SEC Football 2011 East Division Preview: Beware of Georgia Dawgs

Allen SmithContributor IAugust 29, 2011

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 27:  The Georgia Bulldogs enter the field to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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)

    2011 Season

         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)

      2011 Season

          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)

      2011 Season

          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)

     2011 Season

         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)

     2011 Season

        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)

     2011 Season

         Wins:  Boise St., South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi St., Tennessee,  Vanderbilt, New Mexico St., Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia Tech

         Losses:  Florida

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.