Does Anybody Want to Win the SEC East?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 22, 2014

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel
Missouri head coach Gary PinkelEd Zurga/Getty Images

Are there any teams in the SEC East that want to step up to the big-boy table?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Georgia was the talk of the college football world after Week 1 when it outmanned Clemson between the hedges. How did it follow that up in its Week 3 game? By dropping a heartbreaker on the road to South Carolina, which had already been trounced by Texas A&M.

As it stands right now, the only SEC East teams without conference losses are the ones that haven't played SEC games.

Current SEC East Standings
RankTeamOverall RecordSEC Record
1.South Carolina3-12-1
2.Florida2-11-1
3.Missouri3-10-0
4.Tennessee2-10-0
5.Georgia2-10-1
6.Kentucky2-10-1
7.Vanderbilt1-30-2
ESPN.com

That left the door open for Missouri, a team that had looked good up until last weekend. Then Indiana happened, and Missouri suffered one of the most embarrassing losses of the season by any SEC program.

Florida? The Gators somehow managed to pair a consistently woeful offense with a surprisingly dreadful defense through the first three games.

Tennessee and Missouri don't have conference losses yet, but the way things are shaping up, they'll just join the fray of what looks like a traffic jam of mediocre-at-best teams.

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Instead of Georgia getting right on defense, South Carolina taking the next step and Florida getting right, the SEC East looks like it has taken a step back. Similar to the SEC West, it will cannibalize itself. Unlike the SEC West, though, it will do so in a tragic way, one that feels like the champ is the team that lost the least rather than a strong program that went out and won the title.

For comparison, it will be a lot like 2010.

South Carolina won the East that season with a 9-3 record and a 5-3 record within the conference, and four of the six teams in the division at that time had sub-.500 records in the SEC.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt
Georgia head coach Mark RichtUSA TODAY Sports

With every team in the division having major flaws, history is going to repeat itself.

South Carolina's defense has struggled, it already has a loss, and it has to go on the road to Auburn later in the year. Georgia didn't fix its pass defense, and pass-happy teams like Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky remain on the schedule in addition to the home game with defending conference champ Auburn. Missouri's defense struggled and didn't slow down Indiana, a mediocre Big Ten team. Florida's problems seem to be getting worse, not better. Tennessee is young up front, Kentucky is still building and Vanderbilt is back to being "Vanderbilt."

Have any of those teams done anything to inspire confidence that they can step up to be elite?

Florida head coach Will Muschamp
Florida head coach Will MuschampKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nope.

This is just a flawed year in the SEC East. It doesn't have to be—and won't be—permanent, but the flaws that exist on each team are not flaws that can be fixed overnight. 

Georgia has had an entire offseason to fix its pass defense, yet the corners can't cover and the linebackers—Ramik Wilson, in particular—can't help but bite on play action even when it's clearly play action. South Carolina's secondary issues and Tennessee's inability to generate pressure are a direct result of youth and inexperience. Missouri looked like it missed Michael Sam, Kony Ealy and E.J. Gaines immensely Saturday.

The SEC East is a Dumpster fire at the moment, and once the SEC schedule begins in earnest, it'll act as gasoline.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.