Happy 4th of July, and I expect a few fireworks from Gainesville due to this outlook. For those that haven’t had the chance to read my SEC West Outlook, click here. As for the last article I’ll use the same format, I’ll go in order from most likely to least likely to head to Atlanta. Again do not assume that because one team is better than the other because team A is on top of team B. All this article states is that who has the better shot at getting to Atlanta, not necessarily the best team.
SEC Eastern Division
Georgia (Independence Bowl Champions)
Now before all the Gator fans begin to scream, here is the reason, well three: schedule, schedule, and most importantly schedule. If you look at Georgia’s schedule it is tailor-made for a great year for the Bulldogs.
The only tough game is against Florida, and even if they lose the game, that is likely to be the only conference loss for them. The only hiccup could be the South Carolina game, but somehow the Gamecocks seem to always lose that game.
I know they may not be the best team, but I think they have the best chance to get to Atlanta.
Florida (SEC Eastern Division Champions, Sugar Bowl Champions)
Even though I think Georgia will have the best chance of winning the East, I think Florida is a better team. Georgia doesn’t have to face the West’s terrible twosome in Alabama (away) and LSU (home). Thus even if Florida wins the Cocktail Party I can see them losing both of those games, relegating the victory over Georgia to nothing more than a nice win.
Plus there is a tricky game on the road to Tennessee, with that being the new Florida crew’s first road test, who knows what can happen, I don't see them losing the game, but you never you know with that being Brantley's first SEC road game. Florida can win the East, but they will have a far more difficult test to win it than Georgia
By far the Gamecocks have the most experienced QB in Stephen Garcia, and if he and Coach Spurrier can get on the same page, they can make some noise. If Florida and Georgia stumble South Carolina could be sitting pretty to take advantage.
However, they will have to digest Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Florida, thus I don’t give them the greatest shot, but they have a puncher’s chance at getting to the Peach State for a early December date.
Kentucky & Tennessee
I put these two teams together, since they both are breaking in new coaches I would give Kentucky the slightest edge since Joker Phillips is transitioning from Rich Brooks, and Derek Dooley is laying down a new foundation for the Volunteers.
The games they play against the three teams about will say more about those teams than the Wildcats or the Volunteers, even though I don't give them much of a chance to compete for the SEC Championship, I do think they will have a lot to say on who will represent the East.
Not much explanation is needed here, Vanderbilt is at the bottom of the SEC nearly every year. Bobby Johnson should be given credit for getting the Commodores a Music City Bowl victory two years ago. But I can say pretty comfortably that Vanderbilt chances are slim to none of winning the division, with slim walking out the door.
So there you have it, if you use deductive reasoning, the most likely SEC Championship Game scenario (in my opinion) is Alabama and Georgia. But don’t mistaken this for me saying that Florida has no shot, all I’m saying is that Georgia has the BEST shot. I wouldn't be surprised at all if we saw Alabama versus Florida for the SEC title for the eighth time overall, and the third time in a row.