Last month, PWD laid out his case for how the SEC East might be won. In essence, you don't have to be the fastest person in your group to survive a bear attack, you just have to not be the slowest. Better known as the answer to the rhetorical: "How in the hell did South Carolina win the SEC East?".
I prefer to look at it like a big election shocker. Last year, the typical candidates were doing their own thing. Not paying attention to the little things that had gotten them to their elected positions in the first place. A lightly funded, sprightly upstart comes along and bam! Upheaval. Despite finishing in the bottom half of the conference in offense and defense, they win the East.
What happens now? Well, it looks like Georgia and Florida have taken steps to change. I've been watching Florida with my typical condescension and disdain, but Weis is a much better Offensive Coordinator for their current offensive talent than whatever puppet St. Urban had there. Their defense will probably take a step back due to the number of guys that are gone, but it was pretty solid, so it'll probably still be above average.
Georgia. Well, Georgia. Georgia played one of the least inspired games offensively of the year against South Carolina. In my opinion, we panicked after finding out we wouldn't have AJ and didn't change the game plan to reflect that. Georgia's D held South Carolina to their lowest point total of the season. I'm trending bullish on Georgia's offense and am very confident in the ability of the defense to improve in the key places it needs to, namely big pass play and run shut down. Can we play with fire and determination? Remains to be seen.
At this point, the polls are open and turnout can change things. South Carolina needs a career year from Garcia (and him not getting into any public trouble). They need Jeffrey to replicate his last season and to stay healthy. They need the offensive line to be as good as they were to make room for Lattimore and give time to Garcia to find Jeffrey (insert your own joke here). Their defense has some work to do. Georgia is young at WR and RB, so how much will having the best TE in the nation mean? On defense, there are question marks, but 3-4 2.0 will yield dividends. Florida changed coaches, and schemes. Will they have enough talent to overcome the change?
I say all of this to say the East is a toss up. By my reckoning, it might not be decided until Florida goes to Columbia in November. I'm not ready to say Georgia will win the East. I am certainly not ready to make the forgone conclusion they won't.