Kirk Herbstreit will be a busy man this time next week. He’ll be gearing up for ESPN’s flagship show College GameDay and ready for a busy and grueling college football season.

Herbstreit’s take on the SEC is always interesting. Recently, he unveiled his College Football Playoff predictions: Michigan State, UCLA, Alabama and Florida State. He ultimately thinks Florida State wins back-to-back national championships.

While in Jacksonville this week at the Jacksonville Sports Council’s inaugural Speaker Series luncheon, he said who he thought would win the SEC East, and also cautioned fans not to take his predictions too personally.

“I stay up late at night worrying about these [predictions] things because people, people just take predictions so seriously,” Herbstreit said. “Let me just say, please, if you can pass this on, it’s nothing personal when I make predictions, or anybody, Lee Corso.

“I mean, people take our predictions. All you’re saying, I like Georgia in the East, I think Hutson Mason will come together, [Todd] Gurley, good schedule, I think they got a shot. And then Florida or South Carolina … It’s like I knocked on their door and they answered their front door and I smacked them across their face as hard as I could.”

Herbstreit is always cautious when making picks. He had to move from Columbus, Ohio, because even OSU fans were ruthless.

The SEC East is one of the most interesting storylines of 2014. Most figure South Carolina and Georgia to be the teams to beat, while Florida and Missouri are viewed more as dark-horse candidates, despite the Gators having more than enough talent and Missouri being SEC East defending champions.

The biggest reason the Eastern division is a four-team race is because of so much parity. Of the four, only Florida returns its starting quarterback, and of the four, the Gators should also have the best defense. South Carolina has recorded three straight 11-win seasons, and Georgia has college football’s best player in Todd Gurley and could have the conference’s best offense. And we haven’t even started talking about defending SEC East winners Missouri yet, who could have a budding superstar in quarterback Maty Mauk.

Herbstreit likes the Bulldogs’ offense, and he ultimately thinks new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt can right the ship and help simplify the defense and lead the Bulldogs to Atlanta.