This is my second NCAA Football Preview of 2012, and today I am going to cover the SEC East. The East does not get near the press of the West due to the fact the West has three Top 5 teams. The East is starting to make a comeback however, and you can expect Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida to have very solid squads in 2012. The Bulldogs look to be the cream of the crop in the East with the Gamecocks right behind them. I think the East will be a very competitive division with a couple of possible surprises. The Gators look great on defense, but they have some issues at QB. The East also welcomes a new team in the Missouri Tigers fresh out of the Big 12. I expect the Tigers to see better results that A&M in the West, but they will still struggle. I will be back tomorrow with my NCAA Top 25 Poll Reveal. I have included the following team previews in my predicted order of finish.
1. Georgia Bulldogs - The Georgia Bulldogs return the #3 ranked defense a year ago minus only two starters. Jarvis Jones has emerged as one of the top linebackers in the country, and I expect him to terrorize offenses all season long. The offensive side of the ball is also pretty solid for the Dawgs. Quarterback Aaron Murray has improved more and more through experience, and he will see all of last years targets return at WR. I predict Georgia will only lose at South Carolina, but they will still finish ahead of the Gamecocks.
2012 Projection -(11-1)
2. Florida Gators- Mentioned in the Intro, the Florida Gators come into 2012 with a tremendous defense. The Gators return ten starters on defense and have tons of speed. The questions come in at QB with Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel fighting for the job. Traditionally teams having this issue struggle, and I see the Gators being no different. Driskel did recently suffer an injury so we shall see how it plays out. I expect to see the Gators go down against Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida State.
2012 Projection- (9-3)
3. South Carolina Gamecocks- The Gamecocks certainly have a new look for a Steve Spurrier coached team. The days of that old Florida offense are gone, and the Gamecocks play hard nosed football. Marcus Lattimore will return from a knee injury a season ago, and USC coaches say he is on track to return just fine. He will take handoffs from Connor Shaw who is also a serious ground threat. Shaw also throws the ball well, and you can look for Ace Sanders to emerge as his favorite target. Oh yea, and the defense is pretty damn good as well. I see the Cocks going limp against LSU, Florida, and at home against Arkansas.
2012 Projection- (9-3)
4. Tennessee Volunteers- The Vols return eight starters on defense, and nine on offense. The Vols of kinda lacking in pass rush, but the defensive backfield is pretty solid. The offense looks good returning QB Tyler Bray and a couple of really good wideouts in Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter. Rogers has proven to be a bit of an issue off the field, but if all stays well in Tennessee the Vols could be a surprise. I see the Vols dropping four straight against Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, and South Carolina.
2012 Projection- (8-4)
5. Missouri Tigers- The Tigers have serious issues when it comes to proven skill position players. James Franklin is a very good young QB, but who will be there to help him out. They lost serious production at both WR and TE, plus uncertainty lingers in the backfield as well. The defense is decent but will struggle against SEC offenses. I see the Tigers losing to Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, and former Big 12 Opponent Texas A&M.
2012 Projection- (6-6)
6. Vanderbilt Commodores- RB Zac Stacy is a stud, and they have Aaron Rodgers little brother throwing the ball. They don't have a lot going at skill positions so they will probably run a ton. You just can't be one dimensional in the SEC. With the exception of the secondary, the defense looks pretty weak. I see the Commodores losing against South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Wake Forrest.
2012 Projection- (4-8)
7. Kentucky Wildcats- I am just going to keep this real short! Kentucky is lucky they have Basketball! The Wildcats may be heading in the right direction, but now is not the time. I expect losses to Louisville, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Georgia, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.
2012 Projection- (3-9)
Back Tomorrow With My NCAA Top 25 Preseason Poll