2024 SEC Power Rankings: Georgia Leads a Conference With Five Potential Playoff Contestants

    Texas and Oklahoma will officially join the conference this season, but Georgia is still the team to beat in the 2024 SEC Power Rankings.

    With the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff debuting in 2024, the SEC could send as many as five programs to the dance. The additions of Texas and Oklahoma raise the floor, but Georgia still sits on the throne in the 2024 SEC Power Rankings. Where do the rest of the programs fall?

    2024 SEC Power Rankings

    16) Vanderbilt Commodores

    Vanderbilt is the perennial bottom-feeder in the SEC, and although I’m a huge fan of New Mexico State transfer Diego Pavia, the status quo isn’t changing in 2024. HC Clark Lea has gone 2-22 in the conference in his first three years, and if he doesn’t add to the win total this year, he won’t be around to see the unveiling of FirstBank Stadium’s renovations in 2025.

    15) Mississippi State Bulldogs

    Jeff Lebby is an offensive guru, but he’ll need time to implement a winning culture and sustained success. With Baylor QB Blake Shapen under center, the Bulldogs could launch some fireworks, but don’t expect much more in Year 1 under a new head coach.

    14) Arkansas Razorbacks

    Since reaching a 9-4 record in 2021, Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks have steadily declined. Another losing season in 2024 could mean a coaching vacancy in Fayetteville. Boise State’s Taylen Green and Utah’s Ja’Quinden Jackson are taking over for QB KJ Jefferson (UCF) and RB Raheim Sanders (South Carolina), which is a downgrade at both positions.

    MORE: 2024 SEC Player Rankings

    New OC Bobby Petrino will have his work cut out for him, but at least EDGEs Landon Jackson and Anton Juncaj and S Hudson Clarck can hold down the defense.

    13) Kentucky Wildcats

    With Barion Brown and Dane Key back, the Wildcats boast one of the fastest offenses in the nation. QB Brock Vandagriff, a high-profile transfer from Georiga, will need to get the ball to them, but he’s a relative unknown with limited on-field experience.

    Veteran-laden offensive and defensive lines buoy the roster, and DT Deone Walker, LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson, and CB Maxwell Hairston rank highly — if not lead — at their respective positions in the conference.

    12) Auburn Tigers

    Who can stop a receiving corps of KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Cam Coleman, Robert Lewis, and Sam Jackson V? Payton Thorne.

    There’s a reason Hugh Freeze has yet to announce a starting signal-caller. With a difference-maker under center, the Tigers would easily vie for a top-10 spot in the 2024 SEC Power Rankings due to their talent on both sides of the ball. But with Thorne at the helm, 6-7 may be their ceiling.

    11) South Carolina Gamecocks

    If the 2024 SEC Power Rankings were predicted solely on potential, South Carolina would be much higher.

    QB LaNorris Sellers completed all four of his passing attempts for 82 yards and two TDs while taking five carries for 51 yards and another score as a true freshman in 2023. At 6’3″ and 240 pounds, he has the size, athleticism, and arm strength to take the conference by storm — we just have to see it first.

    Having Rocket Sanders in the backfield should relieve pressure, and five-star WR Nyck Harbor is a generational size (6’5″, 242)/speed (10.12 100-meter) threat on the outside. If everything comes together offensively, the Gamecocks could play spoiler to some teams higher on the list.

    10) Florida Gators

    Listen, Graham Mertz is a good college passer, but his applauded 72.9% completion rate isn’t all that impressive when you realize he had the lowest average depth of target in the SEC.

    Head coach Billy Napier’s seat is warming up, and if Mertz isn’t getting the job done, expect to see five-star true freshman DJ Lagway at points this season. And with a schedule featuring Miami, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas, LSU, Ole Miss, and Florida State, the Gators could limp to a fourth straight season with six or fewer wins.

    9) Texas A&M Aggies

    There was a bit of a mass exodus out of College Station at the end of the 2023 season, but new head coach Mike Elko has replenished his talent pool via the portal, including potential future first-round pick Nic Scourton.

    Conner Weigman looked like a top SEC QB last year before an injury sidelined him. If he can remain healthy, there are more than enough playmakers on both sides of the ball to improve on 2023’s 7-6 record.

    8) Oklahoma Sooners

    In Year 2 of Brent Venables’ tenure, the Sooners improved by four victories. And while momentum could stall out a bit in Year 1 in the SEC, especially with turnover at QB and OC, those around the program believe Jackson Arnold is a future star, and new play-caller Seth Littrell knows a thing or two about generating offensive production.

    The unit has no shortage of versatile pass catchers in Purdue transfer Deion Burks, Nic Anderson, Andrel Anthony, Jalil Farooq, and Jayden Gibson. Yet, the real concern lies with an offensive line rife with turnover. If the unit melds together and is able to protect Arnold and pave lanes for Gavin Sawchuk and Sam Franklin, the Sooners will make noise early.

