Within the 2008 SEC Championship recreation, Florida scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns — one on a brief Jeff Demps run, the opposite on a move from Tim Tebow to Riley Cooper — to ice a 31-20 win over Nick Saban’s upstart Alabama and clinch a spot within the BCS Championship recreation. It was the second league title in three years for City Meyer’s Gators and the eleventh in 16 years for a crew from the SEC East.
On the time, we did not notice simply how a lot of an “previous guard vs. new guard” second we had been witnessing. Florida is 0-4 within the convention title recreation since — with all 4 losses coming to the Tide — and the East has secured solely a single title within the final 12 years: Georgia’s 2017 romp over Auburn.
Granted, the times of SEC divisions could possibly be numbered. With its introduced transfer to 16 groups, the league will seemingly need to assume onerous about shifting each from eight to 9 convention video games and to extra of a pod-based construction to guarantee that everybody on this more and more monumental convention performs one another semi-regularly.
If these are the ultimate years for the SEC East and West, nonetheless, they’re going to in a technique exit dwelling up, or down, to their respective reputations. In February’s SP+ projections, the 5 lowest-projected groups within the league had been all from the East, the division that has misplaced 11 of the final 12 convention championship video games.
The division champion most likely will not be overmatched, nonetheless. Reigning champ Florida would possibly battle to match final yr’s stage, however Georgia, which received in 2017, practically repeated in 2018 and at last appeared to have its revamped offense in place late final season, may be prepared for one more stiff problem. The East might need an opportunity to attain one other ring or two earlier than it possibly goes the way in which of the dodo fowl.
Let’s preview the East!
Each week by way of the summer time, Invoice Connelly will preview one other division from the Group of 5 and Energy 5 solely for ESPN+, in the end together with all 130 FBS groups. The previews will embrace 2020 breakdowns, 2021 previews and a quick historical past of every crew in a single helpful chart. The sequence has to this point coated the Convention USA East and West, the MAC East and West, the MWC Mountain and West, the Solar Belt West and East, the highest and backside half of the AAC, the seven Independents, the ACC Atlantic and Coastal, the Pac-12 North and South, the highest and backside half of the Large 12 and the Large Ten West and East.
Soar to a crew: Vanderbilt | South Carolina | Missouri | Tennessee | Kentucky | Florida | Georgia
Derek Mason misplaced 16 of his final 17 SEC video games in control of the Commodores. Now it is Clark Lea’s flip to see if he can unearth a top-secret successful method.
Projected SP+ rank: 108th
Common projected wins: 3.1 (1.0 within the SEC)
Probably wins*: ETSU (81%), UConn (76%)
Relative toss-ups: none
Probably losses: at Colorado State (32%), at South Carolina (29%), Stanford (25%), Missouri (20%), Kentucky (19%), Mississippi State (15%), at Tennessee (11%), at Ole Miss (4%), Georgia (2%), at Florida (2%)
* Probably wins are video games during which SP+ tasks the scoring margin to be better than seven factors, or above about 65% win likelihood. Probably losses are the other, and relative toss-ups are all of the video games in between.
After fielding their worst crew since 1990, Vandy lacks within the “apparent matchups benefits” class. Video games in opposition to ETSU and UConn ought to stop a winless debut for Lea, nonetheless.
What we realized about Vanderbilt in 2020
The boulder all the time rolls again downhill. It is certainly one of my go-to analogies: teaching in onerous jobs is like pushing the proverbial large rock up the hill. Even once you do it nicely, a single stumble might be disastrous. Derek Mason by no means achieved the heights James Franklin had at Vandy, however he did win 17 video games from 2016-18 and produced an SP+ top-40 end in 2018. However after shedding quarterback Kyle Shurmur and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, the Commodore offense collapsed, and a rickety protection could not make up the distinction. They went 3-9 in 2019, 0-9 in 2020.
