SEC’s Five Biggest Storylines Heading Into Week One: Trey’s Takes

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We have finally made it to Week 1 of the college football season. We won’t get all of our questions answered this week, we’ll certainly get a taste of the SEC. Georgia, Florida, LSU and Arkansas will play in premier games, while the rest of the conference prepares for a competitive September.

Will Oregon Give Georgia A Run In Atlanta? (Georgia -17.5)

Can the Bulldogs duplicate last season’s SEC success with Stetson Bennett leading the way at quarterback? One of the bigger questions in college football will be what this Kirby Smart defense looks like in 2022. The Oregon Ducks will head to Atlanta with former Bulldogs defensive coordinator Dan Lanning as head coach and former Auburn QB Bo Nix as the potential starting quarterback. Can Oregon beat the Bulldogs? Absolutely, but it won’t be easy, considering the game will also be played in Atlanta.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 10: Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs  (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

A high-profile game to start the season will show if Georgia resembles teams like Alabama and Clemson in defending a championship. Lanning will use his knowledge of Stetson Bennett to try and disrupt the offense, but it won’t be enough at the end. I still like the Bulldogs, but maybe not like Vegas does.

Burning Questions For Three SEC Teams Heading Into 2022

Will Utah walk into Gainesville and spoil Billy Napier’s first game at Florida? (Utah -2.5)

The obvious answer is yes, with Utah starting the season at No. 7 and bringing a veteran squad to welcome Billy Napier into Power-5 football. This is a massive game for the Gators, considering Kentucky heads to town the next week. The biggest question for Florida will center around QB Anthony Richardson and his ability to lead this football team. The Gators can hang with the Utes for four quarters, but being good enough to pull the upset is another discussion. How can you not root for a quarterback with the name Cameron Rising, as Utah fans will attest to.

Billy Napier, head football coach at Florida, and quarterback Anthony Richardso (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Utah returns 17 starters from the 2021 team that won the PAC-12 title. Having Kyle Wittingham lead the way gives the Utes an advantage. If the Utes are going to make a run to the playoffs, then beating Florida is a must. The unique environment will see over 6,000 Utah fans make the trip to Gainesville, which is one of those bucket list trips for fans out west. There’s something about this game though and my brain is telling me not to count out the Gators here, which I am going to stick with. Give me the Gators +2.5 points. 

LSU better not lose in New Orleans against Florida State. (LSU -3.5)

We will likely see two quarterbacks for the Tigers this season, with Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussimier taking snaps. How will this Brian Kelly offense look like against a mediocre Seminoles team? The Tigers should pound the football and catch the Noles sleeping through the air. Jordan Travis had a solid game at QB for FSU against Duquesne, though the competition was lacking, but taking snaps inside a hostile pro-LSU crowd at the Superdome on Saturday night will be much different. The defensive line is strong, the linebackers are fast and the Tigers should finally wakeup an offense that has been stagnant for over a year.

It might not look pretty, but this feels like another wakeup call is coming for Florida State fans. The Mike Norvell era has been bumpy and will continue to make folks wonder when the next move will be made. Give me LSU and the -3.5 points.

Arkansas will turn heads this weekend against Cincinnati (Arkansas-6.5)

It’s crazy to think Cincinnati hasn’t lost a non-bowl game since 2019, but that streak comes to an end in Fayetteville. This is not the same Luke Fickell team we’ve been enamored with over the past few years and the Razorbacks are looking to build off a successful 2021 season. Who doesn’t love K.J. Jefferson? The Arkansas quarterback has brought a new physicality to the position for head coach Sam Pittman and OC Kendal Briles. Having to replace Treylon Burks will be difficult, but the Razorbacks have enough talent at wide receiver to spread it around. Good luck to any Bearcat defender trying to bring down Jefferson, as many teams struggled with last season.

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OXFORD, MS – OCTOBER 9: Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Led by Bumper Pool, the Barry Odom defense will cause problems for Cincinnati, but putting them away will be a test. The Bearcats will hang around, but the Razorbacks will finish the job in the second half. I am ecstatic to see what this Arkansas team can do in 2022 and it starts with the first top-25 showdown in Fayetteville since 1980. I love the potential for Sam Pittman in 2022, enough to call them a threat in the SEC West.

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Can The New Starting Quarterbacks Deliver In Week One?

Everyone is enamored with the starting quarterbacks around the SEC, some will get fresh looks in new uniforms. Spencer Rattler at South Carolina, Haynes King at Texas A&M, Jaxson Dart or Luke Altmyer at Ole Miss are going to be thrust into the spotlight this weekend. One of the bigger storylines in these games should be how quick they can be replaced in the second half. All three of these teams need to have them out of the game by the middle-third quarter, giving them enough work to prepare for the rest of September. Also, keep an eye on Hendon Hooker and Tennessee on Thursday night.

Four days until kickoff in Knoxville and Columbia, while the rest of the conference waits for the weekend. We finally made it to week one.

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

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