How do we make sense of the SEC East? Florida looked hot but has fallen back to 5-2. Tennessee's bipolarity has us positively charging back with 4 straight conference wins after an 0-2 start. Kentucky looks mortal and beatable with the same 4-2 record in conference.
After six or seven conference games, we need to bring some order to the debate. One sportswriter opined that the home court was such a strong advantage that the home team should generally win and the road team should count on a loss when picking W's at the beginning of the 16-game regular season. This same sportswriter said road wins were twice as good as home wins. Similarly, home losses hurt twice as much. So, he rightly assigned +2 points for a road win and -2 points for a home loss to come up with a projected plus-minus record vs. an 8-8 split of home and road games. It works pretty well. I thought we'd test it here.
Under the plus/minus system, Florida at a net +4 would be the best in the East with road wins at UT, Auburn and Georgia, offset by only a loss at home to South Carolina. If the road-loss/home-win split carries thru, the Florida should end up 12-4 in the conference. All the Jort-wearers would be happy if Eddie Munster's crew did that well.
In the next tier, TN and KY roll in at +2. The Vols lost a heartbreaker to Florida in OT but beat GA and MS on the road while KY has only beaten USC on the road (everything else holding to form for them). This would imply a 10-6 outcome.
Vandy is a net 0. Insert your favorite Vandy Zero joke on that one as we forecast 8-8.
Georgia and USC would be a net minus 2. That implies an 6-10 record for both.
Now Georgia feels stronger than that. Despite our inconsistency, Tennessee is charging and may perform better as well.
Kentucky doesn't strike us as particularly awesome without another John Wall around and, with Calipari on the bench, anyone has a chance to out-coach Kentucky.
Still, it's not a bad place for the Vols to be. Second in the SEC East. Feeling like we should be better. With reason to believe that we may, in fact, be better. If we can be more consistent.