Lea inherits a roster that is not totally devoid of expertise: receivers Cam Johnson and Amir Abdur-Rahman and nickel Jaylen Mahoney are keepers, and the return of some 2020 opt-outs — amongst them, guard Cole Clemens and havoc-friendly linebacker Elijah McAllister — might assist depth immensely. However he is beginning out with lower than any of his SEC neighbors.
What we did not find out about Vanderbilt in 2020
Will creativity repay? To Lea’s credit score, he is considering exterior the field. He created a Basic Supervisor place on his employees and employed 247Sports recruiting analyst Barton Simmons to fill it. He employed a Kliff Kingsbury assistant (former Arizona Cardinals receivers coach David Raih) as offensive coordinator and, in Jesse Minter, a defensive coordinator who has each hard-college-job expertise (he was Georgia State’s DC from 2013-16) and progressive NFL expertise with the Baltimore Ravens.
Lea referenced a “10-year plan” to the media this offseason, which speaks to each his ambition and his endurance. The previous shall be necessary over time; the latter shall be an important factor throughout what is probably going a tricky 2021 season.
Vanderbilt’s historical past in a single chart
Vandy’s solely AP top-20 end got here in 1948, when Crimson Sanders led the Commodores to an 8-2-1 report and No. 12 end. Sanders left for UCLA, kick-starting a decline.
There have been loads of low factors, however the interval from 1976-90 was notably dire: 9 seasons with 1-2 wins, just one with greater than 4.
Jay Cutler from 2002-05: 8,697 passing yards, 59 TDs … 36 INTs and 11 wins. At Vandy, that was sufficient to attract consideration and earn a No. 11 draft choose.
Vandy below Franklin in 2012-13: 18-8, two ranked finishes (twenty third and twenty fourth), two of this system’s 4 all-time bowl wins. He left for Penn State, kick-starting a decline.
Mason regarded like he was constructing one thing as lately as 2018, however the boulder’s all the way in which on the backside of the hill once more.
South Carolina has averaged about 5.4 wins per yr since Steve Spurrier’s peak and misplaced its final six 2020 video games by a median of 25 factors. It is a good time for a tough restart.
Projected SP+ rank: ninetieth
Common projected wins: 3.7 (1.8 in SEC)
Probably wins: Japanese Illinois (96%), Vanderbilt (72%)
Relative toss-ups: at ECU (45%), Troy (39%)
Probably losses: Kentucky (33%), at Missouri (23%), at Tennessee (21%), Auburn (16%), Florida (8%), at Texas A&M (5%), Clemson (4%), at Georgia (3%)
Enjoying six groups projected exterior the highest 50 ought to guarantee that Shane Beamer’s first Gamecocks squad tops final yr’s two wins. There will not be that many extra, although.
What we realized about South Carolina in 2020
Ceilings vs. flooring. Between 2008-18, below first Spurrier after which Will Muschamp, the Gamecocks bowled 10 instances, ranked within the SP+ high 30 seven instances and received double-digit video games thrice. Their ceiling may not have been fairly as excessive as Georgia’s, Florida’s or in-state rival Clemson’s, nevertheless it was excessive.
Their ceiling, nonetheless, is quite a bit decrease. They collapsed to 84th with their worst win proportion in 21 years. Per SP+, they ranked 74th on protection, eightieth on particular groups and 89th on offense. Upside: all of a sudden minimal.
Beamer inherits former blue-chippers like quarterback Luke Doty, DT Zacch Pickens and edge rusher Jordan Burch, plus some confirmed entities in RB Kevin Harris, guard Jovaughn Gwyn and edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare. However his importing of transfers — 9 from the portal (together with Georgia State edge rusher Jordan Strachan and Kansas cornerback Karon Prunty) and three from JUCOs — hints on the roster reconstruction effort at hand.
What we did not find out about South Carolina in 2020
Will Doty look the half? A former top-100 recruit from Myrtle Seaside, Doty acquired first-string time late in 2020 and briefly discovered a pleasant rhythm in rubbish time in opposition to Georgia. New offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield is a longtime former Matt Rhule assistant and will have some success with Harris (1,297 dashing and receiving yards in 2020) and a veteran line. However when the Gamecocks need to move, it’s kind of of a thriller what occurs subsequent.
