Who Will Win the SEC East in 2013? More Importantly, Can They Win in Atlanta? | SEC 2013

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The last few years seems to have provided proof that the SEC East is the weaker division. Can the winner of that division turn things around in 2013?

I have to admit that, aside from my rooting interest in South Carolina, who wins the SEC East is at best the second most important aspect of the division this year. Removing myself from my fandom as much as I can -- and I'll admit, that's always a dicey proposition -- these three teams look very much the same to me: Teams that won in occasionally ugly fashion last year, who have lost a ton on defense headed into this year and have to hope the offense can keep the season on track until things click for the defense. Georgia has the highest quality offense and South Carolina is probably a bit better than Florida in that category, but that's about the only real difference.

No, what intrigues me most about this division is whether the winner is going to beat the winner of the SEC West. Because things are starting to get a little lopsided in Atlanta.

In fact, over the last ten seasons, the SEC East team has won a grand total of three title games. The West has won every game since Florida's 2008 victory, and no one other than Florida has won the championship bout since 2005, when Georgia last did it. That includes losses by Tennessee, South Carolina and (the last two years) Georgia. (Not to mention one by Florida in 2009.) Put another way, the last time an SEC East team that didn't include Tim Tebow on its roster won in Atlanta, George W. Bush was still president, both houses of Congress were still Republican and Hillary Clinton's win in the Democratic presidential primary was a foregone conclusion. (Not debating the merits of any of those things, just pointing out the context.)

Three of the last four games have been particularly noncompetitive affairs. The 32-13 Alabama win in 2009 did not capture the full measure of the Tide's win against Florida; the 56-17 annihilation of South Carolina by Auburn the following year was the biggest blowout in the event's history; and the 42-10 LSU win against Georgia marked the second-largest margin of victory. Last year, of course, Georgia infamously came up five yards short of beating Alabama.

After a few years in which it was inarguably the worse division of the two, the SEC East seemed to take some steps back toward equality last year. But the perception of equality is going to be hard to guarantee until the winner of the division can actually bring home the conference trophy. Give the edge in the SEC East to Georgia for now, but give the nod in Atlanta to the champion of the SEC West until further notice.

GEORGIA
Place: 1st in the SEC East
Record: 11-1, 7-1 SEC
Could be: 8-4 to 12-0
Best chance to be upset: at VANDERBILT
Bowl: CAPITAL ONE
SOUTH CAROLINA
Place: 2nd in the SEC East
Record: 11-1, 7-1 SEC
Could be: 7-5 to 12-0
Best chance to be upset: at MISSOURI
Bowl: OUTBACK
FLORIDA
Place: 3rd in the SEC East
Record: 9-3, 5-3 SEC
Could be: 7-5 to 12-0
Best chance to be upset: at MIAMI (FL)
Bowl: CHICK-FIL-A
8.31.13 | at CLEMSON | POSSIBLE WIN 8.29.13 | NORTH CAROLINA | PROBABLE WIN 8.31.13 | TOLEDO | LIKELY WIN
9.7.13 | SOUTH CAROLINA | POSSIBLE WIN 9.7.13 | at GEORGIA | POSSIBLE LOSS 9.7.13 | at MIAMI (FL) | POSSIBLE WIN
9.21.13 | NORTH TEXAS | WIN 9.14.13 | VANDERBILT | POSSIBLE WIN 9.21.13 | TENNESSEE | LIKELY WIN
9.28.13 | LSU | POSSIBLE LOSS 9.28.13 | at UCF | PROBABLE WIN 9.28.13 | at KENTUCKY | LIKELY WIN
10.5.13 | at TENNESSEE | PROBABLE WIN 10.5.13 | KENTUCKY | LIKELY WIN 10.5.13 | ARKANSAS | LIKELY WIN
10.12.13 | MISSOURI | PROBABLE WIN 10.12.13 | at ARKANSAS | PROBABLE WIN 10.12.13 | at LSU | POSSIBLE LOSS
10.19.13 | at VANDERBILT | POSSIBLE WIN 10.19.13 | at TENNESSEE | PROBABLE WIN 10.19.13 | at MISSOURI | POSSIBLE WIN
11.2.13 | vs. FLORIDA | POSSIBLE WIN 10.26.13 | at MISSOURI | POSSIBLE WIN 11.2.13 | vs. GEORGIA | POSSIBLE LOSS
11.9.13 | APPALACHIAN STATE | WIN 11.2.13 | MISSISSIPPI STATE | LIKELY WIN 11.9.13 | VANDERBILT | POSSIBLE WIN
11.16.13 | at AUBURN | LIKELY IWN 11.16.13 | FLORIDA | POSSIBLE WIN 11.16.13 | at SOUTH CAROLINA | POSSIBLE LOSS
11.23.13 | KENTUCKY | LIKELY WIN 11.23.13 | COASTAL CAROLINA | LIKELY WIN 11.23.13 | GEORGIA SOUTHERN | WIN
11.30.13 | at GEORGIA TECH | PROBABLE WIN 11.30.13 | CLEMSON | POSSIBLE WIN 11.30.13 | FLORIDA STATE | PROBABLE WIN

Key (from least likely to win to most): Loss, Likely Loss, Probable Loss, Possible Loss, Possible Win, Probable Win, Likely Win, Win

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