Alabama Football: Buying the hype or not across the SEC

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Alabama football

TUSCALOOSA, AL – NOVEMBER 24: Raekwon Davis #99 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during the game against the Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

A stronger Alabama football program in 2019 is not hype. The same can’t be said of some other SEC schools who will struggle to match expectations.

In a summer, before a new college football season, optimism abounds. Most every fan of every school sees a positive scenario unfolding that will culminate in their team surpassing last season’s record. Much later, reality will haunt the dreams of many fans. What follows is an attempt to predict the probable ‘risers’ and ‘fallers’ in the SEC during 2019.

This is no ‘the sky is falling’ in the SEC argument. Alabama football will come back with renewed resolve to seek redemption from last season’s national championship failure. The Crimson Tide will be better than it was last season.

Other SEC football programs will also be improved in 2019. A couple might show as much improvement as the Alabama Crimson Tide. Others will be better but still not championship contenders. More than a couple may show little improvement. And others will slide down.

Most interesting to Alabama football fans and others will be the programs who may not measure up in 2019. In our estimation, the SEC has four such teams and three of them are considered top tier SEC football programs.

Before discussing the four, we offer a quick review of the other nine SEC teams.

Striving but with little or no upward movement

There will be no agreement with our assessment in Oxford or Fayetteville. In Nashville, few will notice or deeply care.

It is hard to see much progress occurring with Ole Miss, Arkansas and Vanderbilt. Matt Luke is the most imperiled coach in the SEC. Pardon our bad pun but he appears ‘freezed’ in mediocrity in northern Mississippi. The Rebels will limp into the season on a five-game losing streak. Six wins in 2019 looks like the ceiling.

Vanderbilt has been riding on the backs of a downtrodden Tennessee program. That ride is probably over and more than four wins is a likely struggle for the Dores. Arkansas can be better with players better suited to the Chad Morris system. Relying on youth and still needing more talent will leave the Hogs down again.

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