Tell us why Kentucky winning the SEC East would be great.
Tom Stephenson (@tcstephenson1): Well, honestly, the way this year is going we should just say no one wins the East and just award the overall SEC title to the West champ… but since that’s against the rules, why not Kentucky? At least then we probably wouldn’t have to worry about the SEC getting left out of the playoff because of some goofy upset loss in the title game?
Julian Council (@JulianCouncil): It would be great because back in August I predicted that Kentucky would sit at 4-2 in the East heading into November with Georgia and Tennessee left on the schedule. That did not appear to be even a possibility after the Wildcats rough 0-2 start. Other than to boost my own ego, it would be great for Kentucky to win the East because it would only magnify just how terrible the East is. Imagine how Florida, Tennessee and Georgia fans would feel watching yet again another perceived lowly, inferior East program head to Atlanta instead of them. I guess it would also be a great story for a fan base that has tried to buy in but been given so many reasons not to care.
Bryan Manning (@bdmanning4): Well, for one, it would help Stoops keep his job. He's worked hard since getting that job and the talent level has improved. Kentucky will never consistently be good in football, but winning the SEC East would be akin to winning the national title for the ‘Cats. And who wouldn't love seeing them win the division over major football programs like Georgia, Tennessee and Florida? And those poor, delusional UT fans who thought this was the year.
Jonathan Waldrop: (@aukiwal83): Would it be? I’m not sure. I guess for the reason that Stoops was all but done in Lexington following the Florida game and he’s managed a pretty solid turnaround since. Rich Brooks went 9-25 his first three seasons at Kentucky and turned in a solid 30-22 his final four. Stoops went 12-24 his first three seasons and is sitting at 5-3 right now. If Brooks is our “keep ‘em competitive” barometer at Kentucky, then Stoops is certainly working hard to match that. The real reward for SEC fans and UK ones in particular is to see how hard the ‘Cats have fought since the beginning of the year. Plus, two of their losses are to the current SEC division leaders. Not a bad deal.
Cam Newton (@morrisoncrying): I’m not going to mince words here: I’m a Kentucky fan. With a few years during the Rich Brooks era being an exception, I have always known Kentucky football to be a cellar dwellar in the SEC. For selfish reasons, it’d just be nice to see a team I like win. Plus, Kentucky fans would certainly love to see it happen by beating Georgia and Tennessee while Florida is busy losing two straight to SEC West opponents. On a different note, Kentucky winning the SEC East would be fantastic for the players and coaching staff, all of whom have had to endure years of scrutiny. After starting the season off slowly, recovering to win the division would mean the world to these guys trying to silence the nonbelievers.
What’s the best chance for Missouri to get an SEC win going forward?
Tom Stephenson (@tcstephenson1): Their remaining games are at South Carolina, Vanderbilt, at Tennessee, and Arkansas. From that group? Yeah, it’s Vanderbilt. Missouri’s problem in recent weeks has been that they can’t stop anybody, but Vanderbilt will just stop themselves.
Julian Council (@JulianCouncil): The question I ask myself is, do I stand bold in my feelings over South Carolina? That I cannot do. Cocky is riding high after beating Tennessee and looks like they’ve found their quarterback in high school senior Jake Bentley. Lets go with a win on Rocky Top. If reports are true that Butch Jones lost that locker room after Georgia, then why not let the season go down in flames with a loss to Mizzou at home on Senior Day.
Bryan Manning (@bdmanning4): Missouri could actually win any of those games. Did anyone see what happened to Arkansas when it played Auburn? No, Mizzou isn't Auburn, but that showed how the ‘Hogs were playing over their heads earlier this season. South Carolina plays hard, but the ‘Cocks aren't very good. The Tigers can beat them. Wouldn't it be hilarious if Mizzou won at Tennessee? I mean, it can happen. The Vols were extremely lucky to win some of the games they've won this season.
Jonathan Waldrop (@aukiwal83): This is a very difficult question to answer, because as bad as Mizzou has been, I can see them pulling a massive upset on all of those teams, but I can see them losing badly to each, as well. Vanderbilt’s offensive woes, though, is what makes me think they’re the team that Mizzou has the realest shot to defeat. I’m hedging, though. They may lose that one, too. I’m so confused, right now.
Cam Newton (@morrisoncrying): Vanderbilt is the only team left on Missouri’s schedule that they could conceivably win. Missouri’s offensive looked surprisingly bad last week against Kentucky, but they could very well roll right over this Vanderbilt team. Either way, I’m going to just rely on someone telling me the final score of that game because there’s no way I’m watching one second of it.
How far will the bottom drop out on Tennessee now?
Julian Council (@JulianCouncil): Remember when I said that Mizzou’s best chance at an SEC win was their visit to Neyland Stadium? Well that’s how far Tennessee could bottom out this season. How far will the bottom drop out? Tennessee should win out, but I see them losing at least another game so a 8-4 (4-4 SEC) record will be how they finish. And just to imagine that on New Year's Day this was the best team in the country.
Bryan Manning (@bdmanning4): Once a team starts losing these types of games and the locker room is in turmoil, anything can happen. We've heard so much about the drama on this team for a few weeks now. Players have essentially quit on the coach. This team still has talent, so they can win some games on that alone. However, would it shock anyone to see them lose to Kentucky, Missouri or Vandy at this point?
Jonathan Waldrop (@aukiwal83): The Vols need some serious magic to finish 9-3 this year. I understand this is the easiest part of their schedule coming up, but nothing seems to be easy right now. Having one of your most notable players bolting ¾ of the way into the season doesn’t make it any better, either. Poor Bob Shoop has done nothing but shatter expectations with the M*A*S*H* Unit of starters he has on the sidelines, but the offense losing both Hurd AND Kamara hurts. Dobbs obviously cannot run the show on his own and I think Julian and Bryan are right. Nothing would be surprising about them finishing 8-4 or, GASP, even 7-5. 8-4 is probably going to be their realistic finish, though.
Tom Stephenson (@tcstephenson1): It feels like, with Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, Mizzou and Vanderbilt left on the schedule, the Vols should be able to right the ship… but particularly with the news about Jalen Hurd, it’s really easy to build the “sinking ship” narratives. My gut tells me that they’ll drop another game and finish the season 8-4. But I’d actually lean more toward them finishing 9-3 than doing any worse than that. The question now becomes how hot Butch Jones’ seat is.
Cam Newton (@morrisoncrying): Thankfully for Tennessee, their schedule was frontloaded this year in terms of difficult competition. Like Tom said, Tennessee could certainly win three of their final four games (for me, the jury is still out on Kentucky at Tennessee--I’ll have a better answer after Georgia-Kentucky this weekend). If they do manage to lose two of those games, however, Butch Jones will definitely be looking for employment elsewhere.