3 most overrated teams in the SEC

Which of the SEC's top preseason contenders could be overhyped in 2024?
Brian Kelly, SEC football
Brian Kelly, SEC football / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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SEC football adds two new programs to the mix for what looks to be an ultra-competitive 2024 campaign with the first year of the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff field. The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners will look to shake up the SEC with successful inaugural seasons in the most difficult college football conference in the nation.

Which SEC football teams are being overrated the most in preseason polls and betting odds in 2024?

Adding the Longhorns and Sooners takes an SEC that was already bound to send multiple representatives to the 12-team playoff in 2024 to even higher heights.

The post-spring top 25 rankings for the 2024 season from ESPN's Mark Schlabach has five of the top eight teams from the SEC. That includes two teams in the top three from the SEC, with the Longhorns at No. 3 and Georgia Bulldogs at No. 1.

This amount of depth and top-end competition shows just how tough it will be for anyone to outright win the SEC this year. Expected top contenders like Georgia, Texas, and the Ole Miss Rebels will still have difficult paths to win the SEC Championship and ensure good seeding in the 12-team playoff.

Which teams could wind up underperforming expectations in the 2024 while potentially making the path to the SEC title and the playoff easier for other contenders in the conference?

Here are three of the most overrated teams in the SEC entering the 2024 season.

Ole Miss

Head coach Lane Kiffin is expected to have his best squad at Ole Miss in his fifth year in Oxford. Between the amount of returning talent and what Kiffin and staff added from the transfer portal this offseason, expectations are higher than they've been in a long time for Ole Miss.

It also helps that the Rebels have a pretty favorable schedule, at least compared to some of the other SEC teams. The College Football Network ranked Ole Miss as having the easiest strength of schedule of every SEC team in 2024.

Ole Miss is led by one of the top returning starters at quarterback in the SEC, senior Jaxson Dart, and one of the best defensive lines in the conference. Dart leads an Ole Miss offense that ranked 15th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency (per BCF Toys) while ranking third in the SEC in points per game (35.1).

Kiffin and the Rebels are trying to rebuild an offensive line that ranked 10th of 14 SEC teams in pass-blocking efficiency last season (per PFF). The Rebels added some plug-and-play starters from the portal along the interior offensive line and at left tackle.

Since the offensive line only returns two starters and is largely made up of plug-and-play pieces from the transfer portal, Ole Miss must work to find cohesion and chemistry in the trenches to protect Dart and get a good push for the ground game.

The running game is a question mark itself after the portal departure of star rusher Quinshon Judkins this offseason. Judkins transferred to Ohio State, leaving running back depth as a potential concern for Kiffin and the Rebels entering this fall.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ole Miss has beefed up the defensive front and added some immediate impact players from the portal to upgrade the secondary. Ole Miss is senior-laden on the depth deep at linebacker and defensive back, including three returning senior starters and four more projected senior starters who are proven FBS transfers (mostly from other Power Five schools).

Can experienced transfers make up for a defense that ranked 10th in the SEC in total defense and passing defense last season? It's a lot to ask from a group that returns the 93rd most production of any defensive unit in the FBS in 2024.

The easy schedule could help Ole Miss get to double-digit wins this season. But considering how Ole Miss has the third-best odds to win the SEC Championship in 2024 and is ranked sixth in ESPN's post-spring top 25, this is a lot of hype to live up to when you still have SEC games like LSU on the road, Georgia at home, Oklahoma, and Florida on the road.