The SEC East has devolved into an absolute mess that one national writer thinks could actually favor the division’s preseason favorite, Tennessee.
CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli ranked the chances for each of the top five teams in the East to win the division. And the Volunteers are at the top of the list:
- South Carolina
Tennessee has suffered a slew of injuries and lost its last three games against FBS opponents. Fornelli thinks the Vols’ easy remaining schedule, however, gives them a great chance to finish in first place.
“(Consider) that Tennessee’s final three games are against a Kentucky team that it has dominated historically as well as two teams (Vanderbilt and Mizzou) that are currently 1-9 in SEC play, and the idea of the Vols winning out and finishing 5-3 in the conference isn’t that far-fetched now is it?” Fornelli wrote.
Florida’s remaining slate also plays in the Vols’ favor. The Gators have to play a resurgent South Carolina this weekend and then has to play LSU in Baton Rouge.
“If Tennessee wins out, it would just need Florida to lose to either South Carolina or on the road at LSU,” Fornelli said. “I think the odds of Florida losing at least once are very good. ”
The Gators have the second-best odds, according to Fornelli. But they have to win both of those SEC games to avoid losing a head-to-head tiebreaker if Tennessee wins out.
Kentucky could get to Atlanta by winning out if Florida loses both of those games. There’s just one problem.
“Simply put, Kentucky needs to beat Tennessee in Knoxville this weekend, which it has not done since 1984,” Fornelli said. “Hell, the Wildcats have only beaten the Vols twice overall since 1984 (a win at home in 2011).”
Georgia and South Carolina’s chances are slim barring major chaos. So if the Vols can take care of their business and the Gators falter without QB Luke Del Rio, Fornelli’s prediction may look pretty good.