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A Resurgent SEC East Behind Georgia

As more major college football conferences grow in size, divisional play becomes inevitable. We miss the days when these conferences were all one ruck of teams slugging it out with one another.

Over the last decade, Alabama’s dominance over the entire conference hung a shadow over the SEC East. The division hadn’t had a national champion since Tim Tebow’s Florida Gators in 2008. Georgia’s national championship win last year ended that streak.

As the season stands today, both divisions have at least 4 teams ranked in the AP Top 25. The SEC East has a couple of names we haven’t seen in the Top 25 for a long time.

Kentucky Surprise

Seeing the name “Kentucky Wildcats” at the top of football standings is not something we’re used to seeing in the SEC East.

The Wildcats have started 2-0, including a win on the road at “The Swamp” in Gainesville against a ranked Gators team. The Wildcat defense lead the way, intercepting the hyped Anthony Richardson twice, including a 65-yard pick 6. The victory made Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops the all-time winningest head coach in Kentucky football history.

It will be interesting to see if the Wildcats have enough to contend down the stretch. At a minimum, they’ll have an NFL prospect quarterback. Will Levis transferred to Kentucky from Penn State after redshirting and sitting on the bench for 2 years. In his first season at Kentucky, he threw for almost 3000 yards and 24 touchdowns on the way to a Citrus Bowl victory over Iowa.

Tennessee Resurgence We’ve Waited For

The last decade of Tennessee football hasn’t lived up to the historical standards for the program. 7 of the last twelve seasons of Volunteer football have been sub-.500 seasons.

Josh Heupel took over in 2021 as the latest head coach to try and right the Volunteers’ history. Heupel opened his campaign in 2021 with a 7-6 record and a loss in the Music City Bowl.

Tennessee opened this season with a 59-10 win over Ball State. However, it’s their win on the road vs a Top 25 ranked Pittsburgh Panthers that has the faithful in Neyland Stadium believing.
This past weekend, Tennessee went into Acrisure Stadium (formerly Heinz Field) and beat Pittsburgh 34-27 in overtime.

The Volunteers started slow, getting into a 17-7 hole in the 2nd quarter. They finished the half on a 17-0 scoring run, going into the half leading 24-17. The 2nd half was a different story.

There wasn’t another score in the game until 2:23 left when Pittsburgh tied it at 24. Hendon Hooker wound up winning the game for the Vols in overtime with a 28-yard TD strike.

Volunteer fans hope that Hooker, a redshirt senior transfer from Virginia Tech, will help shake off some of their woes of the past. It’s been 15 years since the Volunteers have had a 10-win season. A lot of prognosticators think that this is the year they break that streak.

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