For the better part of the last decade, the SEC West was undoubtedly better than the East. Alabama dominated and LSU had a spectacular run in 2019 while teams like Florida and Tennessee went through dry spells. Since 2012, a team from the West has won the SEC title every year, save for Georgia’s 2017 win. However, the tides might be turning (no pun intended).
Georgia’s National Championship win last year validated the talent in the Eastern division. Finally, someone from the East proved Alabama was mortal. UGA’s progress looks sustainable as Kirby Smart has continued to recruit at a high level and pull in top-notch transfers like Arik Gilbert. This wouldn’t be a conversation if it just ended there, though. The rest of the SEC East is looking formidable too.
The Best of the Rest
As I wrote yesterday, Tennessee looks legit. Hendon Hooker is the perfect quarterback to lead the team as they face a critical stretch of the schedule. Their real litmus test will come soon against Alabama.
Kentucky, long known as a basketball school, has really improved the past couple years under Mark Stoops. After winning 10 games last season, UK has started off 4-0 and has even vaulted into the top ten. Saturday brings a tough test against Ole Miss, but the Wildcats look like they can weather the storm.
Florida and Mizzou are some other SEC East schools that have potential, but haven’t lived up to it so far. Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson is one of the most athletic players in the nation, but hasn’t seen consistency throwing the ball. At their best, UF can beat quality teams like Utah, but they need some work.
Missouri gave Auburn quite the fright on Saturday, but fumbled inches away from the win. While they’re definitely towards the bottom of the pecking order in the East, don’t count the Tigers out. An upset could happen at any time, and Saturday proved that.
Combined with Alabama looking mortal, Auburn and LSU going through some struggles, and Texas A&M’s loss to App State, the Eastern division looks like it’s closing the power divide between divisions. We’ll see if that’s true in the next few weeks: along with UK and Ole Miss squaring off, Tennessee plays Alabama soon and there’s also Florida-LSU.