SEC East predictions

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The parallels between the East and the West in the SEC are remarkable. Just like in the West, in the East you have three teams that can win most any year and three relative have nots that will have a difficult time ever competing for the East title. In any given year Florida, Tennessee and Georgia can win the East while South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are perennial longshots.

Its not that the lower tier SEC east teams are not good, they can sneak up on anyone as Kentucky proved by beating LSU. Its just that the talent level is much higher at Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. Indeed the separation between the lower tier and upper tier SEC East teams might be greater than it is in the West where Arkansas has won the west a few times(but never the SEC championship game. Since the league split into two divisions in 1992 no team other than Florida, Georgia or Tennessee has won the East.

The reason for that is the same as in the West. Florida, Georgia and Tennessee enjoy big recruiting advantages. There is not as much high school talent in South Carolina or Kentucky as there is in the talent rich states of Florida and Georgia. Tennessee dominates recruiting in Tennessee and does well nationally. Vanderbilt is at a disadvantage to all the other SEC schhools in recruiting because of more stringent academic requirements. Student athletes at Vanderbilt are required to be able to read and do long division, skills many athletes at the other SEC schools lack.

Just like in the SEC West, the lower tier teams have improved a good bit and while they are unlikely to win the East, they can help determine the outcome with upsets. Spurrier is recruiting well at South Carolina and they can be dangerous. Vanderbilt and Kentucky both played some great games last year. Vanderbilt lost a heartbreaker to Tennessee and should have beaten them while, as I previously mentioned, Kentucky beat my LSU national champion tigers(I hate writing that).

In 2008 I think Georgia and Florida are the teams to beat. What often determines the outcome of the SEC divisions is who has the easier home schedule, easier being a relative term since all SEC schedules are brutal. This year I think Georgia has the harder schedule playing LSU and Auburn on the road and Florida in Jacksonville. Florida gets LSU at home in 2008. Just as the odd yeard favor LSU with their home schedule, the even yeard favor Florida. I do not think Tennessee is as good as Georgia or Florida right now and think their 2008 schedule is really tough.

My predictions for the SEC East in 2008:

1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. South Carolina
4. Tennessee
5. Vanderbilt
6. Kentucky



Just like in the West it will be very difficult to finish with one or no losses in the East. You might very well see the East and West champions finishing with 6-2 conference records. If you can make it through an SEC schedule with only two losses, you have a very good team. Tennessee could easily be in the mix for the title, I dropped them down figuring South Carolina might sneak up on them and because Tennessee has a really difficult schedule this year.
 

JimEverett

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e What often determines the outcome of the SEC divisions is who has the easier home schedule
I think the away schedule is often more important, but the schedule in general is often controlling.

Florida has the easiest schedule this year, in aprt because the Coctail Party is an away game for them this year, meaning they only have 3 true away games in the SEC. Their two away games in the east are UT and VU. They also have the easiest western conference slate of the east teams, playing LSU, Ole Miss, and Arkansas - with only Arkansas on the road.

The next "easiest" schedule among the 4 contenders in USC. While they do have 3 road games in the east, 2 of them are very winnable - VU and UK. They do travel to the swamp. Their 3 west games are against Ole Miss, LSU and Arkansas with only Ole Miss on the road.

Next is Tennessee, they too have 3 East road games - UGA, USC, and VU. Their western slate is MSU, Bama, and Auburn - with only Auburn on the road.

Georgia has 2 east road games: USC and UK, along with the cocktail party. But their western schedule is hard as hell. Bama at home then on the road to LSU and Auburn.

I think Florida has to be the favorite based on schedule, but I don't like hte way they played late, and there seems to be some disent in the coaching ranks there. UGA has the best defense up front. Tennessee should be strong in the secondary, and have some talent up front. USC will be solid on defense. On offense they all have some question amrks - even Florida. the Gators better have some running backs because they saw what happens when Tebow gets gimpy. Odds are UGA will have a good running game, will their passing game be consistent? Tennessee has a talented but inexperienced QB, along with some good WRs, their running game should be better. USC's offense still seems like a big handicap for them.
 
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I'm gonna go:

1. Florida (7-1) (beats GA (angry about last year) & LSU (ditto, and in Gainesville))
2. Georgia (6-2) (Loses at LSU and to Florida, beats everyone else)
3. Tennessee (5-3) (Fulmer underachieves...again)
4. South Carolina (4-4) (The "Ole Ball Coach" just has too many tough games)
5. Kentucky (3-5) (The dream is over. Basketball starts in November.)
6. Vanderbilt (2-6) (If they didn't get to a bowl game last year, it'll be another 20 years.)
 
