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SEC East: Who is the Favorite?


The SEC West is waiting on college football’s next “Game of the Century” when Alabama hosts LSU on November 5, but the SEC East is a much tougher race to call. Most seem to think it’s a three-way race between Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. The Gamecocks have already beaten the Bulldogs, but Steve Spurrier’s club hurt its chances badly with a 16-13 home loss to Auburn on Saturday. Florida looked solid in September, but back-to-back games with Alabama (38-10 loss) and LSU and the injury to quarterback John Brantley has Gators fans worried. Georgia is the only one of the trio to lose two games already, but the Dawgs avoid Bama, LSU and Arkansas on the league schedule.

Who is your favorite to win the SEC East?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven
I am going to stick with my preseason pick and take Georgia. Until South Carolina gets consistent play from quarterback Stephen Garcia, I can’t pick the Gamecocks to win the SEC East. Yes, South Carolina did win the division title last year, but Garcia has nearly equaled his interceptions from last season (14) in five games (9). Georgia isn’t a team without question marks, but it has the most favorable schedule remaining. The Bulldogs make a trip to Tennessee this week and have the annual battle with Florida in Jacksonville. Other than those two games, Georgia is going to be a big favorite in its remaining SEC games – Vanderbilt, Auburn and Kentucky. I thought Florida had a good chance to win the SEC East entering this season, but the injury to quarterback John Brantley has clouded the Gators’ hopes right now. Also, Florida has trips to LSU and South Carolina remaining. There’s no standout team in the East, but I’ll remain on the Georgia bandwagon to make it to Atlanta.

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Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman
Any team in the East that can finish 6-2 in conference play will win, but that may not happen. I was a big proponent of South Carolina in the preseason, but the inconsistent Gamecocks really hurt their chances with the Auburn loss. The USC offense has a ton of potential, but Stephen Garcia’s interceptions got him benched and Connor Shaw may struggle as well. Florida looked great in September, but the Brantley injury and a tough road slate have the Gators in a tough position. At this point, Georgia looks to have the best shot at finishing 6-2 in the league. The Bulldogs’ quarterback play and friendly schedule – no Alabama, LSU or Arkansas – seems to make them the favorite to win the division right now.

Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden
I am going to stick with Athlon's preseason pick in the Georgia Bulldogs. Despite losing to South Carolina in Week 2, I still think the Dawgs are the most complete team in the East. The defense is dramatically improved from a year ago and they easily have the best quarterback in the conference in Aaron Murray. Isaiah Crowell has given the offense a second dimension. Florida still faces road trips to LSU, Auburn and South Carolina to go with Georgia in Jacksonville. South Carolina still has that nasty four game stretch: At Mississippi State, at Tennessee, at Arkansas and Florida at home. Georgia still has Vandy, Kentucky, at Tennessee, Florida and Auburn at home. Florida appears be the challenger, so the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail party could decide who gets to Atlanta.

Steve Patterson (
If Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray can find some consistency, the Georgia Bulldogs have to be the odds on favorite in the SEC East. That said, the Dawgs will need South Carolina to slip up one more time while taking care of their own schedule as well. Head coach Mark Richt has said on occasion that UGA seems to have more rivals than any school he knows, and four of those rivals remain on the schedule—Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. Each of those games could go either way. The Bulldogs’ defense has been lights out over the past three games and should that remain the case, the big three SEC teams that the Bulldogs will face are very beatable. Georgia Tech? Who knows, they certainly are playing well, but that game will have no bearing on the SEC race. The good news is that Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas are not on UGA’s schedule. The Gators have the Bayou Bengals, the Gamecocks have Arkansas, and there is still what figures to be a huge SEC matchup when Florida visits South Carolina. Following the Dawgs losing to Boise State and South Carolina, all the talk was about Richt’s hot seat. Now, after sweeping the Mississippi Schools and defeating Coastal Carolina 59-0, there is renewed hope in Athens that that Georgia is getting back on track.