S&P+ sez the SEC East is gonna be a bitch, y’all. (Although not quite as rough as its Western counterpart.)
- Georgia: 2019 S&P+ projection: 10.1 wins (No. 2)
- Florida: 2019 S&P+ projection: 8.7 wins (No. 6)
- Missouri: 2019 S&P+ projection: 8.1 wins (No. 16)
- South Carolina: 2019 S&P+ projection: 5.9 wins (No. 18)
- Tennessee: 2019 S&P+ projection: 6.5 wins (No. 21)
- Kentucky: 2019 S&P+ projection: 6.1 wins (No. 37)
- Vanderbilt: 2019 S&P+ projection: 4.9 wins (No. 53)
It’s something to expect the eighteenth-ranked team to be engaged in a season-long struggle for bowl eligibility.
One side note worth sharing is the second-year effect in the SEC.
There’s one more factor in UT’s favor: the second-year effect. If a coach is going to oversee a major surge in his program, it’s probably happening in either his second or third season. Pruitt’s division rivals, and a certain former boss, provide anecdotal proof of that.
Kirby Smart’s second UGA team went from 42nd in S&P+ to fourth. South Carolina improved from 85th to 41st in Will Muschamp’s second year. Missouri went from 70th to 28th in Barry Odom’s second season. Kentucky improved from 74th to 51st in Year 2 under Mark Stoops. Former Pruitt boss Nick Saban oversaw a leap from 31st to 10th at Alabama in 2008.
There are a lot of SEC head coaches entering into their second year at the helm. Given how tough the conference appears to be shaping up, I doubt they can all shine in 2019, but we’ll see.