2023 College Football predictions: Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss will upstage Nick Saban, Alabama in SEC West

In my eyes, the SEC East is already locked up.

Pencil in Georgia for the SEC Championship sport.

Nevertheless, the SEC West is way from a foregone conclusion. Alabama is the favourite within the betting markets, however the Crimson Tide is weaker than ever and that opens up worth on different groups. 

Alabama brings within the nation’s high recruiting class, however the Tide has nearly zero expertise on the roster, together with a mean quarterback room. Nick Saban additionally misplaced each his coordinators and made two underwhelming hires to switch them. 

So, with that in thoughts, I’ve two groups I’m betting on to win the SEC West: 

Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide could have his work reduce out for him in 2023.
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Brian Kelly already dethroned Nick Saban within the division final season, upsetting the Tide as two-touchdown house underdogs late within the season and sneaking into the SEC Championship Sport. 

The Tigers ought to be higher in Kelly’s second season, they usually convey again as a lot expertise as any group within the nation. The Tigers return 15 starters, together with 4 offensive linemen, 5 working backs and three of final season’s high 4 tacklers. 

The Tigers return Jayden Daniels to quarterback the offense and Harold Perkins to quarterback the protection, and people two have superstar-level ceilings. 

Whereas the Tigers had been a tad fortunate final season, I can solely anticipate them to enhance with a lot returning manufacturing. Plus, the schedule could be simpler than final season. 

LSU tasks as a favourite in 11 video games and attracts Missouri and Florida from the East. 

Clearly, the sport at Alabama in Week 10 will determine if this ticket cashes, however I’m bullish on the Tigers and bearish on the Tide, so I’m keen to take that threat on the 2/1 worth.

On the minimal, that matchup might function a hedge spot. 

Tavion Faulk #12 of the LSU Tigers
Tavion Faulk (#12) of the LSU Tigers.
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Mississippi (25/1, BetMGM)

Lane Kiffin is an offensive mastermind, and this offense has an opportunity to be actually particular. 

The quarterback room is loaded with expertise. Even when Jaxson Dart doesn’t take the subsequent step as beginning quarterback, you’ll be able to be ok with falling again on both Oklahoma State switch Spencer Sanders or LSU switch Walker Howard.

The offensive line returns 87 p.c of snaps from final season and contains greater than 130 profession FBS begins. This is without doubt one of the high traces in college football.

The road will likely be blocking for working again Quinshon Judkins, one among faculty soccer’s most elusive working backs. He generated 76 missed tackles and 27 runs of 15 yards or extra. 

In whole, 9 starters return for the Rebels, they usually introduced in a number of impression transfers, together with three receivers to make up for dropping their high two go catchers from final season. 

In the meantime, the Rebels stole defensive coordinator Pete Golding from Alabama, representing the most effective coordinator hires within the nation.

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Whereas Ole Miss centered on stopping explosive performs final season whereas getting gutted in the midst of the sphere, will probably be extra aggressive this yr and play extra 3-4 scheme. I anticipate an enormous increase from this unit after it was one of many SEC’s worst in 2022. 

The schedule is brutal, however there’s an excessive amount of worth at 25/1 when contemplating Kiffin’s offense and Golding’s protection. 

The Rebels might want to steal a highway sport from Alabama or Georgia to win the SEC West, however this group is proficient sufficient. Kiffin is 12-8 in opposition to the unfold as a highway underdog in his profession. 

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