Georgia or South Carolina: Who Wins the SEC East in 2014?

Let me say that I’m not ready to answer that question just yet, but in reading Athlon’s attempt, the thing that jumps out at me is how much more faith people on the outside have that Pruitt is going to improve the defense this season than we seem to.  Why do you think that’s so?

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45 Comments

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45 responses to “Georgia or South Carolina: Who Wins the SEC East in 2014?

  1. heyberto

    It’s not that they know something we don’t, but they either don’t do their homework (what’s missing in our secondary) or just think a guy like Pruitt can overcome it. I suppose we’ll always have the spirit of Larry Munson within us as perennial pessimists, but I just don’t see what they could possibly know that that makes us better than it appears to us.

    • charlottedawg

      It’s not just pessimism to say we have some serious problems in the secondary possibly the whole defense. Part of the motivation for Grantham leaving may be because he knew how bad he had let things get on the defensive side of the ball.

      • Part of the motivation for Grantham leaving may be because he knew how bad he had let things get on the defensive side of the ball.

        I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. Regardless of how it came down. This team was headed down the toilet, and it was Grantham’s defense, and the impact of his defense on the team, that was mostly responsible.

        It’s not believable that Grantham didn’t see that.
        ~~~

      • heyberto

        I’d take it a step further and say that it’s starting to look like he was letting some entitlement culture come in to play as well. Shaq Wiggins is pretty much saying that. I think Grantham wasn’t as bad as Willie, but it’s clear Pruitt isn’t taking any shit off anybody, and Shaq wasn’t having that.

    • Signal Mtn Dawg

      This is the beauty of college football. Each year is unique. Let the debates begin!

      Until I see it on the field, and not just a spring game, QB advantage USCe as Shaw’s replacement has more experience. Spurrier is an incredible coach getting the most out of his talent . Usce is losing top tier talent on defense, but has recruited well to their system.

      UGA is also stacked in overall talent and addressing major failures that has plagued this program. New D-staff will simplify a similar 3-4 base and focus on fundamentals. I am NOT as concerned with the attrition in the secondary as many people seem to be as last years Defense and secondary play was such a roller coaster and quite frankly, just never improved.

      I am really excited about the entire UGA staff and think that the next few years will see UGA deserve to be in the conversation of top 10 if not top 5 elite programs with better position to win the SEC and possibly more. It may not happen immediately…..but you can sense the excitement.

      At Columbia is going to be tough. This will be a 50/50 game at this point……but UGA is headed in the right direction.

  2. charlottedawg

    South Carolina will win 10 regular season games including against the eventual SEC East champ.

    Georgia, I have no idea.

    • Mayor

      South Carolina actually plays a marginally harder SEC schedule this year, dropping Arky and Mississippi State and picking up A&M (in Columbia) and Auburn (at Auburn). That said, the Dicks…er…Cocks drop North Carolina and UCF and get East Carolina and Furman, so the OOC schedule is easier. Probably a wash.

      • Bright Idea

        A&M in Columbia is a win for the Gamecocks and A&M anywhere will be a win for several teams. If UGA dosen’t clip the chickens no need in counting on A&M to help.

        • Mayor

          I was thinking more of USCe dropping 2 relatively easy wins from 2014 (Arky and Missy State) in exchange for gaining 1 likely, but not certain, win (A&M) and one potential loss (Auburn).

  3. DawgFaithful

    I’ve been wondering the exact same thing for months now.

  4. W Cobb Dawg

    I think Pruitt’s doing a fine job so far, and same goes for the assistants he brought in. The work Wilson did last year with the DL shows that a good coach can get immediate results. Same goes for the results CJP got in 1 season at FSU.

    I expect the D to be much better fundamentally and better organized. So yes, I expect much better results. Top 20 in D won’t surprise me at all. And the D will be far better than last year’s fiasco.

  5. jim

    USCe has lost a lot of talent and Connor Shaw, who was so tough on us, is gone. Clowney and Quarles not being there have got to weaken their DL. We should have a better front 7. Our secondary is the wild card. If we win @ Columbia we should win the East.

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    Because we were so galactically bad last year that mediocre would be an improvement?

