Earlier this week in this spot I broke down the SEC West win totals. Today I venture across the South to look into the win totals for the SEC East. There is no question that in terms of overall strength, the West is the dominant force in the SEC.
Alabama is seeking a fourth national title in five years while LSU and Auburn have also recently won national championships. With that said, the East will not go quietly. Georgia and South Carolina are my favorites for the East Division, but Florida cannot be ruled out as a contender.
How much better will Tennessee be under a new coach? Can Vanderbilt repeat their success from last year? Will the strong recruiting class at Kentucky reap benefits right away? Will newcomer Missouri continue to be a threat to teams when they travel to Columbia?
This and more as I break down the East.
Florida 8.5 (-160 over/+130 under) – The Gators enter 2013 motivated by a humiliating Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville. QB Jeff Driskel is back but there are newcomers in the secondary and in the backfield. Florida has road games at LSU, Miami, Kentucky and Missouri and of course the neutral field game with Georgia. I’m going with the under here.
Georgia 9.5 (-150 over/+120 under) – If the Dawgs survive the first two games (at Clemson, home with South Carolina) then this could be a special year in Athens. QB Aaron Murray and a great backfield returns but the defense has holes to fill. They have favorable road games at Vandy, Auburn and Tennessee. I like the over for Georgia.
Kentucky 4.5 (+135 over/-160 under) – UK opens with two winnable non-conference games before running a four-game gauntlet in five weeks. The Wildcats play Louisville, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. The good news? Only South Carolina is a road trip. The other non-conference games include Alcorn State, Miami, OH and Western Kentucky. I think this will be an improved Wildcats’ team and I like the over.
Missouri 6 (-135 over/+105 under) – The Tigers have a great chance to be 4-0 with a very weak non-conference slate but then it gets tough. Much tougher. In October they have three straight games against Georgia, Florida and South Carolina with the latter two at home. They also have Texas A&M at home in November. Assuming they go 4-0 to start, I’ll take the over.
South Carolina 9.5 (-110 over/-120 under) – The Gamecocks return the best defender in college football in Jadeveon Clowney and have Connor Shaw back at QB. Other than a trip to Georgia in week two, the schedule is kind to Steve Spurrier and company. They get North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi State and Clemson at home. The week two contest will determine the East race and either way I like the over.
Tennessee 6 (-105 over/-125 under) – Butch Jones takes over the Vols with a good track record behind him at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Both of those programs were in great shape however compared to what he has in Knoxville. Tennessee has road games at Oregon, Florida and Alabama and home dates with Georgia and South Carolina. The other three non-conference games are winnable but I think Jones struggles in year one. Take the under.
Vanderbilt 7 (-125 over/-105 under) – The Commodores enter the 2013 season with high expectations. They come off a bowl win over NC State and a 9-4 record. They won’t sneak up on anyone this year and that could be the problem. Vandy has road games at Florida, at South Carolina and at Texas A&M. They have home dates with Georgia and open the season at home against Ole Miss in conference play. I like Vandy to get back to a bowl but it will be with six wins.