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Friday Top 10: Reasons to be Hyped About 2016

9. The SEC East is Down

Jalen Hurd-1

Not necessarily about the Vols, but this certainly only adds to the feeling of why 2016 could be “The Year of the Vol.” It was said a lot about the 2015 SEC East that the division was as down as it has ever been, but that may be trumped by what the 2016 East has to offer.

Florida caught lightning in a bottle in 2015 and won the SEC East pretty handily. But once starting quarterback Will Grier was suspended for HGH use, the Gators had trouble winning and looked dreadful in the final four games of their season. Florida will have an unproven player start at quarterback, and its defense is taking a hit talent-wise as well.

Throw into the mix the fact that Georgia, Kentucky and Vanderbilt will all likely be starting new or relatively inexperienced quarterbacks, and South Carolina and Missouri will likely have offenses that are just as bad as last year’s teams, only adds to the optimism for Vol fans.

Tennessee should easily be the most talented and experienced team in the East in positions where it matters the most. The Vols will have a senior quarterback, two junior running backs, a talented offensive line and a very experienced defense. And, believe it or not, Butch Jones has the second-most wins in the SEC among the current head coaches in the East since Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, Gary Pinkel of Missouri and Mark Richt of Georgia will no longer be in the division. He trails only Will Muschamp since he coached at Florida before taking over at South Carolina this offseason.

In short, the East is down and the Vols can take advantage of that. They almost did this past season, but Florida got the better of them in The Swamp once again. Otherwise, the Vols went undefeated against East opponents. They need to improve that win total by one in 2016, and they have a good chance at doing so.

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