If 2021 served as “revenge of the SEC East” then what will the sequel look like? The Georgia Bulldogs have now planted its flag atop college football’s highest summit for the first time since 1980 and now the pressure is on to run it back. While the Bulldogs are everyone’s clear-cut favorites, the rest of the division may want to have something to say about things as well.
Could 2022 finally be Kentucky’s time to shine? Are we really primed for a Tennessee football resurgence? Did the Florida Gators finally hit a home run with a coaching search? All this and much more will be answered beginning in just a week’s time when Mizzou hosts Louisiana Tech to help kick off the college football season.
SEC East Predicted Order of Finish
- Georgia (11-1)
- Tennessee (9-3)
- Kentucky (8-4)
- Missouri (7-5)
- Florida (7-5)
- South Carolina (6-6)
- Vanderbilt (3-9)
It seems unlikely that Georgia will relinquish the division just yet despite having 15 players taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. Quarterback Stetson Bennett returns and Kirby Smart has been loading that cupboard in Athens for six years now. They managed to get over the daunting Alabama hurdle last season and were rarely tested by the remaining six teams in the division.
Most Underrated Team
Tennessee. Josh Heupel’s team didn’t exactly explode on the scene last season but there are signs of an upswing. Hendon Hooker provides much needed stability at the quarterback position and there is capable talent in Knoxville. Look for the Vols to come back, not quite ALL the way back, but possibly back enough to finish second in the East. Is there an overrated team in this division? It could be argued that expectations are fairly accurate given last year’s occurrences vs what we know heading in to this year.
Most Impactful Newcomer
Luther Burden (WR Missouri). The Tigers landed the services of the nation’s top receiver prospect last October. Burden is the type of talent that could help elevate Missouri from a perception standpoint as Eli Drinkwitz continues to recruit well in Columbia.
Top Divisional Draft Pick In April
Jalen Carter (DT Georgia). Carter is one of the more physically imposing defensive players in the game. Don’t be surprised if he is a top-five pick in next year’s draft.
South Carolina. Things are actually looking up for the Gamecocks under Shane Beamer but they are a tough squad to handicap right now. South Carolina has some momentum coming into the season after beating up on rival North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in December.
Coaches on the Hot Seat
This is an interesting topic as the division is pretty rock solid right now coaching wise. Georgia and Kentucky are locked down. Could Clark Lea be in trouble at Vanderbilt if no improvement is shown? We know at a place like Tennessee that A 5-win season and coaching change could be just around the corner but Heupel is no where near a hot seat currently.
Eli Drinkwitz at Mizzou is interesting as the program fired Barry Odom after a 6-6 season and Drinkwitz has gone 11-12 in two years. Certainly not on the hot seat now but if the Tigers can’t get off that .500 line could there be rumblings?