College Football Playoff field. Seven of the 20 teams with the best odds of reaching the College Football Playoff hail from the SEC.

Texas Looms as Top Challenger to Georgia in Revamped SEC
Jaydon Blue and Xavier Worthy of the Texas Longhorns - Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The games involving SEC teams in Week 1 that jump off the page are Georgia being listed by the college football betting lines as a 13-point favorite versus Clemson, Texas A&M listed as a 1.5-point favorite against Notre Dame, Miami and Florida meeting for just the second time in the last 11 seasons and LSU facing USC.

Georgia leads the way among SEC schools at +330 in the odds of winning the national championship followed by Texas at +700. Alabama and LSU are both priced at +1400 in the championship odds with Ole Miss at +1500.



Georgia the Team to Beat

Georgia lost more talent to the NFL with tight end Brock Bowers and offensive lineman Amarius Mims being selected in the first round and receiver Ladd McConkey and defensive back Kamari Lassiter going in the top half of the second round. Led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy co-favorite Carson Beck, Georgia is the team to be beat not only in the SEC but in the race for the national title.

Georgia’s bid to win three consecutive national titles ended when the Bulldogs failed to receive one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff field after falling to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia has the shortest odds to win the program’s third national championship in the last four seasons.

Georgia is at -110 to go over 10½ regular-season wins and -120 to finish with 10 wins or less.


Welcome to the SEC, Texas

Texas is coming off a run to the national semifinals and, like Georgia, returns its starting quarterback.

The Las Vegas odds have Texas QB Quinn Ewers tied with Georgia’s Beck at +800 in the Heisman Trophy odds even though the highly touted Arch Manning is waiting in the wings.

Texas is priced at +250 to win the SEC title in its debut season in the best conference in college football.

According to the 247sports.com database, Texas is fifth in the ranking of the best class of transfers. However, three of the teams ahead of them are from the SEC.

UTSA edge rusher Trey Moore is the top incoming transfer.



With Saban Gone, a New Era in Tuscaloosa

It’s been a while since Alabama has been outside the top three – or outside the top two for that matter – in the odds of winning the SEC title.

Times are changing with legendary coach Nick Saban retiring and that resulted in an exodus of players transferring out of Alabama. It also resulted in the NCAAF odds trending in the wrong direction for the Crimson Tide.

Four of the top 20 outgoing transfers left Alabama with defensive back Caleb Downs and quarterback Julian Sayin both landing at Ohio State, receiver Isaiah Bond going to Texas and cornerback Dezz Ricks transferring to Texas A&M.

Kalen DeBoer, fresh off leading Washington to the national title game, takes over at Alabama and he does have plenty of talent to work with.

There is some risk involved in going with Alabama at +900 to win the SEC even if the Crimson Tide brings back quarterback Jalen Milroe, the highest finisher in the 2023 Heisman Trophy voting among returning players.

Alabama has +120 odds to top 9½ wins during the regular season.


Ole Miss Among Four Teams Flying Under the Radar

Ole Miss (+650 to win the SEC), LSU (+950), Tennessee (+1000) and Missouri (+2000) don’t plan on allowing Georgia, Texas and Alabama to have all the fun.

Ole Miss still has quarterback Jaxson Dart, although the transfer of stud running back Quinshon Judkins to Ohio State does hurt. Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is no stranger to working the transfer portal and the Rebels have the top-rated transfer class in the country.

This is a key year at LSU for Brian Kelly, who has yet to overwhelm after leaving Notre Dame to head to Baton Rouge. Replacing Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels will be no easy task while receiver Malik Nabers joined Daniels as a top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Based on Kelly’s track record coaching in high-profile games, tread carefully when it comes to going with LSU to win the SEC.

Missouri could be a sneaky dark-horse pick as the Tigers could be undefeated going into the late-October matchup with Alabama.

The jury is still out on Tennessee after the Volunteers were 0-3 against ranked teams last season.


Ready to Take the Next Step?

Texas A&M had some talented recruiting classes but it didn’t translate to on-the-field success. That cost Jimbo Fisher his job with Mike Elko taking over. Texas A&M opens the season against Notre Dame and kicks off conference play versus Florida in Week 3, so it shouldn’t take long to figure out if those who rolled with the Aggies at +2000 to win the SEC made the right call.

Oklahoma (+3500) looks to make some noise in its first season in the SEC. The first SEC game comes against Tennessee on Sept. 21 so it will be put up or shut up time for the talented Sooners.

Auburn lost its last three games in 2023 and went 0-4 against ranked teams so tread carefully when considering the +5000 odds



Questions Of The Day

Who has the best odds among SEC players to win the Heisman Trophy?

Quarterbacks Carson Beck of Georgia and Quinn Ewers of Texas are the current favorites at +800 in the Heisman Trophy odds. After finishing in the top 10 in the 2023 Heisman voting, Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe is tied for fourth at +1400 in the Heisman Trophy odds.

When is the first game between SEC teams in the 2024 college football season?

South Carolina and Kentucky will meet on Sept. 7 in Lexington, Ky. There will be three SEC games the following week.

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