  7. ChicagoDawg

    Reasons, as I see it…

    1.) It is an easy narrative/story line (NC defensive coord. taking over)
    2.) A lot of people on the outside believe all that is missing at UGA is coaching — great talent that has been held back by coaching — again an easy narrative to latch onto

    My guess is the front 7 will be stout as it was already setting to be so. I do think the secondary will improve as there will be more simplicity, accountability and athleticism. Yeah, I know the athleticism part seems like a head scratcher statement given the losses in personnel. However, tense, bound-up, out-of-position elite athletes do not play with athleticism. Tension is a killer for all athletic movements be it golf, basketball, baseball, football, . My hope is the secondary will be more relaxed, instinctive and play more athletically.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    You can’t lose players like Shaw and Clowney and expect the same results. The only really significant player not returning for us is AM. Dawgs had a lousy year due to injuries, poor special teams coaching, and CTG. We’ve made efforts to improve all our deficiencies from ’13 – although I wouldn’t argue if somebody said our OL will be same or worse. Short answer is we’ll improve, scu won’t. So (drumroll please) I pick the Dawgs.

    • Juan

      I think you underestimate the importance of Murray.

      Mason might, MIGHT be 30% the player Murray was…

      • uglydawg

        I think you underestimate the ability of Mason. If he’s only 30% of Murray, the Dawgs don’t win a game. In reality, he’s probably closer to Murray than Gurley is to Hershel and look how much we’re expecting at running back.

  9. Mayor

    You know, I don’t see how any of these “football prognosticators” even have a job. They just shoot from the hip. Did any of them even bother to look at the schedules before they picked? Clearly Missouri has the inside track to win the East. Missouri gets Georgia in Columbia and HAS THE PREVIOUS WEEK OFF (remember how FU always had their schedule set up that way during that long winning run against the Dawgs?) whereas the Dawgs don’t. Same for when Missouri plays A&M. Sure, Missouri may lose on the road to South Carolina but that easily could be the only Mizzou loss of the season. If Georgia is to win the SEC East the Dawgs have to win the game against Missouri and that will be a tall order. Looking at the schedule, Missouri could very well go 11-1 during the regular season in 2014 as the Tigers should win all the OOC games.

    • Mayor

      P.S. Remind me. Who won the SEC East last year? Just sayin.’

    • Debby Balcer

      Missouri lost a lot of talent this year. Their defense oil a hit as well as losing their starting quarterback and number one receiver. I think people overestimate them.

  10. simpl_matter

    I’m always leery of the Golden Boys and Miracle Workers, I’ll believe the sun is shining when I see it for myself. That said, Pruitt seems humble & hard-nosed. I believe he can make us world-beaters, I just don’t know if he can do it in one year with less talent than some of our rivals.

  11. Macallanlover

    At this point I think you can just about bundle Mizzou, SC, and UGA as equal picks for the SEC East because they all have more proven potential than the other four. I would put Mizzou and SC slightly a half step ahead of UGA because the Dawgs have both of them on the road this year. All three have some significant questions to answer in filling key losses, actually UGA may have a slight edge in that area. Close call, none of them look dominant.

  12. 5 of the 6 pick Georgia. Maybe that’s not a jinx, as long as the writers at SEC Media Days don’t pick Georgia this August. That is the sure kiss of death.
    ~~~

  13. Cojones

    Yesterday “Mr SEC” touted two Mizzou players as NFL draft material this year and specifically mentioned DE Golden as one of the 5 SEC “Godzillas” on an ESPN list. Imagine the surprise to see Floyd listed as #1 and Gurley listed at #3 by Nabulski – two of the five belonged on UGA’s D and O. Pack Ramik Wilson in there as well since he heads the watch list for Best D Player of the Year Award. We know that Herrera and Jenkins are loaded on ready so that leaves Pruitt’s secondary as a focal point for practice to churn out a few good ones that can zip the D into a contender. Pruitt will get them ready for the SC game, no fear.

    Renewed respect for Mizzou will be in fans’s and player’s minds this year and there should be a good struggle in Columbia, but we will know who we are by then. Barring injury(everyone else has the same chance for injury to occur), we have a good shot with our D under Pruitt.

    More practice time is the key to revoking the nagging feeling about the secondary that we have from the Spring Game. Certainly the fact that Pruitt whipped FSU into shape for his schemes to work in his first season there should give us a measure of confidence in what he will place on the field wielding UGA’s best D athletes.

    Yes, I expect SC to be weaker this year and for the Dawgs to win the SEC East and possibly be one of the top four in the country.

