Trey’s Takes: Three Pivotal Questions I Have For The SEC East This Weekend

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We now enter the final weekend of the SEC regular season. The college football season has flown by. As we take a look at the slate of games on Saturday, there are three games that stand out in the East, where a few non-conference games take place. This is also a big weekend for a few bowl eligible teams to make their case for certain bowl games.

Can Florida look past the firing of Dan Mullen and become bowl eligible?

The Gators are coming off a tumultuous few weeks, with losses to South Carolina and Missouri, which led to the firing of head coach Dan Mullen. Florida has appointed Greg Knox as interim coach for the remainder of the season, which could end this weekend. The Gators will host Florida State this weekend, and both teams are looking to become bowl eligible. The UF staff is not going to change many things up against the Seminoles, but Emory Jones suffered an injury in practice this week, so look for Anthony Richardson to get the start.

Florida and Florida State will kick off at 12:00 pm ET on ESPN. The Gators are 2.5-point favorites, according to FanDuel.

As for the rest of the Gators, they are looking to finish off the season as best as they can with all the turmoil surrounding the former coach. They have the talent to win this game, but they have to put it all together. Maybe this team comes out and plays hard for the staff still in place. But if they don’t, Florida State has enough playmakers to become bowl eligible themselves this weekend, finishing off a wild season with a win over Florida. Either way, this rivalry game should be intriguing.

Can South Carolina pick up its fifth straight win at home?

The Gamecocks are coming off a big win over Auburn and are currently riding a 4-game winning streak in Columbia. The final test will come this weekend, as in-state rival Clemson comes to town. The Tigers are 11-point favorites according to FanDuel, but being an underdog hasn’t fazed Shane Beamer’s team. This South Carolina team has beaten Florida and Auburn in recent weeks at home, so I wouldn’t put it past them to play the Tigers close. The question is how does QB Jason Brown play this week against a tough Clemson defense.

Clemson and South Carolina will kickoff at 7:30 pm ET on SEC Network.

We’ve seen the Gamecocks use the run game to their advantage this season, with the offensive line playing much better over the last month. I don’t put anything past Shane Beamer on Saturday. This team is already bowl eligible, so they are playing with house money. But can they play well enough on defense to control a Clemson offense that has struggled at times this season? The Tigers are coming off a nice win over Wake Forest and are looking to finish their season strong, so we will find out pretty quickly whether South Carolina has a little more of that magic left.

Will Kentucky finish the regular season on a high note?

Before the Wildcats took care of Vanderbilt and New Mexico State, two easy opponents, they were riding a three-game losing streak. That put what could’ve been a New Year’s Six bowl out of sight, so they are now playing for a Florida bowl. I don’t doubt this team is ready for what Louisville will throw at them, especially with QB Malik Cunningham running the offense. The Wildcats’ defense will be key, as we know what this team can do on offense with Will Levis, Wan’Dale Robinson and Chris Rodriguez.

Louisville is currently a 2.5-point favorite over Kentucky, according to FanDuel. 

Mark Stoops had to answer a few questions about other coaching opportunities this week, so you have to wonder whether this has been a distraction. But Stoops has sounded pretty committed to the Kentucky program, so maybe the outside noise won’t infiltrate the locker room. This will be a night game in Louisville and how the Wildcats run the football could determine what this game looks like. Mark Stoops would love to finish the season with nine wins, but the Cardinals are standing in the way of that accomplishment. This should be one of the better SEC games this weekend, so pay attention to ESPN2 at 7:30 pm ET on Saturday night.

Honorable Questions:

Can Georgia escape its game against Georgia Tech injury-free?

How many points does the Tennessee offense put up against Vanderbilt?

Lots of questions still remain about the SEC East as we enter the last weekend of the regular season.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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