The confetti barely has been swept after Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa turned Georgia fans’ stomachs inside out, and the tears from Dawg Nation are dry at last, but Tim Tebow sees the SEC’s new bosses in 2018 looking the same as the old ones who filled highlight reels in January at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a fight for college football’s largest prize.
Yes, his picks for the top contenders to win the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2018 should sound familiar.
“I think it’s easy to say Tua,” the former Florida quarterback and current SEC Network analyst told SEC Country. “I think it’s easy to look at [Georgia quarterback] Jake Fromm.”
The 2017 season has been signed, sealed and delivered, after Crimson Tide fans danced the night away in Atlanta following Tagovailoa’s hallelujah moment in the second half during an overtime thriller in the National Championship Game. (“Play Tua” has become a funny Twitter thing because of the memory.)
But it’s never too early to crank up the SEC’s buzz machine for next fall, when another stage should be set for the Crimson Tide to roll and the Bulldogs to provide a sharp bite.
Likely, Tagovailoa and Fromm will add to their growing reputations in 2018. Tagovailoa should be given more chances to shine around other young talent that’s part of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide machine. In Athens, Fromm returns after becoming a national name as a freshman. The Bulldogs will move on without Butkus Award-winning linebacker Roquan Smith, but Georgia’s defense will remain stout with its returning skill. Plus, many of the country’s top prospects have decided to flood the area between the hedges in a way that should scare SEC East rivals.
But what about Tebow’s other 2018 SEC predictions? We’ve included his takes below.
On division favorites: “I think the two best teams in the SEC will be Alabama and Georgia. Kind of because of that, I think Jake Fromm and Tua are probably your two leading candidates [for SEC Offensive Player of the Year], because they’re also on the best teams. It doesn’t mean they’re the best players, but they’re good quarterbacks on the best teams. That usually affects things a little bit.”
On players who could make a larger name for themselves: “If [Mississippi State quarterback] Nick Fitzgerald can come back healthy, then I think he can have a really good season because of his supporting cast around him. And I think Tua has shown us everything to be able to really be successful.
“I would be very intrigued to say whoever takes the job at [Texas] A&M, whoever really wins that job, I think they have a lot of talent. I’ve been to a lot of their practices, seen them throw. Whoever comes out of that pack as the starting quarterback, I think, will really have a chance to be successful.”
On teams that could rise: “I think depending on how Florida is able to finish and what happens at the quarterback position, I think [coach] Dan [Mullen] is going to get them a little bit of momentum. Speaking of Dan, I’d also say that Mississippi State has a really, really, really good team coming back. I think they’ll be able to build the momentum throughout the season.
“And I would not underestimate Texas A&M. I think they have some talent, some hidden talent. I think they’ll be better on defense. I think [coach] Jimbo Fisher knows what he’s doing at the quarterback position and he’ll be able to develop them very quickly. And they have some talent at that position.”
Tebow’s interview was made possible by Purina Pro Plan, which is partnering with the former Florida quarterback by making him the “barketologist” of the Purina Pro Plan $1 Million Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Bracket Challenge. More information about the challenge can be learned by clicking here.