It may not have ended with a national championship, but 2021 did end the way a lot of years have ended since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, with the Alabama Crimson Tide hoisting the SEC Championship trophy in Atlanta. Looking into 2022 as we begin fall camp around the country, not many teams stand a chance of halting Alabama’s charge to another conference title.
However, that doesn’t mean all eight conference foes on the Crimson Tide’s schedule won’t give it their best shot. Here are the three SEC teams that seem the likeliest to give Alabama a fight for the SEC title.
3. Ole Miss Rebels
Hear me out. Ole Miss is probably a school you’d never have imagined as a legitimate threat to Alabama, and most years you’re absolutely right. However, Ole Miss has a couple benefits in its corner. The first is an incredibly easy start to the season. By incredibly easy I mean that Ole Miss has a legitimate shot at starting the year 9-0. The hardest game in that stretch for the Rebels is away at Texas A&M, which while difficult, is still a legitimate possibility of a win.
This gives Lane Kiffin and company time to figure out which of their two sophomores, Luke Altmyer and transfer Jaxson Dart, will lead the Rebels at quarterback. It also helps that they have a bye week immediately before the Alabama game, which is at home in front of what’s sure to be a sold out Vaught Hemingway Stadium.
The second is the wave of transfers Kiffin has welcomed to Oxford, most notably the two running backs, Zach Evans from TCU and Ulysses Bentley IV from SMU. Both of them should make Ole Miss one of the most formidable teams in the country on the ground, just as they were in 2021 with the now departed Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner. This is the kind of season that could make Ole Miss into a program to be reckoned with in the future, and Lane Kiffin will certainly be hoping that’s the case.