Our thrice-weekly SDS staff debate concludes with an SEC question with no real answer heading into the Week 4 action.


Brad Crawford (@BCrawfordSDS): South Carolina

South Carolina. I almost went with Mizzou here, but the Gamecocks get the Tigers at home — at night — in two weeks which is likely the toughest game left on the schedule for the defending Eastern Division champions. The Gamecocks moved into the driver’s seat with the win over Georgia and control their own destiny the rest of the way. Navigating through road trips to Auburn and Gainesville late in the season could spell doom for Steve Spurrier’s team, but as of now, holding the tiebreaker over the Dawgs — who may not lose again — will be crucial at season’s end. For the record, I think the East is wide open at this point and the last team left standing will be a multi-touchdown underdog in Atlanta.

Brett Weisband (@WeisbandSDS): Georgia

I have to go with Georgia, not necessarily because they’re going to be the best team, but because of their schedule. They already have their toughest road game out of the way, although it came with a loss to the Gamecocks. The Bulldogs got the good luck of facing Auburn at home, while as always they get Florida at a neutral site. Meanwhile, South Carolina still has to travel to Auburn and Gainesville, while Missouri makes trips to the other Columbia (S.C.) and Florida. If the Bulldogs handle their trip to face Missouri in a few weeks, they jump right back into the driver’s seat. In the SEC East, it’s not necessarily about being the best team, but having the most favorable schedule that can push you to the top.

Jon Cooper (@JonSDS): Georgia

Georgia still has the most talent of any team in the SEC East, and I still like Georgia. You know how many times since 2010 the winner of the UGA-South Carolina game has made it to Atlanta? You guessed it … zero. So, the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs, but that doesn’t mean they’re out. Georgia still has Malcolm Mitchell injured, along with Justin Scott-Wesley, and the defense will improve throughout the season. Questions still remain, however, about Hutson Mason, but getting back injured receivers will certainly help, not to mention the Bulldogs have the country’s best player in Todd Gurley. Missouri and Florida are two unknowns that haven’t played primo competition yet, although you could make a case for Mizzou as the SEC East’s favorite with Maty Mauk torching defenses. I still like Georgia, and they match up the best against any SEC West team.

Ethan Levine (@EthanLevineSDS): South Carolina

The South Carolina Gamecocks reestablished themselves as the favorites in the SEC East following their 38-35 win over the Georgia Bulldogs last weekend. The Bulldogs entered the game with an extra week to prepare, while South Carolina was coming off a tough game against a feisty East Carolina squad. Nevertheless, the Gamecocks took care of business on their home field, and they are now set up to cement their place atop the East standings. The division is wide-open, but South Carolina’s schedule sets up the most favorably of the East contenders the remainder of the season. Both South Carolina and Georgia have one loss in SEC play, but South Carolina has just nine games remaining to Georgia’s 10, and SC has just two games left against ranked teams to Georgia’s three. Both teams have just one conference loss, but South Carolina holds the tiebreaker with its head-to-head win last week. As long as South Carolina takes care of the rest of the East, namely Mizzou, it should be able to claim a spot in the SEC championship game this December in Atlanta.

Jason Hall (@JasonHallSDS): Missouri

As it stands, I think Missouri has looked like the most impressive team thus far. Maty Mauk looks even better in year two and could be an explosive player this season. The Tigers’ pass rush defense picked up right where it left off in 2013. However, Missouri has benefited from competition against mid-major programs (granted talented ones). The matchup between Missouri and South Carolina at Williams-Brice will be the truest test for the Tigers thus far.

Jordan Cox (@Jordan_Cox): Missouri

I think you’d have to say Mizzou. They maybe haven’t looked like the best team at times, but I think they’ve been the most complete team. Maty Mauk has gotten off to a great start this season and will really give some SEC defenses headaches. Then if you look at the other side of the ball at the defensive line and the Tigers are really able to put pressure on the quarterback.

Drew Laing (@DLaingSDS): Georgia

Despite losing the tiebreaker with South Carolina, I think the Bulldogs have the more favorable schedule down the line. The Gamecocks have some tough games on the road against Auburn and Florida and I don’t think they’ll survive both of them. Georgia, on the other hand, gets Florida in a neutral-site game and Auburn at home. In the end, I think the best team wins for the SEC East and that would be Georgia.