Devy Conference Review: SEC

Rob Willette

Despite failing to produce a national champion for the first time since 2018, it was still a great year for the nation’s most decorated conference. Alabama made the playoff and pushed Michigan to the brink after starting the year looking like a second-tier team. Georgia only lost one game – to the Tide in the SEC championship – and would have made the four-team playoff in a year where there were not so many legitimate candidates. Mizzou had a breakthrough season under Eli Drinkwitz and Ole Miss followed up an 11-win season by going scorched earth on the transfer portal.

Of course, the seismic shift in the league happened in January when Nick Saban opted to retire. While Alabama is a no doubt blue blood who is not going anywhere, Saban elevated them to a level this sport has seldom seen. You cannot just plug anyone into the head job and expect them to perform like Saban. The man is a legend.

As usual, the SEC is loaded with talent and the additions of Texas and Oklahoma only add to the riches. They enter 2024 with the presumptive favorite in Georgia and at least a half dozen other programs that could make the playoff if things break right. Some of the 2023 storylines are outlined below.

What Went Right

Carson Beck’s First Year Starting

While Stetson Bennett was not a Heisman-worthy quarterback, he was a steady presence under center for Georgia. He could be relied upon to make the right play and he distributed the ball to playmakers efficiently. Georgia’s biggest question was how much of a drop-off they would experience going to Beck, he of only 58 career passing attempts heading into the season.

The answer? Not much, if at all. Beck paced the SEC with 3,941 passing yards and averaged 9.5 yards per attempt, routinely carving up defenses despite missing top weapon Brock Bowers for much of the year. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, he is much different physically than Bennett, and a far superior prospect. He looks ready to develop into a first-round passer.

Mizzou’s Breakout


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