    Don’t forget about the defense anchored by LB Danny Stutsman and S Billy Bowman Jr.

    7) Tennessee Volunteers

    Those in Knoxville have seemingly named Nico Iamaleava the chosen one, and with Josh Heupel running the show, it’s hard to dispute them. There are solid starters at every position on offense, and the defense returns many of its first-teamers from 2023, including game-altering EDGE James Pearce Jr.

    MORE: SEC 2024 Strength of Schedule

    Tennessee went 9-4 with Joe Milton at the helm — if Iamaleava lives up to the hype, a 10+ campaign is well within reach.

    6) LSU Tigers

    Heisman-winning QB Jayden Daniels and WRs Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. left for the first round of the NFL Draft, and OC Mike Denbrock fled for a reunion in South Bend. But the Tigers’ cupboard isn’t bare. Garrett Nussmeier has some collegiate experience and one of the strongest arms in the game. Zavion Thomas (Mississippi State) and CJ Daniels (Liberty) transfer in to bolster the WR room.

    Meanwhile, HC Brian Kelly has filled the vacant OC position with in-house promotions for QBs coach Joe Sloan and WRs coach Cortez Hankton. As for the 81st-ranked scoring defense and 118th-ranked passing defense, former Missouri DC Blake Baker has the pieces to right the ship, primarily EDGE Bradyn Swinson, LB Harold Perkins Jr., and CB Sage Ryan.

    5) Missouri Tigers

    Missouri is fresh off their best season (11-2) in a decade, and they return most of their offensive production. Doak Walker finalist Cody Schrader’s departure hurts, but the Tigers nabbed App State’s Nate Noel and Georgia State’s Marcus Carroll to dampen the impact.

    The real star of the show is QB Brady Cook and the passing offense, as the top four WRs from last season return, including potential top-10 pick Luther Burden III. There are no major holes on the depth chart, but we’ll need to see how Eli Drinkwitz’s squad performs defensively with an entirely new secondary and DC Blake Baker gone.

    4) Alabama Crimson Tide

    Much of Alabama’s ranking rests in your belief in Kalen DeBoer. Filling a living legend’s shoes (Nick Saban) is no easy task and comes with unachievable expectations. Nonetheless, DeBoer knows how to coach, brought over much of his staff from the Huskies, and tasked former South Alabama HC Kane Wommack with calling the defense.

    Despite several players jumping ship, the Crimson Tide are not bereft of talent. Jalen Milroe is an athletic marvel and should take well to DeBoer’s QB whispers. Tyler Booker, Parker Brailsford, and Jaeden Roberts are arguably the best interior in the nation.

    Kendrick Law, Germie Bernard, and Kobe Prentice are talented if inexperienced WR corps. And there is a CVS receipt-sized list of defensive players to know, including transfers Keon Sabb (Michigan), Domani Jackson (USC), and LT Overton (Texas A&M).

    3) Ole Miss Rebels

    HC Lane Kiffin, QB Jaxson Dart, WRs Tre Harris and Jordan Watkins, TE Caden Prieskorn, EDGE Jared Ivey, and safeties Trey Washington and John Saunders Jr. all return in 2024, and expectations are through the roof. Not only do the Rebels have a strong foundation of homegrown talent, but they attacked the transfer portal better than most in the country.

    EDGE Princely Umanmielen (Florida), DT Walter Nolen (Texas A&M), CB Trey Amos (Alabama), WR Antwane Wells Jr. (South Carolina), OT Diego Pounds (UNC), Gs Julius Buelow and Nate Kalepo (Washington), and two standout RBs (Henry Parish Jr., Miami-FL and Rashod Amos, Miami-OH) highlight a massive transfer haul that Kiffin hopes pushes his team over the edge.

    2) Texas Longhorns

    Can Steve Sarkisian keep the ball rolling in the SEC after guiding the Longhorns to 12 wins and a CFP berth in 2023?

    Having Quinn Ewers back certainly helps, as does landing WR transfers Isaiah Bond (Alabama), Matthew Golden (Houston), and Silas Bolden (Oregon State). Plus, CJ Baxter, who was the starter before an injury knocked him out last year, will run behind one of the best offensive lines in the conference.

    UTSA EDGE Trey Moore and Clemson S Andrew Mukuba were brought in to enhance their units, and they’ll need to as Texas’ pass defense struggled last season.

    1) Georgia Bulldogs

    After finishing the 2023 campaign with a 13-1 record and missing the playoffs because of a loss in the SEC Championship Game to Alabama, which snapped a school-record 29-game winning streak, the Bulldogs will be seeing red in 2024.

    MORE: 2024 SEC Weekly Football Schedule 

    Carson Beck will conduct the offense once again, and he’s the favorite to hear his name called as the first QB off the board in the 2025 NFL Draft. Supporting talent is never a concern for Kirby Smart’s squad, and there’s a reason they’re the betting favorite to win the natty.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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