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LET’S ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SEC EAST

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SPOILER: THERE IS NO ANSWER OR CURE FOR THE SEC EAST

KENTUCKY FOOTBALL: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, REALLY

This is still entirely possible. With the exception of Missouri, no one has known what passing offense means, does, or is in the SEC East for decades at this point. This has been especially true since the departure of Mike Bobo from his spot as offensive coordinator at Georgia, because the combination of Mike Bobo and Aaron Murray might have been the best combination of coach/player at the QB spot in recent SEC East history.

That is damning with faint praise, but we are talking about the SEC East.

Missouri has had to pass the ball aggressively and often because their defense has been a sieve, and also because once you go Big 12, it’s always in the DNA, ready to go operant the minute a stressor hits the Tiger nervous system. It’s like herpes, but entertaining to watch. (Again, see: SEC East.)

Oh, and everyone on the Fullcast forgot that Missouri’s new offensive coordinator following the departure of Josh Heupel to UCF is Derek Dooley, who has never been an offensive coordinator in his career, or even coached in the SEC East.*

*Shh. Never happened. Also you forgot Josh Heupel coaches at UCF. It’s cool, it’s June.

Mississippi State, by the way, is in the SEC West, not the SEC East. This, like the entire SEC East except for Georgia, is an honest mistake. The Bulldogs could still post the worst record in the division if they lose to both Florida and Kentucky. The chances of this happening are minimal, but predicting anything under “Mississippi State with new management” is a dangerous, dangerous thing.

BUDDY DON’T YOU KNOW IT. Jake Bentley is really good and he gets Deebo Samuel back from injury, and the Gamecocks return most of the offense. Returning most of the offense is very good news on paper.

The opposite of good news is that the offense, like Missouri’s, is also under new management. Bryan McCLendon isn’t new to the staff and has some backup from veteran Dan Werner at QB coach, but he is 34 years old and taking his first job as O.C. He is also taking over an attack with an impressionable young QB who is still developing, and a head coach who THOUGH VASTLY IMPROVED IN THIS AREA still thinks of offense as an unnecessary carbuncle growing on the beautiful hide of his pet rhinoceros of a defense.

The talent matters more than the coaching in most instances, but there’s still the potential for some organizational hiccups there. Nothing major, just little things that add up because everyone is learning, and we’re sure South Carolina fans will be patient with that, because isn’t God working on all of us?

[south carolina fan interjects: WE AIN’T PAYIN’ GOD MILLIONS TO LOSE TO KENTUCKY ARE WE? ]

Oh, and the way it goes won’t be losing to Ole Miss and Florida after beating Georgia. It’ll be losing to Kentucky again, and then getting screwed out of a championship game slot in knotted-up SEC East tiebreaker of some sort. We don’t invent the future, but we do have its rough outlines in our inbox.

Only way it could happen, honestly. Still possible, though they’d have to beat Georgia in Athens for Homecoming. That hasn’t happened in at least two years.

An aside: Georgia will still be massively more talented than anyone else in the division. They also lose Roquan Smith, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, and Isaiah Wynn, and that should matter because the loss of any of those players by themselves would be a dent in any depth chart. The margins might not matter for Georgia anyway, but if they do? That loss of generational talents across the board would go a long way towards explaining why, say, a team might cough up a random SEC East game at noon.

THAT PERSON WILL BE ME BECAUSE THE KENTUCKY STREAK IS ALL WE HAVE LEFT

Second place seems like a stretch with South Carolina having actual, functional parts on offense. If there is a prediction to make, it will be Florida. Tennessee might not win a conference game this year for a hundred reasons summed up best as “Jeremy Pruitt has to put this program on purge status, and the on-field results should be treated as test flights at best.”

This is not an exaggeration. Tennessee is at least a year behind in strength and conditioning alone, has players playing out of position on the depth chart and in some cases on the field, and has to work through whatever exorcism Tennessee’s administration has to perform on the building. That‘s the scene: Phil Fulmer wandering the halls, lighting sage in flowing robes and chanting quietly while Jeremy Pruitt screams furiously about someone putting spring onions on his grits.

Jeremy Pruitt does not know what spring onions are, but he hates them all the same. He is such the perfect coach for Tennessee.

Alternately, think of this this way. Where Kentucky stands today is 6-6 forever, beating Louisville pretty badly every other year, and living as a tough but outmanned program consistently putting up average numbers in the SEC. Peaks and valleys with the standard variance, but on the whole: That’s where you’re at.

This is you, the Kentucky fan, thinking about what could be:

ANDRE WOODSON VIBES FOREVER

This is you, Kentucky fan, thinking about what might go wrong if you went with someone else.

SORRY Y’ALL BUT CLASSICS ARE CLASSICS

This is you trying to decide between them.

AH, LIFE

Choose one. That may seem cruel, but why would that terrify you at this point. You are a Kentucky football fan. Hell? Hell for Kentucky football is just the parking lot for somewhere much, much worse, and the shuttle driver always leaves a seat for you.