There are very few things that the Gators can look to as a positive experience this season. Head Coach Will Muschamp might be run out of Gainesville before the season even ends, and his quarterback, Jeff Driskel might not be too far behind him. In the pre-season, Driskel was on the Players with Something to Prove list. All he has proven is that he is not the answer at quarterback that everyone thought he was coming out of high school. His injury last year might have a lot to do with his confidence in his line but, injury or no injury, Driskel has been an ineffective quarterback. Florida’s bright spots have been on defense. Vernon Hargreaves and Dante Fowler Jr. are studs, and the young talent on the defense is impressive. If the season continues on like it has, Will Muschamp might be out of a job at the end of the year. Athletic director Jeremy Foley has stated that Muschamp has the athletic department’s full support until then end of the season. However, if things continue to spiral out of control, Foley might be forced to take some action to appease the Gator faithful.
It has been the tale of two seasons for the Dawgs. There has been the pre-Todd Gurley suspension and the post-Todd Gurley suspension. Even with the Dawgs offensive all-world tailback, first year starting quarterback Hutson Mason and the defense under new Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt had plenty of growing pains. With Gurley still out due to suspension the Dawgs are now hitting on all cylinders in every facet of the game. Freshman sensation (déjà vu) Nick Chubb looks like a seasoned veteran running the ball, while the defense is playing disciplined, fast, and mean. The only question is how long can Georgia last without a player like Gurley who accounted for a little over 30 percent of the Dawgs’ offense. If the defense can continue to play like it has been playing and Nick Chubb continues to run like he has then maybe Georgia can sustain itself. But with games against Florida, Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia Tech remaining on their schedules it will be important for the Dawgs to have their star player on the field.
The Wildcats have completely revitalized themselves after a winless SEC campaign in 2013. Kentucky was able to get a big win over South Carolina (who has been struggling) and also Vanderbilt. With that said, Kentucky has now entered an absolutely grueling schedule that started against LSU. The Tigers manhandled the Wildcats who were woken up from the dream like start they had. A prelude to the middle of the Cats schedule, which features Mississippi State and Georgia at home, with games in Knoxville, Louisville and Columbia. If the Cats can get by these teams then they can make their way to this SEC east race which is much more open than people are thinking. While Kentucky has been a surprise team thus far, it is in the middle of their season where things will begin to unravel for the Cats who just have to demanding of a schedule to handle. Patrick Towles has cooled off since having a great start to his season and there is still no consistent ground attack. Bud Dupree has been a beast and lives in the backfield while Josh Forrest has been plugging up the middle of the field on defense. While Kentucky will be able to win some of these games, but this schedule is too daunting even for the more elite SEC teams. Still, Mark Stoops deserves all the credit in the world for getting the Cats up to some prominence in the East.
Even after two tough losses, the Tigers are still right in the middle of the SEC East race. Thanks to the impressive rush ends Markus Golden and Shane Ray and the speedster Marcus Lucas, Missouri has been able to get past South Carolina and Florida. Even after the loss to Georgia, the Tigers are still in the hunt for an east title and a chance at the SEC crown. The biggest question mark is Maty Mauk. Mauk has been inconsistent for the Tigers and embarrassed against Georgia and Florida. At this point, Mauk is still the guy under center but needs to clean up his act on the field especially if the Tigers want any chance to make it to Atlanta.
What was supposed to be another strong season for Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks has turned into a head-scratcher by the SEC world. After being throttle by Texas A&M, beat by Kentucky and also Missouri the entire country couldn’t believe that this team was ranked ninth to start the season. While the Gamecocks have some studs from 2013’s outstanding team like Mike Davis and AJ Cann, the loss of Connor Shaw and the NFL’s number one pick, Jadeveon Clowney, are still being felt in Columbia. The once-feared South Carolina is just not the same with giving up over 400 yards a game. While the Gamecock’s chances of winning the East are basically over, the Ole’ Ball coach and his boys still have Auburn, Florida and in-state rival, Clemson. The scary thing for USC fans is, that could easily be three more losses and at the rate this team is going.
In his second season as the head coach Butch Jones was finally ready to burst onto the scene and revive the sleep walking Volunteers. Justin Worley has been a solid quarterback and A.J. Johnson could make a case to be defensive player of the year. When push comes to shove though, Tennessee is still too young. An inexperienced offensive line has put Worley on his back far too many times this year. Also inexperienced, the front four on defense has not been able to phase any quarterback or any rusher. Tennessee has a plethora of talent but its not ready to compete yet. Jones gets a pass because it his only his second year. However, if this trend continues against SEC opponents, Jones might not last much longer like some of his predecessors.
It has not been the season that the Commodores were hoping to have. After James Franklin left Nashville for the head coaching job at Penn State, the question for Vanderbilt was would it continue to have the same success it had with Franklin, or would it regress in 2014. It is safe to say that this season has been a disappointment. The opening season loss to Temple set everything into motion. Patton Robinette’s injury against South Carolina has still left Vandy without their starting quarterback. Vanderbilt’s leading rusher from 2013, Jerron Seymour, is still trying to get his feet under him after missing time with a leg injury. As of now, Ralph Webb is the greatest offensive threat that the Commodores have, and Johnny McCrary will get his first start against Missouri after a solid performance against Charleston Southern. McCrary might prove to be the spark that Vandy’s offense has desperately needed.
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