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University of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) scrambles during the SEC Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. The University of Georgia Bulldogs faced the University of Alabama Crimson Tide with the Crimson Tide defeating the Bulldogs by a score of 35-28. (Photo/Tony Walsh)

Each week of the 2019 season, The Red & Black football writers will rank the teams of the SEC. This week, The Red & Black gives our conference preseason rankings.

Tier One: Alabama, Georgia

At the top of the pack, this season is shaping up to look a lot like the last, with Alabama and Georgia looming over the rest of the SEC. Both powerhouses are ranked within the top three of the AP preseason poll, with No. 2 Alabama just one spot above No. 3 Georgia. The Crimson Tide rolls into 2019 with a chip on its shoulder after being throttled by Clemson 44-16 in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. The Bulldogs look to recover from two postseason losses against Alabama in the SEC Championship and Texas in the Sugar Bowl. Though Alabama and Georgia don’t have a meeting planned on their regular season schedules, they’re on an inevitable crash course to the SEC championship for the second consecutive season. — Augusta Stone

Tier Two: LSU, Florida, Texas A&M

The ‘best of the rest’ have a lot to prove this season. These fan bases demand championships, something none of these teams have accomplished since LSU’s last SEC title in 2011. The Tigers will have to contend with a brutal SEC West schedule. Following a 10-win season in Dan Mullen’s first year, Florida might have a hard time keeping redshirt junior quarterback Feleipe Franks upright, as they replace four starters on the offensive line. Texas A&M will have to survive one of the nation’s toughest schedules, facing the preseason Nos. 1, 2, 3, 6 and 16-ranked teams. — Nathan Moore

Tier Three: Auburn, Missouri

The biggest storylines for these two Tiger squads are their quarterbacks. No. 16 Auburn recently named freshman Bo Nix its starting quarterback for the opener against No. 11 Oregon. Nix beat out Joey Gatewood, a dual-threat quarterback built like Cam Newton. The Tigers, led by Nix and a strong defensive line, will look to turn the corner after finishing 3-5 in SEC play in 2018. Missouri lost Drew Lock to the NFL. But it’s not all bad — Hello, Kelly Bryant. The ex-Clemson star takes the reins for the Tigers of the SEC East and will try to guide the program out of mediocrity. — Myan Patel

Tier Four: Mississippi State, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina

The first three games on Mississippi State’s schedule are a snooze fest — Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Miss and Kansas State. When the going gets rough in mid-October, the Bulldogs will be hampered by the loss of seven starters on last year’s No. 2 scoring defense in the nation. Kentucky will have to replace the production of running back Benny Snell and linebacker Josh Allen. Tennessee and South Carolina will most likely be average. The Gamecocks have to face Clemson, Alabama and Georgia — ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the AP preseason poll, respectively. — Henry Queen

Tier Five: Ole Miss, Arkansas, Vanderbilt

Most of Ole Miss’s household names are gone, since D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Greg Little all moved on to the NFL. When the Rebels play Arkansas in the second week, the two teams will have a similar agenda — must-win. Arkansas head coach Chad Morris will be searching for his first SEC win. Vanderbilt’s offensive line is its biggest question mark right now. After losing three starters, the line will need to be rebuilt before it faces Georgia on Aug. 31. — Anna Glenn Grove

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