2021-2022 SEC East preview
It's been a while since the SEC East witnessed dominance in the conference.
Sure, the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs are two of the most storied teams in the nation. But since 2009, they've accounted for nine division titles and only won one of them.
Even that year, the Playoff champion was an SEC West team.
Since the Playoff was introduced in 2014, only the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs have represented the SEC East there. 11 of the last 12 conference champions were from the SEC West. We always see a ton of NFL-caliber players in the East, but their teams somehow never manage to put it all together and compete for the championship.
Of course, it's not their fault that there's Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on the other side.
The SEC East Division is composed of seven teams:
- Florida Gators
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Kentucky Wildcats
- Missouri Tigers
- South Carolina Gamecocks
- Tennessee Volunteers
- Vanderbilt Commodores
Once again, it looks like the division will be decided between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs, who amassed the last six SEC East championships. The Bulldogs are the favorites this year and the Kentucky Wildcats are a dark-horse candidate - they have never played in an SEC Championship Game.
The Bulldogs are one of the best teams in the nation. Their defense is never weak with Kirby Smart on board and JT Daniels has one of the strongest arms in the country. They're not only favorites in the division but they can also pose a challenge for the national championship with a strong recruit once again.
Their main opponents will be the Florida Gators, who won the division in 2020 but lost a lot of talent after the season, especially with Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney heading to the NFL. The Kentucky Wildcats also present a threat coming from a third straight season with a bowl game victory, but the Wildcats haven't beaten the Bulldogs since 2009.
The talent gap to the other four teams is sizable. Missouri moved to the SEC East in 2012 and have won the division twice since then, but they haven't put together a nine-win season since 2014.
South Carolina has a new coach in Shane Beamer but you can't expect them to pose a threat this year, just as you can't expect a lot from Vanderbilt after they didn't win a single game last season. Tennessee could carve out a bowl season spot, but they will not compete for the division title.
Let's take a deep dive on the SEC East teams now, starting with the Florida Gators.