- Surprise, surprise: Alabama is the team to beat in the SEC West
- Alabama Crimson Tide (-425 to win the division)
- Texas A&M Aggies (+550 to win the division)
- Arkansas (+1400 to win the division)
- Ole Miss (+1400 to win the division)
- Louisiana State Tigers (+3300 to win the division)
- Mississippi State
- Auburn (+8000 to win the division)
Surprise, Surprise: Alabama is The Team to Beat in the SEC West
Sure, the Crimson Tide had two receivers, an offensive lineman, and a defensive lineman taken within the first 50 picks of the 2022 NFL Draft; however, with Nick Saban annually bringing in one of the best-recruiting classes in the country, there shouldn’t be too much of a drop-off even with the loss of some key players.
Texas A&M stunned Alabama but lost two of its final three games to finish tied for third in the SEC West Division standings. It was Ole Miss that proved to be the top competition for the Crimson Tide in the division.
There are some high-profile transfers joining SEC West teams and with four of the top 20 recruiting classes being from this division, the talent pool is staggering.
The SEC West has been in the headlines due to the war of words between Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher, the Texas A&M coach. The trouble started when Saban said that Fisher and his coaching staff used the money available through the Name and Image Likeness to buy the recruiting class that is rated as the best in the nation. If the game between Alabama and Texas A&M gets as heated, it will be one of the games of the year, especially after the Aggies stunned Alabama in a thriller last season.
Alabama (+200) has the top odds to win the national championship. Texas A&M is well backed at +2500.
Here’s a look at the current odds in the SEC West Division
Alabama Crimson Tide (-425 to win the division)
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young is back and that alone makes Alabama’s offense something to behold. Not only could Young be the best offensive player in the country but linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (the national leader with 17 1/2 sacks) might be the top performer on the defensive side of the ball. It is no wonder that the SEC West Division odds overwhelmingly favor the Crimson Tide.
Former LSU cornerback Eli Ricks, Georgia Tech’s leading rusher Jahmyr Gibbs, receivers Tyler Harrell, and Jermaine Burton from Louisville – and Georgia, as well as Vanderbilt offensive lineman have joined the Alabama program. Ricks was one of the top-rated defensive backs in his recruiting class while Gibbs is showing up on lists of Heisman Trophy candidates.
Tight end Jahleel Billingsley, receivers Agiye Hall, and Javon Baker, as well as linebackers Shane Lee, and Drew Sanders are among the Crimson Tide players to transfer.
How good is Alabama? The odds of the Crimson Tide finishing under the 10 1/2 expected win total is +190.
Texas A&M Aggies (+550 to win the division)
In the last three years, Texas A&M has signed recruiting classes ranked sixth, eighth, and first according to the 247sports.com database. It is time for all that talent to translate into a team that will do better than a .500 finish in the division standings. The SEC West Division odds have Texas A&M as the biggest threat to Alabama.
With Isaiah Spiller now in the NFL, Devon Achane could have a year to remember as the No. 1 running back. It doesn’t hurt that he is one of the fastest players in college football. Receiver Ainas Smith is another playmaker to keep an eye on.
Former LSU quarterback Max Johnson, and Liberty defensive lineman Micaiah Overton have joined the Aggies.
Starting quarterback Zach Calzada, receivers Demond Demas, and Caleb Chapman, and offensive lineman Derick Hunter lead the list of players who have headed to other programs.
The expected win total of 8 1/2 according to the NCAA betting odds seems a little on the low side.
Arkansas (+1400 to win the division)
If not for Alabama’s Young, K.J. Jefferson could very well be the SEC quarterback getting all the hype in the preseason. Jefferson threw for 21 touchdowns with only four interceptions as a sophomore. He was also the Razorbacks leading rusher. Most of the starting offensive line will also be returning. Leading tackler Bumper Pool leads the list of returning players on defense.
Oklahoma receiver Jason Haselwood, LSU defensive lineman Landon Jackson, cornerback Dwight McGlothern, Alabama linebacker Drew Sanders, Georgia Latavious Brini, Akron receiver Matt Landers, and Georgia Tech defensive lineman Jordan Domineck all transferred to Arkansas.
