College football has come and gone, and the long wait for the 2017-18 season is officially underway.
For some fans, 2016 may be a year to store away and forget forever (looking at you Ole Miss and Missouri fans). For others, the season’s end means it is now time for reflection.
What went wrong? What went well? Is there optimism heading into next season?
For most of the SEC, the answer is ‘yes’ to the latter question. Alabama was the only SEC team to finish with less than four losses, with its first coming against Clemson in Monday’s national championship.
ESPN began that process of reflection on Friday when the news outlet released it’s 2016-17 All-Bowl team, which included seven SEC players. Among those included:
Running back: Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Scarbrough was Alabama’s third-leading rusher during the regular season, but put together an excellent postseason. The third-year sophomore rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns against Washington, and collected 93 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson in the national title game.
That performance was cut short after fracturing a bone in his right leg against the Tigers.
Defensive tackle: Trent Thompson, Georgia
Thompson, a former 5-star recruit, had his best game of the season in Georgia’s Liberty Bowl victory over TCU. He accumulated 8 tackles and 3 sacks in Memphis.
Defensive end: Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Allen was viewed as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate throughout the season, and that caliber of play continued into the Playoff. In two games, the defense end tallied a total of 13 tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss.
Linebacker: Tashawn Bower, LSU
Bowers sacked Heisman winner Lamar Jackson three times in LSU’s Citrus Bowl win over Louisville. His only other sack of the year came against Southern Miss in October.
Linebacker: Ryan Anderson, Alabama
Anderson also showed out during the Tide’s Playoff run. He collected a pick-6 against Washington, and added 7 tackles, a sack, 2 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries against Clemson.
Cornerback: Chauncey Gardner, Florida
Gardner was named the Outback Bowl MVP as a true freshman following his performance against Iowa. He intercepted two passes and returned one for a 58-yard touchdown.
Punter: JK Scott, Alabama
Over the course of two playoff games, Scott punted the ball 18 times. He averaged 45.9 yards per punt, downed 8 punts inside to 20-yard line and had six punts of 50 or more yards (5 against Clemson).