Assuming he beats St. Francis switch Jason Brown to begin, Doty can have an environment friendly TE in Nick Muse, plus Georgia Tech utility man Ahmarean Brown and veterans Jalen Brooks and OrTre Smith at his disposal. We’ll see if that is sufficient.
South Carolina’s historical past in a single chart
An ACC member since 1953, the Gamecocks received their first league title in 1969 … and left the league to go unbiased in 1970.
After dashing for 1,681 yards in 1979, George Rogers topped himself in 1980, going for 1,781 and 14 TDs and topping Herschel Walker and Hugh Inexperienced for the Heisman.
The 1984 season: virtually the most effective in SC historical past. The ‘Cocks began 9-0 and rose to No. 2 within the AP ballot earlier than a stunning loss to Navy. They completed 10-2 and eleventh.
The Gamecocks struggled after becoming a member of the SEC in 1992, bottoming out with an 0-11 run in Lou Holtz’s first season. His subsequent two years, although: 17 wins and two ranked finishes.
The 1984 season is now not SC’s greatest due to what Spurrier engineered from 2011-13: three 11-2 seasons and three top-10 finishes.
Eliah Drinkwitz went 5-5 in opposition to a rugged schedule in 2020, and he is recruiting his butt off. However can he keep away from second-year stagnation?
Projected SP+ rank: 58th
Common projected wins: 6.4 (3.4 within the SEC)
Probably wins: SE Missouri State (93%), North Texas (85%), at Vanderbilt (81%), South Carolina (77%), CMU (71%)
Relative toss-ups: Tennessee (53%), at Boston School (48%), at Kentucky (44%), at Arkansas (35%)
Probably losses: Texas A&M (21%), Florida (21%), at Georgia (10%)
With 5 opponents projected 82nd or worse in SP+, Mizzou’s bowl odds are strong even with out main second-year enchancment.
What we realized about Missouri in 2020
Drinkwitz was born to be an SEC coach. He razzes fellow coaches at SEC Media Days. He is snug in his personal pores and skin. He certainly recruits his butt off. Drinkwitz’s solely earlier SEC expertise was as a high quality management coach at Auburn, however you could not inform it. And with wins over LSU and Arkansas, amongst others, he offered simply sufficient proof of idea in 2020 to construct a way of momentum for a program that had gone simply 14-26 within the SEC from 2015-19.
What we did not find out about Missouri in 2020
Whether or not he was born to be a profitable SEC coach. The relative success of 2020 got here with some asterisks. Mizzou went 3-0 in one-score video games, and all 5 wins got here in opposition to groups that completed forty fifth or worse in SP+. In opposition to three top-10 groups, the Tigers had been outscored by a mixed 128-50, and so they misplaced by a mixed 42 at Tennessee and Mississippi State. They had been a lot nearer to 3-7 than 7-3, and their No. 68 remaining SP+ rating was their worst since 2016.
A sense of momentum can create buy-in and recruiting victories, however the Tigers will want real enchancment to high .500 in 2021. They do not grade out nicely from a returning manufacturing standpoint, however there is a strong base of expertise in gamers like quarterback Connor Bazelak, RB Tyler Badie, rush finish Trajan Jeffcoat, security Martez Manuel and a veteran offensive line. Plus, Drinkwitz added some thrilling transfers in Rice linebacker Blaze Alldredge, Tulsa cornerbacks Akayleb Evans and Allie Inexperienced IV and Ohio State receiver (and up to date St. Louis blue-chipper) Mookie Cooper. He introduced in a principally new set of defensive coaches, too, led by coordinator and former NFL head coach Steve Wilks.
Bazelak proved himself an correct passer and strong decision-maker as a redshirt freshman, however he might use extra assist from his receiving corps. Veterans Keke Chism and Tauskie Dove had their moments, however explosiveness might need to return from children like Cooper, Dominic Lovett and Jay Maclin.
