SEC East Title Could Come Down to QB Play

Matt Hicks

Staff Writer, SEC Football & Fantasy Football

After two weeks, there is still no clear favorite to win the SEC East. We’ve seen Florida get embarrassed by Michigan, Georgia lose their starting QB, Tennessee slip by Georgia Tech, Mizzou lose to South Carolina, and a surprisingly solid Gamecocks offense. As we move closer to seeing who will represent the SEC East in Atlanta we need to keep an eye on the Quarterback play of these 5 contenders. The team with the best performing Quarterback could have the edge needed to emerge out of the East.

Georgia looks to overcome the loss of Eason:

We’re not sure how long Jacob Eason will be out for the Bulldogs. What we are sure of is that Georgia needs Jake Fromm, the true freshman out of Warner Robins, GA, to continue stepping up big. Fromm proved to be a good game manager against an intimidating Appalachian State defense, going 10-15 for 143 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INT. More impressive, however, was his performance against Notre Dame. He led this Bulldogs squad north of the Mason-Dixon and into a tough South Bend Environment. Fromm went 16-29 for 141 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Fromm will have two more weeks to develop until he gets his first SEC test, Week 5 at Tennessee. If he can continue to manage this Georgia offense until Eason returns, the Bulldogs could be the favorite to win the East.

It remains unclear who is the QB in Gainesville:

I predicted Florida would narrowly win the SEC East. After their Week 1 beat down against Michigan, I’m not so sure. The Gators can play defense, but we have no idea if they can be productive offensively. Feleipe Franks started the game for Florida and struggled, completed just 5 of 9 attempts for 75 yards and 0 TDs. Zaire was subbed in for the second half, and didn’t do much better; completing 9 of 17 for 106 yards and 0 TDs. They led an offense which had less than 200 total yards. They didn’t get to sort out this battle against the lay-up opponent of Northern Colorado due to complications around Hurricane Irma. With the Vols coming to the Swamp next week, the Gators need to figure something out quick or risk suffering a loss to Tennessee for the second straight year.

Jake Bentley could lead the Gamecocks to SEC East contention:

The Gamecocks have stormed out to a 2-0 start behind the 19 year old Jake Bentley. In South Carolina’s two wins Bentley has gone 35-57 for 402 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT. The wins include a tough out of conference win against NC State and a divisional blowout against Mizzou. Bentley proved last season, against Tennessee, that he can play big in tough SEC games. USC plays Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, and Texas A&M in their next 3 games. This means they realistically could be 5-0 (3-0) heading into their tough 4 game stretch where they’ll play Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia, then Florida.

We need to see more from Jared Guarantano:

I’m going into much more depth about Guarantano and Quinton “Sleeves” Dormandy later this week. For now, we’ll mention that Dormandy was unimpressive vs the Mighty Sycamores of Indiana State. Dormandy looks uncomfortable and unprepared behind center. He also doesn’t fit the Vols offensive system. Guarantano saw limited playing time on Saturday, but in that time he showed off his cannon of an arm and seemed to be a much better fit for Butch Jones’ read option offense.

We told you, Drew Locke isn’t that legit:

I said last week not to get too excited about Drew Locke. I was right. Against South Carolina, Locke looked bad. He completed just 43% of his passes (14-32) for 245 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. It was far from his 700+ yard performance. If Locke can’t handle South Carolina’s defense, we don’t want to see what Florida’s defense will do to him. Sorry Mizzou fans, but you’re Locke-d into the bottom of the SEC East race.

About Matt Hicks

Matt’s writing at Top2 is focused on dynasty fantasy football. He loves blending his experience writing research in the field of education with fantasy football stats. Matt currently lives in Baltimore, MD and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. You can follow Matt on Twitter: @Top2Matt

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