With few proven or truly experienced quarterbacks coming back this year, the SEC should continue to rest on the backs of its hefty running games.
But that doesn't mean the league will be void of high passing numbers here and there. While you won't see Pac-12 numbers from these gunslingers, there are a couple of top-flight quarterbacks returning and some smart offensive coordinators ready to light the skies when possible.
Last year, the SEC had four 3,000-yard passers -- Ole Miss' Chad Kelly (4,042), Mississippi State's Dak Prescott (3,793), Arkansas' Brandon Allen (3,440) and Alabama's Jake Coker (3,110). Kelly is the only one of those four who returns in 2016.
So how many 3,000-yard passers will the SEC see this season? I'll say four, again.
Here's my list in order of most likely to get to 3,000 yards:
1. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss: Pretty easy choice when you consider that he threw for a school-record 4,042 yards in his first season as a starter for the Rebels. Laquon Treadwell is gone, but Kelly still has a solid receiving corps to work with, and with questions still remaining at running back, Ole Miss will rely on his arm a lot this fall.
2. Austin Allen, Arkansas: Maybe it's because of good genes or the fact that Dan Enos did a tremendous job with Allen's older brother last year. Or maybe it's because Bret Bielema thinks the younger Allen can actually throw the ball around better than his elder. With Enos' instruction and a very solid and deep unit of receivers returning in Fayetteville, this Allen will have no problem going from 188 career yards to more than 3,000 in 2016.
3. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee: Known as more of a runner, Dobbs is fired up to throw the ball more this fall. His passing ability has been called into question, and that doesn't sit well with the senior. He threw for 2,291 yards last year (176.2 ypg), but OC Mike DeBord would like to open things up more in the passing game. Expect Dobbs to be even more of a dual threat this fall with his first 3,000-yard season.
4. Alabama's starter: We don't know who will take over the reigns under center in Tuscaloosa, but does it really matter? In his last two seasons, OC Lane Kiffin has taken two first-year starters and turned them into 3,000-yard passers. Blake Sims even set the Alabama single-season school record with 3,487 yards in 2014, and he wasn't even known for his arm going into the season. Whether it's Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett, David Cornwell or even Jalen Hurts, someone is going to get over the 3,000-yard mark, thanks to Kiffin and an impressive receiving corps.
5. Trevor Knight, Texas A&M: You have to be tempted to put him in the 3,000-yard clique, but you also have to hold off because of the up-and-down quarterback play from the last two seasons in College Station. Knight, who had 3,424 yards in his career at Oklahoma, brings a lot of experience and should work well in new OC Noel Mazzone's uptempo offense. But until we see more continuity from the Aggies' offense, we have to be suspect of the passing game.
6. Drew Barker, Kentucky: This is finally his team, and Barker has all the tools to fling the ball around. He also has a good group of receivers to work with. As a backup in 2015, Barker threw for just 364 yards, but with former Cincinnati OC Eddie Gran helping him, he'll have a shot at 3,000. Gran's 2015 Cincy offense averaged 359.9 ypg.
7. Brandon Harris, LSU: The feeling coming out of spring was that Harris felt more comfortable throwing the ball. After a subpar season as the Tigers' starter (throwing for 2,158 yards and completing just 53.6 percent of his passes), LSU needs Harris to be much better in 2016. He's a talented athlete, but his passing ability leaves a lot to be desired. There's a lot of talent at receiver, and if Harris is more confident throwing the ball, he has a chance to hit 3,000 yards.
8. Luke Del Rio, Florida: Maybe he's a long shot because of how poorly Florida's quarterbacks have played over the years, but if he can be careful with the ball and make the throws he did this spring, Del Rio should be just fine. He might not get to 3,000 yards, but his game-managing skills will be an upgrade under center. However, this is his first brush with SEC defenses ...
9. Georgia's starter: If freshman Jacob Eason is named the starter before the season opener, I'd shoot the Bulldogs up this list. Maybe I'm buying into the hype too much, but he has all the arm tools needed to be great. Still, he's a true freshman, and I have a feeling Kirby Smart is going to slowly bring him along in his first year. The quarterback with the most starting time will have a shot at 3,000.