Saturday marks the biggest day in SEC football since Alabama hoisted the College Football Playoff National Championship trophy in Miami Gardens after its win over Ohio State. Why? Half of the conference will host their spring games, which will give fans a glimpse into what their teams will look like in 2021.
The Crimson Tide's spring game will feature a new cast of skill characters on the offensive side of the ball, first-year coaches Bryan Harsin (Auburn) and Clark Lea (Vanderbilt) will wrap up their first spring sessions and Georgia will hope set the foundation for what could be a run to the national championship.
What should you expect to see on Saturday? Let's break down the top storyline for each team. All start times Eastern.
Alabama: All eyes on Bryce
1 p.m. on ESPN
Offense drives the bus. At Alabama, it all starts with quarterback Bryce Young. The buzz out of Tuscaloosa is that the former five-star quarterback and No. 2 overall player from the Class of 2020 should take on a larger role after seeing spot duty as a freshman. The Crimson Tide offense is expected to transform a bit under first-year coordinator Bill O'Brien. Young is much more mobile that last year's starter Mac Jones, and O'Brien has experience with mobile quarterbacks with live arms from his time coaching Deshaun Watson with the Houston Texans. Could Young be what Watson was on the field? He has the skill set. But, as I wrote earlier this week, the supporting cast around him is very different than what Jones had last year. Watching that offense develop will be fascinating, and it starts with Young.
Georgia: Who steps up in Pickens' absence?
2 p.m. on SEC Network+
Georgia is going to be a chic pick to win the national title this summer, but the ACL injury suffered by wide receiver George Pickens earlier this spring has put the spotlight on a wide receiving corps that doesn't have a deep threat capable of taking the top off of a defense. To compound the issue, Georgia only has three receivers who have seen meaningful snaps available on Saturday -- Demetris Robertson, Kearis Jackson and Arian Smith. I wrote in our staff picks last week that Robertson is one of the most intriguing players in the country, but Jackson actually led the Bulldogs in receiving last year by one yard over Pickens. Somebody has to be "that dude," and we will get an idea of who Smart has in mind on Saturday. Bottom line, Georgia's running backs and offensive line should be fine. A wide receiving corps that can pose enough of a threat deep to keep defenses honest could be what makes the Bulldogs a contender instead of a pretender.
Auburn: Can Harsin fix the offensive line?
2 p.m. on SEC Network+
Harsin's first year at Auburn will be wildly intriguing, and his success depends on his offensive line. The Tigers finished seventh in the SEC in sacks allowed (20) and rushing offense (162.55 yards per game), despite having an absolute baller at running back in Tank Bigsby. That was with Gus Malzahn -- whose offense is predicated on the power rushing game out of the spread with tempo. Harsin has a track record of developing consistent offensive lines that set the tone. That's going to be imperative for this year's Tigers. Junior quarterback Bo Nix looked like a deer in headlights last year, bailing the pocket when -- at times -- there wasn't even a rush coming at him. Why? Because he was so used to big dudes coming at him with bad intentions. Bigsby is back, which will help immensely. But if the offensive line isn't consistent, things will look a lot like it did last year.
LSU: The Pelini hangover
1 p.m. on SEC Network+
Ex-LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini came to Baton Rouge with a ton of hype, but left with a whimper. Well, a whimper and a lot of anger from Tiger fans. Pelini's defense finished next-to-last in the conference in yards per play allowed (7.26), 10th in scoring defense (34.9 points per game) and last in opponent plays of 20 or more yards at 79 -- 20 plays behind 13th place Vanderbilt. Daronte Jones has taken over for Pelini, and he has a very talented group. Junior defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. is back, along with defensive linemen Glen Logan, Ali Gaye and a depth chart littered with upperclassmen. LSU isn't lacking studs at the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball, either. If Jones can find a way for the defense to just be adequate, the Tigers will get back into the mix in the SEC West.
Arkansas: Can Jefferson handle the starting spot?
3 p.m. on SEC Network+
All signs point toward redshirt sophomore quarterback KJ Jefferson taking over under center for Feleipe Franks. The dual-threat weapon threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 67 yards and two scores last year in a mop-up role. The former four-star prospect has a loaded offense to work with, including star wideout Treylon Burks. It'll be fascinating to see if second-year coach Sam Pittman lets Jefferson loose to find out if he can handle the pressure in what is the biggest spotlight of the spring. He's a little bit more mobile than Franks, which should allow coordinator Kendal Briles to be more creative with his play-calling. We won't see Jefferson on the ground much on Saturday, though. It'll be about his arm and how accurate he is deep downfield.
Mississippi State: QB battle in Starkville
Noon on SEC Network+
Will Rogers came in midseason for KJ Costello and played pretty well, tossing 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But coach Mike Leach wasn't satisfied. He brought in ex-Southern Miss starter Jack Abraham to push Rogers and provide another option in his air raid offense. Of course, it's the most important storyline not just this spring, but for the entire offseason in Starkville. Why? Leach's offense hinges on his signal caller's ability to consistently move the chains since the running game isn't as big of a factor as it is in other systems. Expect Leach to open things up offensively on Saturday in an attempt to see which of his two front-runners can handle it.
Vanderbilt: Secondary struggles
Noon on SEC Network+
New coach Clark Lea has a massive hill to climb if he is going to bring his alma mater back to consistent bowl contention, and it starts with fixing the secondary. The Commodores gave up 296.4 yards per game through the air and only picked off two passes in Derek Mason's final season in Nashville. The good news is that the 'Dores are loaded with depth and experience on the back end of the defense, which will give Lea -- a coach who produced top 10 passing defenses twice in three years at Notre Dame -- plenty of options. Expect quarterback Ken Seals to test that unit early and often in an attempt to shake out the depth chart.