SEC Football Unfiltered

SEC Football Unfiltered

SEC Football Unfiltered features hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams of the USA TODAY Network serving opinion, debate and analysis on trending college football topics within the Southeastern Conference. No subject is off limits, and no one is above rebuke. Take off the filter and revel in the banter.


March 14, 2023 45 min

The SEC tied its conference record by qualifying eight teams for the NCAA Tournament, and the conference boasts the No. 1 overall seed, Alabama.

Otherwise, the conference didn't earn much respect in seeding. Fourth-seeded Tennessee is the SEC team with the second-highest seed. 

On today's episode, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams put football on the back burner for a week to dissect the SEC's chances for a strong sh...

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Nick Saban is getting upset, and he wants you to know it.

For years, Alabama's coach stumped for a nine-game SEC schedule. That change is likely coming in 2024, but now Saban is whining about the teams Alabama will have to play. Auburn, LSU and Tennessee are Alabama's assigned rivals in this proposed model. Saban thinks that's unfair.

Surely, he can't expect the SEC to reverse course now. It would look like it is ca...

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LSU is the SEC West's most well-rounded team, but don't expect the conference's preseason media poll to reflect that.

Not since 2012 have sportswriters who cover the SEC picked a team other than Alabama to win the West. Usually, Alabama is a smart choice, but the Crimson Tide faces more questions than usual this offseason – including, who is the quarterback? Meanwhile, LSU has a proven quarterback and a coach coming off...

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Even as Bryce Young, Stetson Bennett and Hendon Hooker depart for the NFL, the SEC boasts a handful of proven veteran quarterbacks, as well as some highly touted but untested younger players. 

But who would you select first if you could build a depth chart around one of the SEC's quarterbacks? An established starter like LSU's Jayden Daniels or Arkansas' KJ Jefferson. A high-ceiling veteran like South Carolina's Spe...

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When Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC in 2024, a few rivalries will be restored, but a handful of others will reduce to being played once every two years.

The SEC has not approved a scheduling model for its expanded alignment, but there’s momentum to move to a nine-game conference schedule. One popular model discussed is a 3-6 schedule model, in which team would be assigned three rivals to play annually.

On today’s episode, hosts Bl...

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The top quarterback recruit in the 2023 signing class is either Tennessee’s Nico Iamaleava or Texas’ Arch Manning, depending on your ranking service of choice. But who is poised to break out first?

September schedules and coaching pressure may have something to say about that.

On today's episode, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams examine the expectations for these five-star recruits and explain why they think Manning will ea...

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The SEC’s quarterback lineup will feature a new look in 2023, raising the question of whether the conference will maintain its blistering production at the sport’s most important position.

Four of the SEC’s top five quarterbacks from last season departed. As many as half of the conference’s schools will feature legitimate QB1 competitions throughout the spring.

Don’t expect many of the coaches who are evaluating competitions to dec...

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Nearly half of the SEC's teams signed a transfer quarterback this winter, and Ole Miss nabbed two. In at least a few of those instances, transfers are expected to be a strong contender or even the headliner for the starting job.

On today's episode, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams review the SEC's quarterback transfer haul and point to a couple of programs that might hunt for a quarterback after spring practice.


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Georgia reigns atop college football, but we're ready to turn the page to next season. And while we expect the Bulldogs to remain the SEC's fiercest bully, the competition gets spicy right behind them.

Will LSU repeat in the SEC West? Can Alabama turn a No. 1 recruiting class into a trip to the SEC Championship? Will Texas A&M bounce back behind its young talent?

On this episode of "SEC Football Unfiltered," hos...

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Georgia’s Peach Bowl triumph over Ohio State became an instant classic. Now, how about a rematch in the national championship game next season?

After the Bulldogs crushed TCU to repeat as national champions, the focus shifts to the potential for a rare three-peat. They've got the returning stars to do it, too, but the Buckeyes profile as a top challenger if they adequately replace C.J. Stroud.

On this episode, hosts Blake Toppm...

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Ohio State had multiple chances to land a knockout punch on Georgia in the Peach Bowl but couldn't connect. Kirby Smart outcoached Ryan Day in the fourth quarter, Stetson Bennett delivered in the clutch, and the Bulldogs rallied.

But was Georgia's epic escape against the Buckeyes a case of the nation's two best teams squaring off in a CFP semifinal, or did it indicate cause for concern in the national championship again...

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Bowl games don't mean what they used to, and there's no turning back now, especially with the College Football Playoff scheduled to expand to 12 teams in 2024.

Even players who aren't projected to be early-round NFL Draft picks are opting out, making it a surprise that Alabama stars Bryce Young and Will Anderson are playing in the Sugar Bowl.

On today's episode, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams consider the opt-...

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 Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee are among SEC teams that might covet a transfer quarterback, and a marquee name joined the portal party on Monday, when Coastal Carolina's Grayson McCall announced he will transfer. He joins a list of outbound quarterbacks headlined by North Carolina State's Devin Leary and Clemson's DJ Uiagalelei.

On today's episode, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and Mike Wilson go head to ...

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Auburn didn't have to roll the dice on a coach with no FBS experience. The Tigers tapped a proven winner when they plucked Hugh Freeze from Liberty as their next coach.

Freeze comes to AU with enough baggage to fill a church van, but no one questions his coaching acumen or his recruiting chops. He should quickly re-establish the Tigers as a player in the SEC.

Meanwhile, Colorado made a bold move to hire Jackson State's Deio...

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Michigan and TCU join Georgia as remaining undefeated teams, but we're unconvinced either of those schools is the top threat to the Bulldogs' throne.

Beware of Southern Cal.

On this episode, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams unpack why the Trojans may be the top challenger in Georgia's path to a repeat, if USC wins the Pac-12 Championship to earn playoff qualification.

They also debate whether Ohio State, Alabama or ...

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Tennessee football is out of College Football Playoff contention after a blowout loss to South Carolina, and Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker is no longer a Heisman Trophy frontrunner after he got outplayed by Spencer Rattler. Worse, Hooker suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the fourth quarter, ending his special season and his college career.

With Hooker falling out of the Heisman debate, does the SEC still have a chance to produc...

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Kirby Smart successfully reloaded after losing 15 players to the NFL Draft off Georgia's national championship team. The Bulldogs are positioned to repeat as champs. Josh Heupel has Tennessee in playoff contention in his second year on the job. LSU won the SEC West in Brian Kelly's first season, a rapid ascent considering the Tigers had a makeshift roster as recently as January.

These three coaches form the shortlist of can...

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Kirby Smart is college football's best coach. No, not of all time. That distinction remains with Nick Saban.

But for now and the foreseeable future, Smart tops the chart. Once again, he's built and developed the nation's best team. Georgia is favored to repeat as national champions.

If you're drafting a coach from the SEC to build and lead your program, Smart should be first off the board. But, would Saban go No. 2?


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Lane Kiffin says he's "extremely happy" at Ole Miss, where his Rebels "have something special going."

That doesn't mean Auburn won't shoot its shot with Kiffin, after firing Bryan Harsin. But what if Kiffin says no?

On today's episode, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams consider six names for the Auburn opening.

Toppmeyer makes the sales pitch for the candidates, while Adams offers his verdict on w...

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The SEC should be well-represented when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released Tuesday night. If the committee foremost values résumé, Tennessee and Georgia may form a 1-2 punch ahead of fellow undefeated teams like Ohio State and Michigan.

Alabama would earn a playoff bid if it wins out, so don't get too caught up in its ranking. The Crimson Tide has no margin for error, but would be in if it wins the SEC Cha...

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