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I think the away schedule is often more important, but the schedule in general is often controlling.
Jim,I think we are thinking the same thing, I just wasnt saying it right.

Even years are hard for LSU because they have to travel to Florida and Auburn in the same year. So The good years for LSU are actually when they have the harder home schedule and easier away schedule.

Likewise the even years are better for Florida if for no other reason they dont have to travel to LSU. Even years are better for Auburn as well.
 
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JimEverett

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Jim,I think we are thinking the same thing, I just wasnt saying it right.

Even years are hard for LSU because they have to travel to Florida and Auburn in the same year. So The good years for LSU are actually when they have the harder home schedule and easier away schedule.

Likewise the odd years are better for Florida if for no other reason they dont have to travel to LSU. Odd years are better for Auburn as well.
Yeah - I guess you can say it either way.

Games v. the other division are, of course, also important. For example, I think Tennessee had an easier schedule last year - their two changing opponents were Arkansas and MSU. This year Auburn replaces Arkansas - and its on the road.

But other things come into play as well. For example, I think LSU's 2006 team was better than last year's team. Their schedule was just brutal in 2006 (the hardest I have seen in a very long time).
Anyway - I am really looking forward, as always, to the upcoming season. One thing I will say right now is that I think there is a strong chance that Florida continues to play the way it did later in the season last year. It may sound like sour grapes - and maybe it is - but I am still not sold on Urban Meyer.
 
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I think UF is the team to beat in the East since UGA's schedule is just brutal, @LSU, UF in Jville, @Kentucky, @Auburn in a four week span.
 

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Allready making exuses......
I don't know. I think he makes a good point. The LSU game is going to be an all-out fight to the finish. UGA feels they have something to prove after last year and it's just going to be a great game. They are probably going to be pretty banged up going into the Florida game and worn out from the week before. I think the winner of the UF and UGA game will take the SEC EAST.

I'm predicting Florida vs. Awbarn in the SECCG this year, and a Florida championship (assuming Tebow makes it through the year with the way he runs. I have no clue how he didn't get decapitated last year with the way he plays.)

And potentially with enough lucky bounces, I say Florida wins the national title as well.

However if Les Miles pulls the coach of the year honors next year and we get a bunch of lucky bounces and make it to the SECCG, then I say we will beat Florida in the SECCG. I think we will be a much better team at the end of the year, than the start of the year.

No way does Tennessee get that lucky again and make it to the SECCG. They definitely weren't the best team in the East last year, but hey, sometimes you get lucky!
 

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The problem with Florida is Tim Tebow. He will win and lose them games because of the way he plays the game He was only a sophomore so obviously he can improve, but Tebow cannot win late in a game when he's forced to just drop back and throw. He can improve and if he does improve, then he's the top pick in the draft next year, but from what I have seen, when everyone in the stadium knows he's gonna throw, he drowns. Something is wrong when you'd rather have Matt Flynn in a 2 minute drill rather than the heisman trophy winning QB. Granted, Flynn had an extra 3 years, which is why Florida has much to look forward to.

Stafford, on the other hand has come around in that regard much quicker. Add in a more talented defense than Florida and I have to give UGA the top spot in the SEC East next year. If Tebow learns to be a purer drop back QB, then it'll be Florida next year.
 

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Tim Tebow was the first sophomore EVER to win the Heisman, and I'm assuming he's only going to get better. He's the type of guy who can win a game almost by himself. I agree he needs to rely more on the passing, but they have a stud running back now that should make a world of difference from what I'm hearing, so I really think that's going to help their passing game.

In the end, I think playing Florida right after LSU will just prove too much for UGA.
 
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The problem with Florida is Tim Tebow. .
I would say Florida has a scary team if Tim Tebow is their main problem. Thats a problem I would like to have. I saw him play against LSU as a freshman in Gainesville and then again this past year at LSU.

I understand your point that he might not be the best dropback quarterback in college, but he is probably the best football player in college. Is I was looking for a liabilty on Florida's team, quarterback wouldnt be where I would start.

I think a quarterback is best measured by the total package which includes all of his skills and his intangibles. Tebow has a certain moxie about him. He is probably the last quarterback in the league I would want to see in the last two minutes of a game with my team nursing a 6 point lead.
 

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Too me Georgia, is still too young to handle all the pressure of an SEC schedule....

However, I believe Florida's defense is still gonna be below average, so too me its up in the Air.... South Carolina, can very well sneak up on one of these teams and be the spoiler, or even wind up in the SECCG....

I think Tenn, Kent, and Vandy or out....
 

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