Missouri’s historical past in a single chart
Missouri reached No. 1 within the AP ballot for the primary time in 1960, however Kansas, utilizing an ineligible participant, beat the Tigers 24-7. The loss was overturned, however Mizzou completed fifth.
All-or-nothing: from 1972-78, the Tigers beat 11 top-10 opponents … and misplaced to unranked foes 18 instances, by no means ending higher than 8-4.
After 5 bowls in six years, Mizzou fell aside virtually in a single day, struggling 13 straight shedding seasons from 1984-96.
Led by Gary Pinkel and Heisman finalist Chase Daniel, Mizzou went 22-6 in 2007-08, spending per week at No. 1 within the BCS standings and successful two Large 12 North titles.
Pinkel’s Tigers moved to the SEC in 2012 and received back-to-back SEC East titles in 2013-14. Success has been a bit extra scattershot since then, nonetheless.
Let’s put it this fashion: If Tennessee hadn’t graded out close to the underside of my 2021 stability rankings, I would have identified the maths wasn’t proper.
Projected SP+ rank: forty ninth
Common projected wins: 6.7 (3.4 within the SEC)
Probably wins: Tennessee Tech (98%), BGSU (96%), South Alabama (91%), Vanderbilt (89%), South Carolina (79%)
Relative toss-ups: Pitt (51%), at Missouri (48%), at Kentucky (47%), Ole Miss (36%)
Probably losses: Georgia (19%), at Florida (16%), at Alabama (6%)
Being unstable is not the identical as being dangerous — the Vols might make Josh Heupel’s first season a profitable one by taking part in nicely as a favourite and successful a tossup recreation or two.
What we realized about Tennessee in 2020
Drama is rarely distant. It looks like many years in the past, however as late as early-October 2020, it appeared Jeremy Pruitt was getting someplace at UT. His Vols had been 2-0 and on an eight-game successful streak after they visited Georgia and took a halftime lead on the Dawgs.
Issues fell aside in a millisecond. They had been outscored 27-0 within the second half by Georgia, and excluding a win over hapless Vandy, they misplaced their final six video games by a median of 34-14. Following revelations of extremely sloppy recruiting violations, UT fired Pruitt and introduced in a duo from UCF: AD Danny White, then Heupel.
Over the past yr, practically 40 Vols have entered the switch portal, and Heupel introduced in fairly a couple of transfers, too. Change is in every single place.
What we did not find out about Tennessee in 2020
Does Heupel have what his offense wants? Heupel is without doubt one of the few remaining coaches able to utilizing fixed tempo to his benefit, and he is acquired 4 candidates for piloting his assault: transfers Joe Milton III (Michigan) and Hendon Hooker (Virginia Tech) and sophomores Harrison Bailey and Brian Maurer. Hooker is an explosive dual-threat, and Milton’s acquired an enormous arm, however the QB of alternative can even need to take care of large turnover within the talent corps and solely two of final yr’s high six linemen returning.
Can transfers maintain the defensive requirements excessive? Pruitt’s final two groups ranked nineteenth and thirty fourth, respectively, in defensive SP+, however final yr’s high 4 linebackers, plus finish Darel Middleton and nook Bryce Thompson, are all gone, and 6 transfers, together with Auburn finish Large Kat Bryant and Texas linebacker Juwan Mitchell, are in. Most of final yr’s secondary returns, however UT ranked a hundred and twenty fifth in passing success fee allowed, so we’ll see if that is a very good factor. Defensive coordinator Tim Banks, imported from Penn State, has his work lower out for him.
Tennessee’s historical past in a single chart
After a storied pre-war profession, Basic Bob Neyland returned from WWII to steer the Vols to 4 extra top-10 finishes and a 1951 nationwide title earlier than retiring in 1952.
The post-Neyland many years had highs and lows, however the rent of Johnny Majors in 1977 finally led to a run of three top-8 finishes in 5 years.
In 1994, Majors’ successor Phil Fulmer landed QB Peyton Manning, who would lead the Vols to a 32-5 report (0-3 vs. Florida, 32-2 vs. all others) from 1995-97.
