Georgia football is easily predicted to make Atlanta in way too early 2022 SEC Rankings

The Georgia Bulldogs celebrate after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff Championship held at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
The Georgia Bulldogs celebrate after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff Championship held at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /
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Georgia football
Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels reacts during the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Baylor Bears. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Ole Miss, Arkansas & LSU round out the West’s middle tier

Ole Miss Rebels: 9-3 (5-3)

The Rebels will once again project to have an electric and entertaining offense, even without a definitive answer at quarterback just yet.

Replacing the NFL quarterback prospect Matt Corral will not be an easy task. Still, the offensive system of head coach Lane Kiffin is built around run-pass options (RPO’s), which makes it easier for quarterbacks to be successful in the offense.

The quick reads and short-to-intermediate throws made as a staple of the offense will allow Kiffin to find success with whichever quarterback he names the starter.

Luke Altmyer is the current quarterback in waiting for the Rebels. He looked shaky in his only major appearance of the 2021 season, completing 15 of 28 passes for 174 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against Baylor.

This type of performance is understandable considering the circumstances, as Matt Corral exited the game with an injury, thrusting Altmyer into the starting role.

Altmyer has the potential to start in 2022, given an entire offseason of reps as the starter, but will not have the same weapons that Corral had at his disposal.

Ole Miss is losing its top two leading rushers in Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner, along with Corral, whose rushing numbers were just behind the two running backs at over 600 yards.

Kiffin was able to dip into the transfer portal to snag former 5-star running back Zach Evans from TCU, which provided much-needed depth with the previously mentioned departures.

Evans will share the backfield with Henry Parrish, one of four Rebels, to garner more than 100 carries in 2021.

The Ole Miss offense often utilizes its running backs as pass catchers, which both Evans and Parrish have shown the ability to do at a high level.

The wide receiver position is still a question mark for the Rebels after losing Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders.

Kiffin will likely utilize the transfer portal again to find more receiving help and maybe another signal-caller.

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels could provide immediate contributors in 2022 if brought in, or USC quarterback Jaxson Dart has also been a rumored transfer portal target for Ole Miss, adding another layer to the mystery surrounding that position.

The Rebels still have a lot to tie together but expect the Lane Train to keep rolling in 2022. While Ole Miss won’t compete for the SEC West crown, it will once again be a competitive and entertaining team to watch every week.

Arkansas Razorbacks: 9-3 (5-3)

The Razorbacks look to prove that a 9-win 2021 campaign was not just a fluke.

Arkansas surprised most people this past season and has the pieces in place to continue the upward trend.

Head coach Sam Pittman appears to have established a winning culture with a solid foundation that the players and other members of the coaching staff have bought into, as this is evident by offensive coordinator Kendal Briles turning down the same position at Miami to stay in Arkansas.

Quarterback KJ Jefferson had a breakout year in 2021 and will be back to lead the charge for the Hogs in 2022. Jefferson was a true dual-threat, as he led Arkansas in passing and rushing yards.

Arkansas does have options at running back, though. Raheim Sanders is entering his second season and will likely share the backfield with Dominique Johnson. Both backs averaged over five yards a carry in 2021.

The most significant loss on offense for Arkansas was star receiver Treylon Burks. After accounting for 1104 yards and 11 touchdowns on 66 catches, Burks declared for the NFL draft, where he is a projected 1st-round pick.

Pittman quickly went to the portal searching for his replacement, landing former 5-star Jadon Haselwood from Oklahoma.

Haselwood has had an underwhelming college career to date, but a change of scenery in a different offense could be the spark he needs to live up to his high school ranking.

Defensively, the Razorbacks had some surprising departures via the transfer portal. Starting safety Joe Foucha and starting cornerback Greg Brooks Jr. entered the transfer portal and wound up at LSU.

Filling the void left by those two defensive back transfers will be a top priority. They began to fill that void by bringing in former Georgia defensive back Latavious Brini, who will be a super senior in 2022 and give Arkansas some experience.

On the bright side, Arkansas was able to land Alabama linebacker transfer Drew Sanders. The former 5-star will patrol the middle of the defense and the super senior Bumper Pool.

The Razorbacks will have some production from new faces in 2022 but look to have another competitive season. The SEC West is arguably the most unforgiving division in college football, so while Arkansas will be a good team, true contention to win the division will not be in the cards in 2022.

LSU Tigers: 8-4 (4-4)

LSU will be entering year one of the Brian Kelly era looking to set a precedent for what should be expected in years to come.

Like Florida’s situation, the Tigers will be transitioning under a new head coach, which means finding a balance of heightened expectations and cautious optimism.

An overall awkward situation in the quarterback room could be a continuous storyline throughout the 2022 season for the Tigers. Kelly convinced Myles Brennan to stick around while bringing in 5-star Walker Howard.

Howard is presumably the future of the Tigers’ passing attack, but will Brennan be named the starter due to his experience? Only time will tell, and Kelly always ran an exciting program at Notre Dame, so who’s to say how that situation shakes out.

Whoever the quarterback is, they will have one of the more high-profile targets in the SEC at their disposal in wide receiver Kayshon Boutte. The electric receiver recently silenced transfer rumors and confirmed he’s locked in. Boutte has the potential to be one of the top pass catchers in the country in 2022.

After declaring for the NFL draft, the Tigers will have to replace the 1,000-yard rusher Tyrion Davis-Price. John Emery will likely split the backfield with the recently acquired Penn State transfer, Noah Cain.

Both backs were highly touted out of high school and could serve as a solid 1-2 punch for the Tigers.

Defensively, LSU will have a solid unit even after losing elite cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. to the draft.

The transfer additions of starting defensive backs Greg Brooks and Joe Foucha from Arkansas will make immediate impacts, along with Mekhi Garner from Louisiana Lafayette.

LSU will be a competitive team in 2022, even in the first year of a new head coaching regime. Contending with the top-tier teams of the SEC West is still a year or two away, but if Kelly can continue to recruit and build, the Tigers could return to being a force quite soon.