Prove It To Me
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
It is that time of the year that is dreaded and that is the official ending of football season.
Football, the greatest game on the planet, is in hibernation until August. However, it is never too early to discuss SEC football in the South. Here is a look at my top five teams in the SEC with the most to prove in 2022:
1: Texas A&M: All the talent money can buy. They need a good season this year, and need to prove they can win.
Can Jimbo get it done in College Station? Yes, they beat Alabama last season, but they found a way to lose 4 football games.
The Aggies must find a QB that can lead this team to the SEC title game. The new NIL landscape favors the Aggies, who have very deep pockets. If this team can’t win 10-11 games this fall, then the heat starts mounting on Jimbo Fisher.
2: LSU: When you think LSU, you think contenders.
LSU will have a new coach, and will have to prove they are making progress.
I think Brian Kelly is a pretty good hire. Talent is never an issue in Baton Rouge, but right now the QB position is a big question mark. If the Tigers can figure that out quickly, they could be factor in the West.
3: Tennessee: The Vols have not been relevant since 2007, when they last won the SEC East.
Tennessee has not won a national title since 1998.
Skill position talent is much improved, but Tennessee does not have the offensive or defensive line talent to be a serious SEC contender yet.
Tennessee has lost 15 straight to Alabama and is 1-16 against Florida in the last 17 years.
Since Philip Fulmer was forced out in 2008 the Vols have whiffed on 4 straight head football coaches. Josh Heupel hopes to reverse that trend.
Tennessee went 7-6 in 2021. In the last five years Tennessee is a combined 0-15 against Alabama, Florida and Georgia, which are the 3 biggest games on the Vol schedule. Tennessee needs to beat one of those three teams in 2022.
4: Florida: Florida also has a new head coach.
They must prove they can compete in the SEC East. The East is way better when Florida can challenge UGA for that top spot.
Billy Napier was a great hire for UF. There is talent on the roster, but it is undisciplined talent. If Napier can change that culture in Gainesville and recruit then Florida will be back soon.
If Florida can win 8-9 games in 2022 then things should take off quickly in Gainesville.
Since Steve Spurrier retired Florida has missed on 4 of its last 5 football coaches. Only Urban Meyer has had consistent success since 2001.
Florida has not won an SEC or National Title since 2008. Too much talent in the State of Florida for the flagship university not to be a national player and to top it off you just lost to UCF in a bowl game.
5 Ole Miss: Ole Miss surprised a lot of people last season by being a top 10 team. Was it a fluke? They must prove they can maintain solid seasons with Lane for years to come.
I don’t think 2021 was a fluke for Ole Miss. If Matt Corral can be replaced then I think this team will finish right behind Alabama, and Alabama does come to Oxford in 2022.
The defense is improving, and we know a Lane Kiffin offense will produce. I think this will be the surprise team in the SEC next year. I believe Ole Miss is here to stay and 2022 will prove that.
I did not mention Auburn because Bryan Harsin is dead man walking on The Plains of Auburn. Of course, it has all been self-induced by Auburn, who set this man up for failure.