After Kickoff Week, we're still scratching our heads over the SEC East

ATLANTA -- Things were supposed to be different in the SEC East. At the least, the division that's recently been overshadowed by the West was supposed to be moving in the right direction.

But after what was a historically bad opening weekend in general for the SEC, the East showed us that not a lot appears to be changing -- at least not yet.

Let's recap:

  • Vanderbilt, which was favored by four, lost to South Carolina at home after leading 10-0 at halftime.

  • Tennessee should have lost to Appalachian State, and needed the first-ever bounce pass touchdown from Joshua Dobbs to win in overtime.

  • Missouri's defensive line appears to have some leaks in it after losing 26-11 at West Virginia.

  • Florida led UMass -- yes, UMass -- 10-7 at home in the fourth quarter before winning 24-7.

  • Kentucky blew a 35-10 lead over Southern Miss, which is coached by former Kentucky offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, to lose 44-35. Woof.

  • Georgia was the savior of the division with its 33-24 comeback win over North Carolina.

The offenses at Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Vandy were supposed to take positive steps in the right direction. They didn't.

The East was supposed to be closing the gap with the West -- which I guess you could say it is with how mediocre some West teams were -- but the East mirrored its past struggles.

And while it's still very, very early, Kickoff Week wasn't pleasant for the East. Kirby Smart might have been all smiles after No. 18 Georgia's 33-24 comeback win over No. 22 North Carolina Saturday night, but he faces the narrative that his Bulldogs (1-0) are now the de facto East favorite. Smart isn't even ready to name a starting quarterback, but with how bad Tennessee and Florida looked, the Dawgs are forced into the top spot.

But is that saying much? Georgia loses to North Carolina without Chubb's 222 yards and two touchdowns. That defensive front still has a ways to go and there wasn't much of a passing game to speak of Saturday.

The good news for Georgia is that Tennessee's offensive line looked overmatched at times against Appalachian State, which honestly shouldn't happen. Dobbs was out of rhythm, got sacked twice, threw some erratic, freshman-like passes, and didn't do what he does best -- run the football.

Florida does have a better quarterback in Luke Del Rio, but his offensive line got pushed around by UMass, there was no running game and there were too many dropped passes.

The Vols and Gators defenses do look legit, though.

So those are your favorites, folks. Kentucky, which has a ton of pressure on it to make a bowl game, ran just 14 offensive plays in the second half of its dreadful collapse. Vandy was supposed to have a real starting quarterback in Kyle Shurmur, yet coach Derek Mason stunted his offensive momentum with a perplexing quarterback rotation and watched his offense get shut out in the second half and register as many completions as punts (eight) against the SEC's worst defense in 2015.

Missouri's 462 yards were the most by the Tigers since mid-November of 2014, which is a good sign, but Mizzou didn't score a touchdown until the fourth quarter and converted on just 2-of-5 red zone trips. Yuck. However, what's more concerning is that the defense -- Barry Odom's specialty -- surrendered 494 yards, including 241 rushing yards (5.02 ypc).

Maybe the East just isn't sure what it wants to be. People will immediately point to the quarterbacks, but the three top statistical passers in the SEC reside in the East -- Kentucky's Drew Barker (323 yards), Missouri's Drew Lock (280) and Del Rio (239) -- and combined to throw seven touchdowns to one interception. On the other hand, the East has four of the six worst opening-day SEC QBRs, with Del Rio and Lock included.

This division could look better as soon as this weekend, but it's currently wide open at the top and losing bowl steam at the bottom. It's only one weekend, but nothing happened during that weekend to make anyone feel truly good about a division still lagging behind.