Handicapping the SEC East: Predicting first to last
We all can agree the SEC East will be top-heavy this fall.
But which team will come out on top and challenge the Western winner inside the Georgia Dome to try and snap a six-year championship game losing streak?
As often is the case, that’s debatable.
This week, I’ve tried to predicting the 2015 order of finish in the Eastern Division using four compartmental rankings, assigning a team’s value to each.
I’ll continue to publish our annual SDS’ preseason Crystal Ball game-by-game prediction series in August, but heading into June we’ve decided to unveil our order of finish in each division a bit earlier than usual. Colleague Christopher Smith published his predictions on the SEC West’s order of finish last week.
‘Handicapping the 2015 SEC East’ series
- Handicapping the SEC East by ranking the offenses
- Handicapping the SEC East by ranking the defenses
- Handicapping the SEC East by ranking the coaching staffs
- Handicapping the SEC East By ranking the x-factors
Here are the results of my rankings in each category, as well as an overall SEC East prediction based on those rankings:
|4. South Carolina||3||5||3||5||16|
As I see it, there are three teams in the East with a chance to win the division in 2015 and that’s Georgia, Mizzou and Tennessee. The other four simply do not possess staying power at the top and do not have the talent to manage a 7-1 or 6-2 conference finish. I feel confident in Georgia’s chances as a College Football Playoff darkhorse, but I think based on Mizzou’s schedule, the Tigers could certainly earn a third consecutive trip to Atlanta and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. After all, Mizzou has the division’s best coaching staff and most favorable x-factor variables according to the chart listed above.
Tennessee is the squad that could make the most noise during Butch Jones’ third season. The winner of the Tennessee-Mizzou game will go a long way in determining the winner of this division and like Georgia, the Vols must split cross-divisional games against quality competition to win the East. The Bulldogs and Vols take on Alabama this season, but Georgia gets the luxury of playing the Crimson Tide between the hedges.