Georgia: The Bulldogs have a stud gamebreaker in defensive end Jarvis Jones. In a scenario that will play out again, Mizzou took a lead but lacked the overall depth to compete deep into the second half which is where wins are secured in this conference. UGA is playing well, and building depth on defense as key Georgia defenders continue to miss time. Georgia has the schedule to be in Atlanta.
Tennessee: Dooley’s Vols are favored this week at home over Florida. Juco transfer Cordarrelle Patterson has stepped in for dismissed Da’Rick Rodgers and gives Bray a legit second option Tennessee will have to win up front against a talented Gator D if he is going to notch his first win over a ranked opponent. If Dooley can knock off the Gators, the SEC East is a three team race.
Florida: Muschamp’s Gators went on the road and found a way to win in the second half in a game that the 2010 and 2011 Gators would have lost. Driskel was efficient throwing the ball and the UF staff made the necessary adjustments at half time to put the clamps on Johnny Manziel in the second half. Florida-Tennessee is an elimination game on Saturday.
South Carolina: South Carolina gutted out a tough road win in conference to open the season and found out that Dylan Thompson is at least a capable back up if Connor Shaw is forced to miss time. Shaw’s health and improved passing will be the key to an SEC East title. The division title still looks to be a UGA/ Carolina fight, but Carolina has some questions to answer.
Missouri: It looked like Mizzou may have knocked off the Bulldogs until Jarvis Jones took over. The bad news for the Tigers is there are several players of his caliber remaining on their slate. Missouri does not have the depth on the line of scrimmage to compete for division titles yet.
Vanderbilt—So, about that ‘James Franklin is taking over the SEC East’ thing. It looked like South Carolina beat the Commodores twice. No doubt, Vandy invested a lot in the opener and when they failed to close the deal, had trouble recovering in time for Northwestern. This team still has enough talent to beat anyone in the East if they bring the A game.
Kentucky—Kentucky is not very good. A win over Kent State does not cool down Joker Phllips’ seat. It will take a lot for this team to get to 6 wins.
A note: I’m basing the trending up or trending down based on preseason perception, thus Florida is looking a little better than folks thought and South Carolina is looking like people thought.
1. Georgia: Playmakers on defense and a talented veteran quarterback. If UGA doesn’t win East, Richt will be facing some heat.
2. South Carolina: Can Shaw stay healthy during the stretch run? Good thing he has Lattimore and a stout D to depend on.
3/4. Florida and Tennessee are tied here. Saturday night, one will still be in the race, the other will be checking flights to Atlanta or Tampa around New Years.
5. Missouri: Tigers can compete but lack overall depth to finish games.
6. Vanderbilt: Not your older brother’s Vandy, but not the new shiny one James Franklin promised you either.
7. Kentucky: Bringing up the rear.
Bryant Roberts is a life long SEC fan, has 2 autographed pictures of Steve Spurrier, is addicted to BBQ, and a graduate of Presbyterian College. Follow him on twitter here.
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.