Which SEC team could pull a Cleveland-like run soon?

As soon as Kyrie Irving's ridiculously clutch three swished through the net Sunday night inside Oracle Arena, it became obvious that the unthinkable had just happened.

The city of Cleveland had a world champion for the first time since 1964.

For more than 50 years, Clevelanders suffered through repeated mediocrity, with a few close calls sprinkled in here and there. Though the SEC is certainly no stranger to winning championships, there are a few teams in the conference dealing with Cleveland-like difficulties, leaving many fan bases wondering when the misery will end.

A few of these tormented teams have a chance to pull a Cleveland this season, and a few others could be building toward it.


Last national title: 1964

Arkansas isn't there, but Bret Bielema could be building in that direction. He played in three straight Rose Bowls, and though he hasn't signed elite classes in Fayetteville, he's done well implementing his system and gaining total buy-in from players. Bielema is known for his physical running approach, but he has also shown an ability to evolve with Dan Enos' much more pass-friendly offense last season.

But the Hogs have been too inconsistent in Bielema's three seasons. He will head into his fourth season with an 18-20 record, including 7-17 in SEC play. Arkansas is still a ways off, but Bielema has Arkansas back in the SEC discussion, and it's creeping back into the national scene.


Last national title: 1980

Though the 90s were up-and-down for Georgia, things took off under Mark Richt in the 2000s. In 15 seasons, the Bulldogs had 10 double-digit-win seasons, went 146-51 and made 15 bowl games. Georgia won the SEC in 2002 and 2005, and played in three other SEC title games. But there just weren't enough of the right wins, which is why Richt was fired and former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was hired.

In his first season, Smart takes over a team with a solid defense but numerous offensive questions, including who the starting quarterback will be. But thanks to six straight top-10 recruiting classes, Smart has some gifted guys to work with. The secondary is absolutely loaded, and freshman Jacob Eason could be a star at quarterback. Running back Nick Chubb, when healthy, is one of the best players in the country. There will be growing pains. This is Smart's first job as a head coach, and he's replacing one of the best. If Smart can recruit and build like mentor Nick Saban did at Alabama, Georgia could end its title drought sooner rather than later.


Last national title: 1950

Mark Stoops would be the first tell you that the Wildcats are least equipped to win a championship. He's 12-24 in three seasons, and in the past two he's watched his team jump out to fast starts, only to miss the postseason. In three seasons, the Wildcats haven't been ranked higher than 11th in total defense (which is a shame when you consider Stoops' defensive background) or ninth in total offense in the SEC. The Cats have recruited well, but that hasn't translated enough onto the field. Now, there has been a complete offensive overhaul with the arrival Eddie Gran and his Playstation offense.

Kentucky could make a bowl game this year, but this program is nowhere near being a title contender, so the drought should linger for some time.


Last national title: 1962

Hugh Freeze has recruited to a level that the program has never seen. He's had two top-five recruiting classes in his four seasons, and has produced a 34-18 record -- the third-best winning percentage (.654) in the SEC among active coaches. Freeze has beaten Alabama in back-to-back seasons, and just watched a school-record three players get drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. Though the offensive line is replacing all five starters, there is experience up front and record-breaking quarterback Chad Kelly is back, along with another loaded defense.

Ole Miss has the tools for a title run in 2016, and has been to back-to-back New Year's Six bowls. However, final results from a recent NCAA investigation are looming, and new findings involving former star Laremy Tunsil could result in more punishment. If the Rebels are punished further, it could have a bigger impact on this current run.


Last national title: 1998

OK, so it hasn't even been 20 years for the Vols, but when you consider the talent that has graced that campus, it feels like an eternity. Since that last national championship, Tennessee has had four head coaches and zero SEC titles. Front-runner status has derailed seasons, but they hope things are different in 2016. With 18 starters returning, and Butch Jones' top-tier recruiting -- along with the questions surrounding every other division team -- Tennessee has been labeled the favorite to win the SEC East. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs is one of the most exciting players to watch and running back Jalen Hurd is a Heisman candidate. Four starting offensive linemen return, the defensive front seven is loaded, and there is a ton of speed and athleticism in the secondary.

Jones' win total has gone up by two games the past two seasons, and he enters his fourth season with a 21-17 record. There is no doubt Jones has turned things around in the talent department, and this team is ready to go on a title run. There is a Title IX lawsuit hanging over the school's head, but the school is prepared to fight it to the end. Still, it's something to keep an eye on.


Last national title: 1936

Many thought that title drought would come to an end early in Kevin Sumlin's tenure. He won 11 games with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in 2012, but excitement has cooled and Sumlin's seat has become hotter after back-to-back 8-5 seasons. There is drama swirling in and around the program. Both starting quarterbacks from 2015 transferred before the season was even over. Though Sumlin has exciting swag and flare, the wins and stability haven't been there recently, and expectations soar when you're making $5 million a year.

Texas A&M has all the resources, and elite talent is everywhere in Texas. In theory, the Aggies should be at the top of this list, but A&M is going to have to make strides in 2016 to get back into the championship talk.