The SEC East was once a division that was as difficult as any in college football. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Georgia, Tennesee, and Florida (especially the ladder 2 in the 90’s) struck fear into opponents around the country. The positioning for East supremacy was a revolving door and all 3 had legitimate chances to compete for the SEC title and even more prestigious opportunities beyond that. Now, despite Florida’s victory over Georgia this season, it’s becoming clear that a long-term front runner is emerging. The Univeristy of Georgia has positioned themselves in such a way from a talent and overall football investment standpoint, that the SEC East title should be expected every single year and obtained for the next 4 to 5 seasons at least.
For one, Tennessee is imploding and will be set back even further than they have been recently. It’s been a hard fall from grace for the Vols and the plummet will soon reach new depths. Players are abandoning ship faster than the NCAA Transfer Portal Twitter page can keep up with. There is an investigation going on with recruiting improprieties so salacious that it will be very hard to get a quality head coach to take the job. Tennessee should be an after thought, almost Vanderbilt level by the time this is all said and done and Georgia should dominate them for years to come. The talent gap between the Dawgs and Vols will be immense.
The Georgia faithful should be very thankful that Dan Mullen and Todd Grantham didn’t find employment elsewhere. There is no doubt that Kyle Trask exceeded expectations and had an excellent year, but it’s also undeniable that Kyle Pitts was largely the reason. Pitts drew so much attention from the defense and was such a matchup problem that it raised the level of play of other receivers and tight ends on the field with him. When 8-4 is the new standard for a special season in Gainesville, it tells you what kind of shape that Dan Mullen has the program in. Mullen and company continue to underperform in recruiting and are now having to hit the transfer portal very hard in order to make up where they are lacking in terms of depth and raw talent.
The Dawgs won 3 straight against the Gators before a decimated and pre-JT Daniels squad lost in Jacksonville in 2020. I suspect Georgia will be at least a 6.5 point favorite on Vegas books when the last weekend in October of 2021 rolls around. Of course Kentucky and Vanderbilt will continue to languish in mediocrity despite each now having tremendous coaches and staffs. It’s simply too hard to recruit at each. Kentucky doesn’t have the tradition needed to draw top line talent and well, Vanderbilt is Vanderbilt. That only leaves South Carolina. I believe under Shane Beamer, who has winning in his blood and has learned from some of the best minds in the game, the Gamecocks have a true shot of getting back to Connor Shaw and Steve Spurrier type days, but it’s going to take some time.
Anything can happen on any given week. However, with the talent edge growing for Georgia and the investments that are being made into the UGA football program, there is no excuse for Atlanta not being a regular slot on the schedule. Quite frankly, if Georgia wants to achieve it’s potential, of being a playoff team year in and year out and being a true national championship contender each year, then it’s a must. No more losing one and then hoping for the best when the title game comes around. A young, fast, defense, a plethora of offensive weapons and 2 superstar trigger men at QB should prove to be some of the best ingredients in that recipe that anybody, anywhere has to offer.