Surprisingly, UT’s trendy breakthrough got here after Manning left. The Vols lastly beat Florida, then beat everybody else, too, on the way in which to the 1998 nationwide title.
In 2001, Fulmer’s Vols earned their sixth AP top-10 end in seven years. Twenty years and 5 teaching modifications later, they have not completed that top since.
Mark Stoops has constructed Kentucky to the purpose the place final yr’s shedding report was noteworthy. A burly, bodily and skilled squad ought to guarantee it would not grow to be a development.
Projected SP+ rank: 57th
Common projected wins: 6.9 (3.6 within the SEC)
Probably wins: NMSU (99%), Chattanooga (96%), ULM (95%), at Vanderbilt (81%), at South Carolina (67%)
Relative toss-ups: Missouri (56%), Tennessee (53%), at Louisville (38%), at Mississippi State (37%)
Probably losses: LSU (34%), Florida (21%), at Georgia (10%)
The Wildcats play 5 groups projected ninetieth or worse — three from a very comfortable non-conference slate — which is able to additionally assist get them again on the best facet of .500.
What we realized about Kentucky in 2020
Stoops nonetheless hasn’t fairly discovered the best offensive id. The very best Kentucky groups all the time appear to have the most important offensive line in your schedule and an enormous, offended and efficient working again (junior Chris Rodriguez Jr. is 5’11, 224). That is clearly a part of what Stoops wish to carry to the desk.
Passing’s lengthy been a problem, although. It was to be excused when accidents led to wideout Lynn Bowden Jr. changing into a full-time Wildcat QB in 2019, however in Stoops’ eight seasons, UK has produced a passer ranking over 130 or a Whole QBR over 60 solely as soon as every.
After slipping to eightieth in offensive SP+, Stoops changed veteran offensive coordinator Eddie Gran with Liam Coen, a former Maine offensive coordinator who spent the final three seasons with the L.A. Rams. The duty is clear: keep physicality (particularly with the sometimes outrageous Rodriguez) whereas shifting towards move competence.
Quarterbacks Joey Gatewood and Penn State switch Will Levis are each nice run threats, however neither is a confirmed passer. They might have respectable effectivity choices in slot males Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska switch) and Josh Ali and TE Keaton Upshaw, nevertheless it would possibly take Coen some time to make severe progress.
What we did not find out about Kentucky in 2020
Will the spirit of Josh Allen return? When Allen exploded for 21.5 TFLs in 2018, UK adopted his lead and leaped to fifteenth in defensive SP+. Changing Allen was just about inconceivable, however the Wildcats had a extreme disruption challenge final yr. They ranked a hundred and tenth in sack fee and 116th in havoc fee (mixed TFLs, passes defensed and compelled fumbles per play), and regardless of robust big-play prevention, opponents had been allowed to maneuver effectively.
Seven of the 16 gamers with 200+ snaps are gone, together with UK’s two greatest move rushers and high two corners. Safeties Yusuf Corker and Tyrell Ajian are impeccable, and nostril guards Marquan McCall (6’3, 379) and Justin Rogers (6’3, 336) are completely mountainous. However UK actually wants some play-makers in between, and it isn’t clear they’ve them.
Kentucky’s historical past in a single chart
UK stole Bear Bryant from Maryland in 1946 and shortly reaped the advantages: they went 11-1 and received the Sugar Bowl in 1950 and completed ranked 5 straight years.
UK’s solely top-10 end since Bryant left got here in 1977, when Fran Curci’s Cats went 10-1 and completed sixth … and did not bowl as a result of they had been banned.
At a low ebb, UK employed Valdosta State coach and Air Raid inventor Hal Mumme in 1997. He engineered two successful seasons however resigned below NCAA investigation.
Their solely two weeks within the high 10 since 1977 got here in 2007, after they beat top-10 Louisville and LSU groups, began 6-1 … and completed 2-4.
Bowden’s 2019 season was genuinely distinctive. He moved to QB midseason, completed as UK’s main passer, rusher and receiver and led them to an 8-5 report.
