It took me about 15 minutes to figure out who was going to win the SEC Western Division. It has taken me a few weeks to do the same for the SEC East. Mainly because, there are three teams that have a excellent shot to win the division. After much thinking and pondering I have come to my preview for the SEC Eastern Division, without further delay, here they are.
6. Kentucky Wildcats
2010 Season: (6-7, 2-6)
Wins: Western Kentucky, Central Michigan, Louisville, Jacksonville St., Ole Miss
Losses: Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi St., Vanderbilt, Georgia, Tennessee
The problem for Kentucky is that they are full of youth, particularly at quarterback, and there just simply isn’t much room to move in the SEC. The key game for Kentucky is the Vanderbilt game, stop laughing I’m being serious. That will be the difference from them ending or continuing their bowl streak.
T5. Vanderbilt Commodores
2010 Season: (2-10, 1-7)
Wins: Elon, UConn, Ole Miss, Army, Kentucky, Wake Forest
Losses: South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee
Again, stop laughing, yes as of today I have Vanderbilt going bowling in December. The main reason is that I see something interesting in Nashville, due to James Franklin, he was able to snag a couple of 4-star athletes for this year’s recruiting class. And when you look at their schedule it is very conducive to a bowl season. Victories over a very bad Ole Miss team, and a home game against Kentucky are not out of the realm.
T5. Tennessee Volunteers
2010 Season: (6-7, 3-5)
Wins: Montana, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Middle Tennessee St., Vanderbilt, Kentucky
Losses: Florida, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas
Tennessee, much like Kentucky, are fighting to stay relevant in a three-team division. In order for Tennessee to re-emerge they have to knock off a someone big. Unfortunately they don’t have the recipe for that this season. They draw all three monsters from the West (at Alabama, LSU, at Arkansas), and all three from the East (at Florida, Georgia, South Carolina). Just not a lot of wiggle room for Tennessee.
3. Florida Gators
2010 Season: (8-5, 4-4) (Outback Bowl Champions)
Wins: Florida Atlantic, UAB, Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Furman
Losses: Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Florida St.
Whether Florida wants to admit it or not, they are in restructuring mode. They are tearing down the spread offense and moving to a pro-style offense. I believe Charlie Weis will do great things at Florida, but it will take some time. Florida starts of the year with no real big competition. We will find out when Florida meets Alabama and LSU back-to-back weeks. Overall though I think Florida will have a solid season, and who knows with a break or two a trip to Atlanta isn’t out of the question.
2. South Carolina Gamecocks
2010 Season: (9-5, 5-3) (SEC Eastern Division Champions)
Wins: East Carolina, Navy, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, The Citadel, Clemson
Losses: Georgia, Mississippi St., Arkansas
The common theme for those three losses, all are road games. South Carolina is a very good team, but I don’t think they have enough to win on the road in these big games. Steve Spurrier still hasn’t resolved his quarterback issues yet, no matter how good of a game Steven Garcia had against Alabama, he still hasn’t produced when the Gamecocks needed him most. Remember Spurrier has lost at least five games every year since he has been at South Carolina. I think he breaks that streak, but I don’t see South Carolina in Atlanta.
1. Georgia Bulldogs
2010 Season: (6-7, 3-5)
Wins: Boise St., South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi St., Tennessee, Vanderbilt, New Mexico St., Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia Tech
Schedule, schedule, schedule, when you don’t draw Arkansas, Alabama, or LSU as part of your rotation this year, boy you got a heck of a draw. I still have some concern with Mark Richt in the Cocktail Party (a game that Florida has owned the last few years). However, with the lone bright spot last year being Aaron Murray, couple that with a fantastic schedule, I finally have committed to Georgia winning the SEC Eastern Division.