We have approached the midseason portion of the 2022 college football season. As for the SEC West division, the group remains one of the most competitive divisions in college football. Some teams in the division have played up to their preseason hype, while others have started their year on a rough note. Today, we provide a midseason grade along with a few takeaways for all seven teams that are members of the SEC West division.
Midseason Grade: A-
Takeaways: Despite losing to the Tennessee Vols in Week 7, the Alabama Crimson Tide still has a chance to win the SEC and compete for a national title. However, the 2022 version of Alabama is different from previous years. The team does not have elite talent at skill positions such as wide receiver that they have had in other seasons. Also, the defense has allowed numerous big plays throughout the year despite having personnel projected to be first-round picks in next year’s NFL Draft. Despite the circumstances the team is currently dealing with, Alabama remains a lock to advance to the SEC championship game.
Midseason Grade: D
Takeaways: Having the funds available to have a large NIL budget does not mean it will translate to success on the football field. It’s almost similar to having a team with large amounts of cap space in the National Football League. An organization may have money to acquire the best players in the game, but it will not mean anything if they are not soundly coached on how to win. After so much preseason hype, the Aggies are off to another disappointing season. They were involved in one of the biggest upsets of the year when they were defeated by Appalachian State 17-14.
A&M would recover the following week when they defeated the Miami Hurricanes 17-9, but two weeks after the victory, the Aggies were on the receiving end of a 42-24 beatdown by Mississippi State. Despite the effort, the team fell short of defeating Alabama for the second consecutive year. A&M’s shortcomings are a prime example of why coaching matters in football.
Midseason Grade: B-
Takeaways: Before the season kicked off, many believed the LSU Tigers 2022 campaign would be a roller coaster. Based on the optics, that’s what the year is turning out to be for the Bayou Bengals. Their production on the field has not looked good in certain games, but new head coach Brian Kelly has done a phenomenal job with the current roster. Despite the ups and downs, LSU has signature wins against teams such as Mississippi State, Auburn, and Florida.
Midseason Grade: B+
Takeaways: We are in the third year of the Mike Leach era for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The roster is loaded with veteran talent, and the air raid system is fully effective. Quarterback Will Rogers is currently ranked third in the nation with 2,324 passing yards, third in TD passes (23), and only four interceptions. He recently broke the SEC record for completions that Aaron Murray previously held. If the Bulldogs competed for a national title in the future, many outside factors would have to be considered. But history has shown us that Leach’s best teams usually win 10 to 11 games to finish the year. His 2022 Bulldogs team looks like it’s headed in that direction.
Midseason Grade: B
Takeaways: The Rebels are currently undefeated in the SEC right now. They have had a relatively light schedule to kick off their season. Their biggest win of the year so far was against Kentucky. Their first true test comes this Saturday when they head to Baton Rouge to take on division foe, the LSU Tigers. If they can survive Death Valley this Saturday, they will have another huge battle that awaits them at home against Alabama. The matchup with the Crimson Tide could have college football playoff implications.
Midseason Grade: C
It looks like year three was another building season for Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman. The team suffered crushing losses to Alabama and Texas A&M. However, despite the losses this year, the Hogs are trending in the right direction under Coach Pittman. An area that the Hogs need to focus on improving in the offseason is their defense. The group has surrendered 30 points or more in four games this season.
Midseason Grade: D
Takeaways: The writing is on the wall for Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin regarding his future with the program. Under his guidance, the Tigers have been nowhere near CFP contention nor the SEC West title. Rumors have surfaced on potential replacements if Harsin is let go by the season’s end. Here is what Justin Hokanson of Auburn Live said when he appeared on the Locked on Auburn podcast. “He’s not going to be the coach next year,” Hokanson said. “So it’s just a matter of timing. There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know behind the scenes in terms of timing. I think fans are just looking at it from a perspective of ‘well, Nebraska fired their coach, Arizona State fired their coach, and Wisconsin fired their coach.’ Auburn is the best job that is available or will be available at this point. So Auburn’s not in a rush; they don’t need to beat anybody to the punch right now.” So far, the Tigers are 3-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
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