Since he arrived in Tuscaloosa seven years ago, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has completely turned the program around with two national titles, three out of the six three Southeastern Conference championships, and a revolving door of blue-chip recruits eager to make a name for themselves with the Crimson Tide.
Today, odds makers project the Tide will continue to dominate the SEC and contend for the national title at 5/2 odds. According to OddsShark.com, Alabama is favored to claim the SEC outright and the West division followed by arch in-state rivals Auburn at 7/2, and Georgia slotted to take the weaker East and meet the Tide in the conference title game at 11/2.
Saban does have to account for a lot of player turnover, especially on offense, but the job is made much easier by his excellent recruiting. After going 12-2 last season and making an appearance in the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinals, Alabama brings back only two starters from an offense that was third in the SEC with 37.1 points per game.
Saban must account for the loss of quarterback Blake Sims, as well as running back T.J. Yeldon, and All-American wide receiver Amari Cooper. His No. 2 ranked recruiting class should go a long way. According to Rivals, freshman running back Damien Harris and wide receiver Calvin Ridley are two of the five-star recruits Saban secured and both should compete for playing time this season.
The Tide are also in the middle of a contentious battle for the role of starting quarterback. Florida State transfer and senior Jake Coker and junior Alec Morris are the upperclassmen who could bank on their overall experience, while sophomore Cooper Bateman and freshman Blake Barnett and David Cornell all have the raw talent to start.
The Tigers and head coach Gus Malzahn didn’t have nearly as much turnover on offense, with six players returning, but must plug in a new starting quarterback, running back, and No. 1 wide receiver. Jeremy Johnson is expected to take over under center, but running back remains an intense competition between sophomores Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber, and junior Jovon Robinson.
Transitioning to the East division, Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt is projected to finish well above the competition with Tennesee their closest competition at 9/1 odds. But like Saban, Richt has a difficult decision to make at quarterback between Faton Bauta, Brice Ramsey, and transfer Greyson Lambert.
Whoever runs the offense gets to play in front of running back Nick Chubb, the heir to former Bulldog Todd Gurley. Chubb’s already in the Heisman conversation after blasting off 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns over 13 games last season.
The full list of SEC futures is below.
Odds to Win SEC
Ole Miss 8/1
Mississippi State 20/1
Texas A&M 20/1
South Carolina 28/1