It’s Christmas Eve – Merry Christmas! We’ve already looked at the SEC West’s Wish List. Here’s the East’s:
Florida: A star wide receiver
The Gators are 11-1 and ranked #3 in the country. It’s hard to wish for much more. The Gators’ offense has transformed from a soft team into a physical running attack in little could have projected. But with respect to the passing game, the Gators lack a star at wide receiver. In fact, there is no game breaker on the team who can make a big play when they catch the ball in space. Florida’s best weapon is tight end Jordan Reed, but there is an obvious lack of playmakers and game breakers at the receiver position. The Gators haven’t had a star receiver since Percy Harvin. Four receivers are currently committed for the 2013 recruiting class, though.
Georgia: Aaron Murray to return for his senior season
Georgia will lose a ton of talent to the NFL this season on defense. As many as ten players could be gone on defense, but Georgia’s main weapon this season has been quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray has thrown for three consecutive 3,000-yard seasons, and he could come back to do it once more, instead of heading to the NFL. If Murray returns, Georgia’s offense will be explosive yet another season, especially with the emergence of Todd Gurley, and Georgia will be in the SEC East title picture again.
Mark Stoops knows the task that’s ahead of him: make Kentucky football relevant. Joker Phillips took over a team that was relevant from Rich Brooks, but he didn’t last long in just three seasons. Kentucky doesn’t want to win SEC East Championships, but they do want seven or eight win seasons and win bowl games. That’s winning at Kentucky. It’s not a knock on the program or any of the players; it’s just the reality of the job. After a 2-10 2012 season, Big Blue Nation is ready to turn the page and find some relevancy in the SEC East.
Missouri: James Franklin’s 2011 form to return
The James Franklin we saw in the SEC isn’t the same Franklin that dominated the Big 12 last season. The ‘11 Franklin combined for 3,846 yards and 36 touchdowns on offense, leading Missouri to finish 12th in the country total offense. However, thanks to injuries, offensive line attrition and SEC defenses, it was a totally different year for Franklin. He combined for only 1,684 yards and 10 touchdowns – and no rushing touchdowns – on the season. So, Missouri would gladly wish Franklin will transform back into his 2011 form under new offensive coordinator Josh Henson.
South Carolina: 21 other Jadeveon Clowneys
Could you imagine 21 other Jadeveon Clowneys who are so dominant at their position running around on the same team? If Carolina had one wish, it would be just that. Clowney will dominate college football in his junior season like Shaq would dominate 8’ rims at the playground. Not fair. Now, however, the Gamecocks do hope that they can replace Devin Taylor opposite Clowney so teams can’t double team the freak on the end.
Tennessee: Beat Florida
Winning or losing just one game doesn’t make or break an entire season. But if you look over the history of Florida-Tennessee rivalry since the early 90’s, the winner usually controls the East. Now, with Butch Jones leading the squad into battle next season, he’ll be fighting against Florida in week three in Gainesville. The Gators have won eight in a row, and the Vols were arguably in control of the game before the second-half meltdown this season in Neyland Stadium.
Vanderbilt: James Franklin to build Vandy like Stanford
‘Stanford of the East’ sounds like a great goal for Vanderbilt and James Franklin moving forward in the future. Academic standards are strict at both schools, yet Stanford has risen to heights in college football few thought they could get to in the challenging Pac-12. Now, it’s Vanderbilt’s turn to do things not possible in the SEC. And starting with a nine-win season in ‘12 and back-to-back bowl games is a great place hang your hat in Franklin’s second season. Vanderbilt’s continued march into SEC relevancy has been fun to watch, and we’re going to find out if Franklin can make them championship caliber.
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