    • Macallanlover

      I sure hope you are right bro, but I feel picking UGA to be a solid pick for the East and in the Top 5 nationally is assuming we hit an inside straight on every hand dealt. If we achieve the East title alone we will have some very talented returnees to look forward to the next several years, to make the very top echelon nationally it will be the surprise story of the year. I like pleasant surprises so I hope your “medicine” is leading you in the right direction this year. But I must warn you, the spreading legalization is leading to some very potent new strains that could delude you. Pass it around, might as well have a fantasy summer along with you.

      • Cojones

        Your system tolerates more and more THC until there is no such ganja as “Delude”. By simply not touching it for weeks or months any cheap weed will get you high. If, at the end of that fasting period you get the high THC, then, yeah, you get higher fast. My usage is more attuned for getting sleep, not high. It just takes less of the good stuff with fewer particles inhaled to do the job. In the last few months I’ve slept 8 hrs continuously several times for the first time in 8 YEARS. I was off the stuff for a couple of months during the hip replacement recovery, connected with “medicinal grade” stuff and now inhale less to get the effectiveness sought.

        My fantasies concerning the Dawgs cannot (unfortunately) be laid at the feet of ganja consumption. Just break down every team for talent translated to their positions, playing experience and coaching. No one questions Bobo’s ability to get the best O on the field so just compare the D. Let me know which team you have a problem in comparing D potential with this year using those criterion. FU comes closest in my book, but even the Gators can’t sustain a heavy dose of Gurley. Just look at’em one at the time and try to convince me that the Os in the East cannot be had by our D and that our O can be beaten by any D in the East. You can come close with several good matches, but I don’t see us as being beaten. Our O kicked Steve’s butt last year; we haven’t lost the O (except Murray) and their D is less. Home field won’t work like it did two years ago.Thompson can get some yds on a few passes, but he won’t face another team with the D ability to get to him first like Georgia. Pruitt is preparing them to do exactly that.

  14. AusDawg85

    Regression to the mean…Georgia wins the east while somebody else gets all the injuries, bad calls, etc.

    • Macallanlover

      Our cup did runneth over last year. It seems the bad calls were just piling on after all the injuries we had endured…a couple of which were non-contact plays. Strange year. Our record would have been 2-3 better, which is damned nice, but our defense would still have kept us being a true championship team. Many of us said we would have to outscore the other teams, and it looked like we could have before the injuries, but it would certainly be nice to return to Junkyard style defense again. I love the explosiveness we have had on offense but I just trust a rock-solid defense more.

  15. 69Dawg

    The key to the SC game is to take the crowd out of the game early. The last time in Columbia our guys wet themselves. That game reminded me of the bad old days when a talented UGA team would find a way to screw up in the Fla game. SOS knows how to mess with a team. The SC crowd was unbelievable the last time and it hurt our guys big time. Here’s hoping part of the simplification will be the visual D calls that all the D understand and no one needs to try and yell out anything.

    • Debby Balcer

      I don’t see having another meltdown in Columbia SC. There are enough guys still on the team that want erase that memory.

  16. DawgByte

    The 2014 Bulldogs are probably the greatest mystery of the Richt era. We have a whole new defensive coaching staff, combined with a QB with only 2.5 games under his belt and 3 new starters on the OL. That’s a lot of change in one year. Throw on top a defensive backfield that’s coming off the worst season in 25+ years and off field transfers and suspensions and it’s anyone’s guess as to how this team will react. I think we may be looking at an 8 win season.

    • You may be right.

      But I think all the changes are for the good. OL excepted, but not sure how much worse we could be there, either.

      I think this team was headed down the toilet. And the primary thing that caused it has been/is being changed. Shaq Wiggins departure is solid evidence of that , IMO. The culture that enabled Jordan Jenkins to sit on his butt and play video games all of last summer is gone.

      Without that change, I would agree with you. We may win only 8 anyway, because we could play pretty good in Columbia and still lose. And we have yet to slay the monster of not being well-prepared and solid in big-game openers, especially on offense.

      But I suspect we may see a different Georgia. All the attrition and change doesn’t bother me one bit. I feel certain we’ll even be better in the secondary because of it. Maybe not yet where we want to be, but better than we would’ve been without the attrition.

      Just as the culture of Martinez and Grantham infuenced and affected the whole team, so will the culture of Pruitt. I expect that to make a difference, even this year.
      ~~~

  17. Spike

    When does the Ole Ball Sack start bitchin’ about the schedule?