SEC East Football Preview 2011 by Gaurav Shastri

Contrary to the SEC West, the SEC East doesn’t have as many national title contenders, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some strong teams. Some of these teams may be very tough this season.

Georgia Bulldogs
2010 Record: 6-7 (3-5 SEC)
2010 Bowl Game: Liberty Bowl vs. UCF Knights, L 6-10
2011 Projection: 11-1 (8-0)

The Bulldogs have one of the easiest schedules in the league this season, and they’re a good team, which

aaron murray
Aaron Murray Senior QB for Georgia

means Georgia will probably have a great season. The QB, Aaron Murray, is considered one of the best in the SEC, and, despite losing AJ Green to the NFL, Isiah Crowell will carry the team in what is the most RB centered conference in the NCAA. Defense is where the problems could lie. The first two games could make or break their season, and the only team that can stop them is themselves. I’m predicting their only loss will be Week 1 at Boise State.

South Carolina Gamecocks
2010 Record: 9-5 (5-3)
2010 Bowl Game: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Florida St. Seminoles, L 17-26
2011 Projection: 10-2 (6-2)

The defending SEC East champions will not repeat this year. With Georgia’s easy schedule, and the troubling QB situation, the Gamecocks will only end up in second place. Senior Stephen Garcia, despite being the starter last year, will have to battle against Connor Shaw, the QB who replaced him in South Carolina’s spring game. Their defense has minimal problems, with DE Devin Taylor probably going to have his best season yet. Only Georgia and Arkansas will get the better of the Gamecocks this year.

Florida Gators
2010 Record: 8-5 (4-4)
2010 Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. Penn State Nittany Lions, W 37-24
2011 Projection: 8-4 (4-4)

New head coach Will Muschamp will definitely have his work cut out for him at the Swamp this season. With Urban Meyer gone, the entire team must try to learn Muschamp’s new system. And even though last year’s “Tebow hangover” may now be over, that doesn’t mean they’ve figured out their QB situation. Senior John Brantley is not the definite starter, despite having more experience than freshman Jeff Driskel. Their defense is what will win them games, especially with Muschamp at the helm, but I don’t think their offense will be enough to have them improve from last year. I’m predicting that their only losses will be at Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Tennessee Volunteers
2010 Record: 6-7 (3-5)
2010 Bowl Game: Music City Bowl vs. UNC Tarheels, L 27-30
2011 Projection: 6-6 (2-6)

The Volunteers are going to have some trouble within the SEC this year. Along with having to face the three best teams in the SEC west, they to face a strong Georgia team and Florida in the Swamp. And while they try to rebuild their program, the rest of the SEC isn’t waiting, which is why for the next few years, the Volunteers will consistently be mediocre. There is one bright spot on the team in sophomore Tyler Bray, who is one of the better QBs in the SEC. At best, the Volunteers are a .500 team this year.

Kentucky Wildcats
2010 Record: 6-7 (2-6)
2010 Bowl Game: BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Pittsburgh Panthers, L 10-27
2011 Projection: 6-6 (2-6)

Kentucky is another team that will be, at best, a .500 team. Morgan Newton, despite being a good

morgan newton
Morgan Newton Junior QB for Kentucky

QB, isn’t one that can make some progress for this team. They would be good team in any other division, but the SEC is too strong for them, which is why they’ll have trouble once the SEC schedule starts. Both offense and defense will need to step it up a lot if they want to be better than a .500 team.

Vanderbilt Commodores
2010 Record: 2-10 (1-7)
2010 Bowl Game: NONE
2011 Projection: 2-10 (0-8)

Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, the 2011 season will not treat them well. They face South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia in a row, and it doesn’t help that they didn’t have that great of a recruiting class and have a new coach’s system to get used to. Fortunately for them they have 18 starters returning, so there is a lot of experience on the team. And they have some bright spots in the LB Chris Marve and RB Warren Norman. In a couple of years, this team could be making some noise in the SEC.


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