Preseason College Football Rankings: 2012 SEC Football Preview, East Division

2012 SEC Football Preview: East Division

8/13/12 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   407 respect

With a warm welcome to Texas A&M and Missouri, the Southeastern Conference will attempt to take home a national championship for the seventh straight season.

And with five teams in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll top 10, the odds are in its favor.

There's no doubt that the SEC is the strongest conference in the country, with the West division being the most competitive.

Will a member of the SEC represent in the final BCS national championship probably isn't a valid question anymore, but which member will make the title run is viable.

That said, here's a prediction of how the East division will play out with the West coming soon.


EAST STANDINGS

Georgia Bulldogs: 10-2 (6-2)Blog Photo - Preseason College Football Rankings: 2012 SEC Football Preview, East Division

Despite losing starting running back Isaiah Crowell to team dismissal, Georgia returns a very good team and is expected to run the table in the East again. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray is once again expected to battle Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson for the All-SEC quarterback distinction. He has progressed very well this offseason and should be lights out. The offensive line has done a good job replacing two NFL draft picks, the receiver corps is strong, and although the backfield's depth is a bit light, there are still names that will rise and fire in the spotlight. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the SEC on the defensive side of the ball last year, and if the secondary can continue developing, it should improve on that statistic.

Missouri Tigers: 9-3 (5-3)

The success of the Missouri football program in its first season as a member of the SEC will be determined by the play of the offensive line. Usually a strength, the Tigers' line was sketchy and inconsistent throughout last year's campaign. The return of senior left tackle (and team captain) Elvis Fisher from a knee surgery will give the line a huge push, but depth is very thin and there is no room for injury. All other units are looking very strong, including a back seven that can be immediately considered as the best in the East.

South Carolina Gamecocks: 8-4 (5-3)

Quarterback Connor Shaw has worked very hard on becoming a more consistent passer to go along with his uncanny running abilities. The receiver corps is outstanding, and Marcus Lattimore is arguably the best running back in his class. Defensively, the front seven should be faster and stronger, which will help it improve from a poor outing last year against the run. If South Carolina plays as well as it looks on paper, it could strip Georgia of its title. But that's a big "IF," as the Gamecocks are notorious for screwing up at the worst of times (ex. last season against Auburn). But unfortunately for coach Spurrier and Co., they have to play both LSU and Arkansas this year.

Tennessee Volunteers: 7-5 (4-4)

The combination of quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter, Da'Rick Rodgers and Cordarrelle Patterson are one the best—if not the best—in the country. However, it all starts with the offensive line, which right now doesn't look all too great for the Volunteers. It doesn't open many holes for the running game, which puts a lot of pressure on the pass attack. There's plenty of room for improvement there, along with the defensive pass rush (or lack there of). It seems as if Tennessee football is back on its feet and kicking, but there are still many holes needing to be filled before it can be considered a contender once again.

Florida Gators: 7-5 (4-4)

The quarterback situation in Gainesville isn't a pretty one. John Brantley, once a highly-touted recruit, was a bust with the Gators simply because no one could help him develop to be the Pro-Style passer they wanted him to be. Florida has another shot with Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett, but neither have looked ready to take the reigns just yet and the offense will likely sputter just as it did in 2011. The defense was very good last year but was limited thanks to the offense, and there will be some improvement, but we'll see much of the same this fall.

Vanderbilt Commodores: 6-6 (3-5)

Coming off its first bowl appearance since 2008, Vanderbilt is poised to make another postseason run despite having less top-shelf talents than everyone else in the SEC. But check out the first half of its season: vs. South Carolina, at Northwestern, vs. Presbyterian, at Georgia, at Missouri, vs. Florida. It just doesn't get tougher than that, it'll be interesting to see if the Commodores can battle back and finish the latter half of the season strong against lesser-quality opponents.

Kentucky Wildcats: 3-9 (0-8)

The East is getting better and Kentucky's chance to thrive is over. It just doesn't belong in the SEC, not being able to put together decent recruiting classes and playing at a level of those in the Mid-American Conference (which UK should consider). The 'cats don't have a quarterback that's ready to perform, with mediocrity surrounding all other key positions. I'm not trying to bash the program here, I just don't think it deserves to be in the toughest conference in the nation.


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8/15/12   |   lloyddeavers   |   10 respect

lets go terps this year  lets go bowling