Your reigning back-to-back national champion Georgia Bulldogs enter the 2023 season with one burning question: can Kirby Smart win the big one without Stetson Bennett?
There are tons of questions all over the SEC East. Is Tennessee back? Has Kentucky reached its ceiling? Will South Carolina regress? Can Florida be patient enough to let Billy Napier coach a third season? Let’s see where each team stands to see if we can answer some questions early.
Columbia’s feeling a little dangerous these days under Shane Beamer with QB Spencer Rattler leading the Gamecocks’ offense. The schedule though? Woof. Things could get rough for the Palmetto State’s team that’s in a legitimate conference this season, but Beamer’s playing with free money and I’m not betting against him.
There’s some bright spots in Lexington for this fall as it sounds like QB Devin Leary is doing pretty well, but it feels like Mark Stoops and his staff may have missed their window to move Kentucky football up the SEC ladder. It seems the fan base isn’t too worried about it though as the basketball posts are almost equal to the ones about football.
I honestly don’t know what to make of the Gators under Napier this season. I’ve seen some venerable national college football voices say they think he’s gone before the season ends, but he’s putting together a very good recruiting class and the fans seem to feel positive about the future. I’m not sure what to think about Florida this year but I fully expect them to fight at least.
Heupel’s offense hit some gears last year with QB Hendon Hooker often finding speedy WR Jalin Hyatt. Those guys are gone now, and in steps strong-armed QB Joe Milton. If the Vols can find a WR fast enough to run under a Milton deep ball, they’ll be racing up and down the field once again.
Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz has what I can only describe as nerd swag, like he devises his evil offensive play calling with a graphing calculator while looking like a CPA and church deacon. He’s managed to make it work so far; is this the year things click? Fans have mixed feelings on things, which are only exacerbated by the success under Gary Pinkel. But maybe Eli’s the one?
Vanderbilt’s limitations are well documented, but every so often they get this swell of pride and grit when you have to take them seriously. This is one of those times, under one of their own. Can they push for a bowl in 2023? Unlikely, but there’s a sense these aren’t the same ol’ Dores.
If UGA wants to make history need to find a reliable QB. Carson Beck will be QB1 but you gotta figure he’s on a short leash. Related: I learned BVG no longer means Brian VanGorder but Brock Vandagriff who competed with Beck for the starting gig. Aside from some early injuries at RB, the Dawgs are stacked everywhere. The schedule is, let’s say, favorable, but if it was so easy to win three nattys in a row, it would’ve been done already.
SEC EAST FINAL STANDINGS