In any sport, when a dynasty takes a hit, there are always a few teams ready to swoop in and make their own mark on the league.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have dominated college football and the Southeastern Conference during head coach Nick Saban’s tenure. However, after Alabama saw 10 players get picked in the 2021 NFL Draft, teams are looking to take advantage of the turnover for the Crimson Tide.
Vegas has taken note of Alabama’s key departures as well, as the Crimson Tide are only +120 favorites to win the SEC in 2021 on WynnBET. While they may still be the leader in the clubhouse, there are still a few teams that could take the crown this coming season.
Let’s break down three underdogs that could have a chance to beat the odds and overtake Bama in the SEC in 2021:
1. Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia was given the second-best odds to win the SEC by WynnBET at +325. The Bulldogs finished the 2020 season 8-2 and came in at No. 7 in the final AP poll.
Georgia will return quarterback JT Daniels who started the final four games for the Bulldogs. It also returns quarterback Stetson Bennett who began the season as the team’s starter. Daniels threw for 10 scores and just two picks while completing 67.2 percent of his passes over the team’s final four games.
Georgia also returns its leading rushing, Zamir White, and one of its leading receivers in Kearis Jackson. However, it did lose wideout George Pickens to a torn ACL, and he will likely miss the 2021 season. Georgia allowed the second-fewest yards in the SEC last season on defense and could make some noise if it duplicates that performance in 2021.
2. Texas A&M Aggies
Since head coach Jimbo Fisher took over in 2018, the Aggies have gone 26-10 including a 9-1 season in 2020. Texas A&M has the third-best odds to win the SEC on WynnBET, as it comes in at +750.
The Aggies have a major hole to fill, as quarterback Kellen Mond was taken by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the Aggies had the top defense in the SEC last season and allowed just 225.3 passing yards per game. If Fisher can develop one of his young quarterbacks, the Aggies could push for the SEC's top spot.
3. LSU Tigers
An expected down year in 2020 came for the Tigers after they won the national championship with quarterback Joe Burrow in 2019. However, head coach Ed Orgeron’s squad has the third-best odds on WynnBET (+1100) to win the SEC in 2021.
The Tigers biggest concern also comes at the quarterback position, as three different players, TJ Finley, Myles Brennan and Max Johnson, had time at the position last season. Finley has entered the transfer portal after throwing five interceptions and just five touchdowns in 2020. Brennan and Johnson still remain, but Johnson, who ended the season as the starter, looks to have the inside track to the job.
Johnson threw for eight scores and just one pick in 2020 and is only a sophomore. Brennan, a redshirt senior, could look to transfer if he doesn’t win the job, but that would also mean LSU would find a clear starter in Johnson.
LSU will have to improve on defense (it allowed 492.1 yards per game in 2020), but expect Orgeron to try and turn things around fast and get his team back to a national title contender.