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Paul Finebaum outlines biggest storylines for coming SEC football season

Screen Shot 2024-05-28 at 9.09.17 AMby:Kaiden Smith05/21/24


The upcoming 2024 football season is filled to the brim with exciting storylines across the country in a year loaded with new changes. But specifically in the SEC, these changes have been magnified ahead of a season that has already provided plenty of topics of conversation.

College football analyst Paul Finebaum recently joined McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning and was asked about the most prominent storyline in the Southeastern Conference ahead of the 2024 season. Failing to provide just one ahead of a football season that could represent a critical juncture in the conference and beyond when looked back on.

“Well I think the biggest question is who makes the playoffs and what does it take to make the playoffs?” Finebaum asked. “As Greg (McElroy) alluded, is it 10-2? Can you get in at 9-3 depending on what those losses and wins are?”

No change across college football is more important than the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff that will debut following the 2024 regular season. As more teams than ever before will compete on college football’s biggest stage and have an opportunity to be crowned national champions.

The SEC has historically been well represented during the past decade of the four-team playoff, and with the 12-team iteration on the horizon, many are curious how that representation will now look moving forward.

“After that it’s the log jam after Georgia, who is it? Is it Texas? Is it Alabama? Is it Ole Miss, Missouri, there’s a long list of schools that are trying to get that maybe second, third, and fourth (spot),” Finebaum said. “Obviously (Kalen) DeBoer is going to be under a huge microscope.”

The Bulldogs are the likely favorites to win the SEC this season after taking home national titles in two of the last three seasons while boasting a 42-2 record in that same span. And with the retirement of Nick Saban from Alabama, all eyes will be on new head coach Kalen DeBoer to see if he can maintain the standard in Tuscaloosa and what other teams could potentially become playoff contenders in a wide open conference that features two new teams and no divisions anymore.

“And really one of the themes of the offseason is what’s the situation with Billy Napier?” Finebaum also asked. “I hear optimism from down there, is that just typical May optimism based on a couple of recruits or a couple of puzzles being solved?”

Napier enters his third season at the helm for a Florida Gators program that always comes with pressure to perform. And following two straight seasons with just three SEC wins each and steady improvement in recruiting, many are curious if this can be the year that he takes the Gators over the hump.

“I think those are the four or five stories that you start with, but I think the playoffs will be the topic in Dallas for media days and as we get ready for the season,” Finebaum concluded.

It will be fascinating to see how the SEC shakes out in 2024 and how many of the conference’s teams get a stop in the new College Football Playoff. As this season seems to feature more contenders and potential outcomes than any others in recent history.