The Razorbacks secondary took a hit with the departures of cornerbacks Greg Brooks, Devin Bush, and safety Joe Foucha.
Ole Miss (+1400 to win the division)
Ole Miss had the second-highest-rated class of transfers and the newcomers will impact pretty much every position group.
With Matt Corral now in the NFL, former USC quarterback Jaxson Dart is set to run the offense for the Rebels. Tight end Michael Trig, also from USC, joined Dart at Ole Miss. They will be joined by TCU’s top rusher Zach Evans, Louisville’s second-leading receiver Jordan Watkins, Mississippi State receiver Malik Heath, UCF receiver Jaylon Robinson, SMU running back Ulysses Bentley, Western Kentucky offensive lineman Mason Brooks, and Auburn tight end JJ Pegues as the offense will have talented newcomers to build around.
Auburn safety Ladarius Tennison, Georgia Tech defensive lineman Jared Ivey, Central Michigan linebacker Troy Brown, Vanderbilt safety Dashaun Jenkins, and Iowa State safety Isheem Young are among the defensive players transferring in. They will join Otis Reese and A.J. Finley, who had 91 and 90 tackles for Ole Miss a season ago.
Linebacker Mohamed Sanogo, receiver Jordan Jernigan, running back Henry Parrish, and quarterback John Rhys Plumlee
Louisiana State Tigers (+3300 to win the division)
LSU is only three years removed from winning a national championship. The bottom fell out rather quickly leading to the departure of Ed Orgeron and the arrival of former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. It is uncertain how long it will take Kelly but he has won everywhere he has been.
Kelly was active on the transfer portal.
Former Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels moved across the country. He will be joined by defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo (Missouri), receiver Kyren Lacy (Louisiana), running back Noah Cain (Penn State), cornerbacks Jarrick Bernard (Oklahoma State), Greg Brooks (Arkansas), and Sevyn Banks (Ohio State), safeties Joe Foucha (Arkansas), and Mekhi Williams-Garner (Louisiana), linebackers Kolbe Fields (South Carolina) and West Weeks (Virginia), offensive linemen Miles Frazier (FIU), and Tre’Mond Shorts (East Tennessee).
Quarterback Max Johnson, cornerbacks Eli Ricks, and Dwight McGlothern, defensive end Landon Jackson, receivers Devonta Lee, Deion Smith, and Trey Palmer, running back Corey Kiner, and linebacker Josh White lead the list of players leaving the program.
Mississippi State (+5000 to win the division)
Will Rogers is back to air it out in Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense. Roger’s threw for 4739 yards and 36 touchdowns during the 2021 season.
Mississippi State used the transfer portal to upgrade the receiver position with the additions of Jordan Mosley (Northwestern), and Justin Robinson (Georgia). Cornerbacks Marcus Banks (Alabama), Jackie Matthews (West Virginia), Hunter Washington (Florida State), as well as Middle Tennessee offensive lineman Steven Losoya are other players transferring in.
More than 20 players have transferred out of Starkville including linebacker Aaron Brule, receivers Theodore Knox, Quinton Torbor, Jacobi Moore, and Malik Heath.
Auburn (+8000 to win the division)
The big news was quarterback Bo Nix transferring to Oregon. The Tigers did get defensive lineman Jayson Jones, and cornerback DJ James to come to the SEC from Oregon while former Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada could take over for Nix.
Iowa State safety Craig McDonald, Miami receiver Dazalin Worsham, and North Carolina linebacker Eugene Asante also transferred to Auburn.
The Tigers also lost defensive linemen Lee Hunter, Tashawn Manning, and Dre Butler, running back Shaun Shivers, cornerbacks Eric Reed, and Ro Torrence, safety Ladarius Tennison, quarterback Dematrius Davis, receivers Kobe Hudson and Ja’Varrius Johnson, tight end J.J. Pegues, safety Ahmari Harvey, and linebacker Romello Height.Follow us on Twitter