After ending increased than 14th within the AP ballot simply as soon as in eight years, Florida has accomplished so thrice in a row below Dan Mullen. Can he increase the bar even increased?
Projected SP+ rank: twelfth
Common projected wins: 5.5 (5.7 within the SEC)
Probably wins: Samford (99%), Vanderbilt (98%), FAU (97%), at USF (95%), at South Carolina (92%), Florida State (87%), Tennessee (85%), at Missouri (79%), at Kentucky (79%)
Relative toss-ups: at LSU (59%), vs. Georgia (43%)
Probably losses: Alabama (34%)
SP+ sees Florida a few steps behind Georgia however yards forward of the remainder of the East area. A simple non-conference slate ought to guarantee one other run at double-digit wins.
What we realized about Florida in 2020
A completely realized Mullen offense is a sight to behold. Mullen is certainly one of faculty soccer’s most completed offensive coaches, however his 2020 Gator assault was the most effective of his head teaching profession.
The run recreation wasn’t nice, and quarterback Kyle Trask actually did not contribute together with his legs, however the Gators had everlasting matchup benefits within the passing recreation. Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes mixed for two,343 receiving yards and 31 TDs regardless of not one of the three taking part in in all 12 video games. The Gators’ firepower made them the one crew able to staying inside 14 factors of Alabama.
Trask and the pass-catching trio are gone; there are enjoyable gamers of their place — junior Jacob Copeland, sophomore slots Xzavier Henderson and Ja’Quavion Fraziars, TE Kemore Gamble, and so forth. — and the bottom recreation will seemingly enhance, each due to expertise at RB and OL and since new beginning QB Emory Jones is an impressive runner. Nonetheless, offensive regression is sort of assured, and the protection should choose up slack to repeat within the SEC East.
What we did not find out about Florida in 2020
Does Todd Grantham have the solutions? The veteran defensive coordinator retains his method easy: leverage you not on time, then destroy your quarterback. His tendencies are predictable, however when he is acquired the items it would not matter — UF ranked seventeenth in defensive SP+ in 2018 and seventh in 2019.
In 2020, the Gators fell to thirty third. They allowed an honest 21 factors per recreation in opposition to groups ranked fiftieth or worse in SP+ and 41 in opposition to groups higher than that. They nonetheless rushed the passer nicely (twenty second in sack fee), however good opponents had been by no means off-schedule.
Mullen tried to deal with run points by bringing in beefy sort out transfers DaQuan Newkirk (Auburn) and Antonio Shelton (Penn State); a linebacking corps led by Brenton Cox Jr. and Ventrell Miller could possibly be nice with assist up entrance, however the secondary replaces 4 of final yr’s high six. Corners Kaiir Elam and Jaydon Hill are keepers, however the safeties are as unproven because the tackles.
Florida’s historical past in a single chart
Steve Spurrier in 1965-66: 3,905 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, two lengthy stays within the AP high 10 and one Heisman Trophy.
From 1983-85 below Charley Pell and Galen Corridor, Florida loved 27 wins, its first three AP top-6 finishes … and acquired waylaid by the NCAA for 59 main infractions.
Who pulled the Gators out of a sanctions funk? Spurrier. From 1990-2001, UF received its first six SEC titles, its first nationwide title and 10 top-10 finishes.
Spurrier left for the NFL, and Florida slipped till hiring City Meyer. The Gators from 2006-09: 48 wins, two nationwide titles, a 3rd top-3 end and one Tim Tebow.
Meyer burned out and briefly retired, prompting one other slide. However with Mullen, Meyer’s former OC, in cost, the Gators seem again on an upswing.
Final yr I declared Kirby Sensible’s Bulldogs the most attention-grabbing crew heading into the season and named their beginning QB of alternative as an important participant in faculty soccer.
This yr, it felt like mainly each spring column I wrote concluded with “and that makes Georgia essentially the most attention-grabbing crew heading into the season,” and — SPOILER — quarterback JT Daniels goes to rank actually excessive amongst this yr’s most necessary gamers. Idiot me as soon as…?
