2014 Odds to Win the SEC East Division for College Football with Picks and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 7/24/2014
When it comes to the SEC East, the bigger question isn't which team is going to win the division but whether the division members can quit embarrassing themselves and actually be relevant in the greater SEC picture again. For too long the East has been the little sister of the SEC - fodder for whatever team wins the West in the SEC Championship Game. The West is again the stronger division, but there could be some cracks in their armor. So, can the East rise again? And which team will lead the way? Here are the odds to win the SEC East Division for college football, with picks and predictions thrown in as well.
The odds (from Bovada)
South Carolina (7/4)
Breaking it all down
Georgia: Running back Todd Gurley could be the best offensive player in the league. They have some talent on defense as well. I just don't see how they have enough to win it all, though. For starters, they are about to find out what life without Aaron Murray is like, and that could be rough. They also have a coach in Mark Richt who has made a science of failing to meet full potential in recent years. The good news, though, and probably the reason they can be considered the lukewarm favorites they are, is that their schedule is more than manageable. If they can survive a brutal second-week test at South Carolina - which I would not bet on - then they only really have two challenging conference games left. Florida is on a neutral field in Jacksonville, and they play Auburn at home. I am far from a believer, but I couldn't really argue with you if you were - at least in this division.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks lose Connor Shaw at QB, but they are still going to be able to score a lot of points. That's not really a concern. What is a concern, though, is their ability to play defense. They lose top draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, though you could argue that the gain for the team of losing his distraction more than makes up for his contribution on the field last year. Their schedule is manageable, and this is a program that has won 11 games three straight years. If I had to pick one team to win the division - and I do - it would certainly be these Gamecocks.
Florida: Believing in this team means believing that Will Muschamp is capable of turning this team around and that yet another change of direction for the program this year is going to work when others haven't. I'm not buying what they are selling. They should be better than last year, but that certainly doesn't mean that they will be good enough to win. I have no interest in betting on them here.
Missouri: They are the defending champions of the division, so they deserve respect. Despite that, though, there is no value in this price. I really like the upside of QB Maty Mauk, but there are too many other reasons to doubt the team this year. For one, they had a freakishly high turnover differential last year, and I question their ability to replicate that this year. Second, they have lost a lot of talent - like seven starters on defense, for example. They needed all of the depth they had last year due to injuries. Less depth this year means more concerns. Third, they have a three-week stretch that is brutal - at South Carolina, at home against Georgia, and at Florida. That could be rough for this team. Too rough.
Tennessee: I like Butch Jones as a long-term choice at coach here. He inherited a total mess, though, and in his second year he isn't going to be able to be much further ahead than his 5-7 debut last year. No coach could be. The schedule is tough, the roster is very young, and they don't have a QB. I could go on, but you get the point - they aren't going anywhere.
Kentucky: Is Andre Woodson coming out of retirement to play QB? Nope. No reason at all for hope, then. Mark Stoops will improve things in Lexington, but it will take a long while.
Vanderbilt: Has James Franklin changed his mind and returned to Vandy? Wouldn't matter - there are issues galore.
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