As usual, SEC East is rugged

It's a matter of record that the Eastern Division has produced the Southeastern Conference football champion 10 times in the past 14 seasons. Last season it produced the national champion, as well.

Still, there's an annual debate as to whether the East or West will be stronger in a given year. That debate already has started for 2007, thanks to college football analyst Tom Dienhart.

Today's lead college football item at is entitled "These dogs will hunt" and includes a photo from a Georgia game. The tease links to Dienhart's article, aptly entitled "SEC East will be a beast on the football field."

Dienhart begins by suggesting that the West will have "more elite teams in 2007," citing LSU as a national title contender, Auburn as a top-15 program and Alabama as "the ultimate wild card."

Then, coming to his senses, the writer eventually concedes that "The East will be a beast, the best it has been since this super conference split into divisions in 1992."

Here's a sampling of Dienhart's logic:

"In the East, it's the same story, different year: Florida, Georgia and Tennessee again will be a holy terror of a trio that will set the standard. Each is a Top 25 team, and the Gators could surprise and defend their national title if the talented-but-young defense develops quickly. Georgia always is the best-coached team. Watch quarterback Matthew Stafford become a star. A coach who has – ahem – a sense of urgency to win big will lead always-talented Tennessee.

"And then there's South Carolina. You know, I know and your Aunt Mabel knows it's a matter of when – not if – the Gamecocks will start winning big with you-know-who scribbling Xs and Os on the sideline.

"But the reason why the East will have the edge is because of – get this – Vandy and Kentucky. Yeah, I know: Incredible, isn't it? The SEC sad sacks are punching back. Bobby Johnson, one of the best coaches in this galaxy, will have his best edition yet of nerds in Nashville. And the Wildcats are talking like its 1998, when Tim Couch led Big Blue to a New Year's Day bowl vs. Penn State. Is UK's Andre' Woodson the best quarterback in the SEC? Let that debate rage, too."

Dienhart's entire article can be viewed at

Inside Tennessee Top Stories