Projected SP+ rank: Sixth
Common projected wins: 9.8 (6.6 within the SEC)
Probably wins: Charleston Southern (99.9% win likelihood), at Vanderbilt (98%), South Carolina (97%), UAB (94%), Missouri (90%), Kentucky (90%), Arkansas (85%), at Tennessee (82%), at Georgia Tech (81%), at Auburn (67%)
Relative toss-ups: vs. Florida (57%), vs. Clemson (40%)
Probably losses: None
Of the six projected top-50 groups on the Dawgs’ schedule, just one involves Athens. That is a problem, however they’re going to seemingly be favored in each non-Clemson recreation all the identical.
What we realized about Georgia in 2020
Protection will solely get you many of the approach there. The 2020 season was outlined by a single Nick Saban quote: “It was in case you had a very good protection, different folks weren’t going to attain. You had been all the time going to be within the recreation. I am telling you. It ain’t that approach anymore.”
The Dawgs had been his living proof. They ranked first in defensive SP+, and of their eight wins, they beat opponents a median rating of 34-14. However of their two losses, in opposition to elite Alabama and Florida offenses, they allowed 891 passing yards and 85 factors. They might solely rating 52 factors in return. You have to have a great deal of uncooked offensive firepower.
Sensible determined Daniels was lastly prepared for the lineup in late-November — the blue-chip USC switch was coping with a prolonged knee rehabilitation — and was rewarded. Georgia went from averaging 29 factors per recreation to 38, and Daniels’ Whole QBR of 89.1 would have ranked fourth for the whole season.
On one hand, Daniels’ torched three sketchy defenses however made errors in opposition to an superior Cincinnati protection; he misplaced go-to receiver George Pickens to a spring knee harm, too, and it is unsure when or whether or not the junior will play this season.
However, (a) Daniels’ glorious Whole QBR was opponent-adjusted, and (b) he’ll nonetheless have Kearis Jackson, Jermaine Burton and Dominick Blaylock (injured in 2020) at his disposal, plus two sophomore TEs (Darnell Washington and LSU switch Arik Gilbert) with otherworldly potential. Add in among the finest RB rooms within the nation (led by Zamir White), and you have got a ridiculously excessive ceiling. Now they’ve simply acquired to indicate it for greater than 4 video games.
What we did not find out about Georgia in 2020
Will the secondary want time to gel? Georgia has to switch three superior linebackers, however with gamers like seniors Adam Anderson and Channing Tindall (and maybe children like Xavian Sorey Jr. and Smael Mondon Jr.), it is all however assured that the entrance seven will nonetheless be elite. The secondary, nonetheless, might need a bit extra to show. Of the eight gamers with 100+ snaps in 2020, six are gone, and Sensible could possibly be relying closely on transfers like WVU’s Tykee Smith and Clemson’s Derion Kendrick.
Granted, Smith and Kendrick are each fairly superior, so this may not be a problem. However with Clemson looming in Week 1, any glitches within the again could possibly be instantly punished.
Georgia’s historical past in a single chart
Military and Notre Dame had been stealing all of the headlines in 1946, however Wallace Butts’ Dawgs went 11-0, received the Sugar Bowl and completed third within the AP ballot, too.
UGA had received simply 16 video games in 4 years when it employed Auburn assistant Vince Dooley as head coach in 1964. He had the Dawgs within the high 5 by 1966.
Dooley’s success was up-and-down … till he signed Herschel Walker. From 1980-82, Walker rushed for five,259 yards, and UGA received 33 video games and the 1980 nationwide title.
UGA hadn’t received an SEC title since Walker when Mark Richt was employed in 2001. He received two (in 2002 and 2005) and generated seven top-10 finishes in his 15-year tenure.
Richt after 5 seasons: 52-13 with 4 top-10 finishes. Sensible after 5: 52-14 with 4 top-10 finishes. (Richt went 9-4 and completed twenty third in yr six, for what it is price.)