Introducing the Race for the East (and the West) // SEC 2011

If there's one thing that the media voting in Birmingham last week showed us, it's that South Carolina is the clear favorite to win the SEC East. The only team that even comes close -- i.e., in the same ZIP code -- is Georgia, which still had just a third of the first-place votes that went to the Gamecocks.

And in terms of first-place votes, Georgia was a clear favorite to come in second. The Dawgs had more than three times as many No. 1 ballots as Florida got -- the clearest sign yet that while the Gamecocks clinched their first division championship in Gainesville, the path to their potential second title will go through Athens.

So this week, we will preview that battle. Instead of bring you a look at one team or the other, we'll take a look at how their race to win the East will play out over the season, and who will win it.

That's not to say that no other team has a chance to win the division -- far from it. We've seen no shortage of surprise champions over the last few years, South Carolina being just the most recent example. Even if both of these teams ends up dropping the ball, though, that fall will be one of the stories of the year.

And if you're wondering, we're doing the same thing with the West after we finish with the East. You can figure out who those two teams will be.

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