Richt: Pick Georgia #1 in East

HOOVER, Ala. – Mark Richt thinks his team will win the SEC East.

The media doesn’t.

“No, I would have us first in the East. That’s our expectation. We are not going to say: “Oh, we are happy about being second.” That’s not the case.”

I’m with Mark Richt.

Not because he’s the coach at Georgia. Not because he’s the dean of SEC coaches. Not because he’s lost control of the media.

I’m with him because he’s right. I voted Georgia first in the East because they are the best team.

Will they win in Columbia(s), Jacksonville or against Auburn? I don’t know. But they are the team with the best defensive front seven in the SEC. They have the best running back in the SEC. They have a quarterback who, while not being made available for All-SEC voting, has experience in critical moments and is good enough to win the division with.

All of those things will add up to at least ten wins and a trip to Atlanta for the quarterfinals of the College Football Playoffs. As an aside – the team that doesn’t win the East still may get into the College Football Playoff, but they had better beat Clemson and have a clean sheet the rest of the way.

Like any football season there are a ton of ifs that come along with talking pigskin in the summer (where everyone has a chance to win… even Mississippi State).

If Georgia can stay healthy it will win the division. That didn’t happen last season.

If Georgia doesn’t play every game to the death at the end of the game it will win the division. That didn’t happen last season.

If Georgia has a new defensive coordinator and new defensive backs it will win the East. Wait...

You get the point. Georgia’s major task, it seems, is winning in Columbia, South Carolina. If winning a game in Columbia, where Georgia has lost two in a row, but traditionally squeaks out wins, is the most difficult thing in the way of getting back to Atlanta for the third time in four years isn’t that a pretty good scenario?

Remember when Florida and Tennessee were the year-in-and-year-out roadblocks? Apparently, those two have fallen so far that their annual slugfest might be televised on the SEC Network rather than CBS.

My point? Georgia can win in Columbia – that’s not the issue. The issue is which of those two teams will be able to handle the season that falls in front of them. For me the answer is simple – its Georgia.

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