South Carolina football: predicting the final SEC East standings

South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Israel Mukuamu (24). Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Israel Mukuamu (24). Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Michael Drennen II runs between South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back O’Donnell Fortune (25) and defensive back Jaylan Foster (27). Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Where will South Carolina football finish in the SEC East?

3. Florida Gators

The defending division champs lost a ton of offensive firepower from last year’s SEC East winning team. That team nearly upset Alabama in the title game to shake up college football’s postseason. But now, Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney, and Kyle Trask are all off to the NFL, meaning there will be a number of key pieces for head coach Dan Mullen to replace.

He thinks he’s found his answer at quarterback in Emory Jones, and the Gators are typically loaded at the skill positions. They’ll face their usual opponent LSU out of the West, while adding a matchup with Alabama to give them the most difficult cross-divisional slate in the conference. They won’t be favored over Georgia, who brings back a ton of talent, meaning there could be three likely losses before looking at the rest of the schedule.

Now the Gators will be favored over South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and Vanderbilt, as well as in a swing game against Kentucky, but 5-3 may be the best case scenario.

2. Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats have one of the best running back rooms in the SEC, and we plan on them to lean on it heavily due to the fact that they’ve brought in a transfer quarterback to take over under center. Kentucky has had South Carolina’s number lately, winning six of the last seven meetings. The Gamecocks are hoping to change that this September in Williams-Brice Stadium.

Kentucky has the tough task of facing LSU from the West, but they get a break by catching Mississippi State, too. If the Wildcats can split those matchups, they’re largely viewed as the third best team in the East. A loss on the road at Georgia is likely, but sneaking up on Florida isn’t out of the question.

If the Wildcats can win the games they’ll be favored in, and maybe snag an upset, five to six SEC wins isn’t out of the question.