The road to the SEC East Title gets shorter
When I last talked about the remaining SEC East scenarios a week ago, Florida had not yet taken South Carolina behind the woodshed and Georgia had not yet squeaked by with a win at Kentucky. With another week gone and only a few games remaining for the East contenders, the picture is becoming a little more clear. Here’s a look at the remaining schedules for Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina and the scenarios that would have to happen to land each one in Atlanta as the SEC East Champion.
A couple of quick notes before we take a look at this: The division champion is determined first and foremost by SEC record with the first tie-breaker being head-to-head victories. After that comes record vs. division opponents. Those are the only three factors that will possibly be considered when determining this year’s champion. Some years BCS rankings can come into play for a three-way tie, but that will not be the case this year.
Florida (7-0 overall, 6-0 SEC, 4-0 SEC East)
Remaining SEC Schedule: Oct 27th vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville), Nov 3rd vs. Missouri
Wins the East if…
They beat Georgia
They lose to Georgia, beat Missouri, and Georgia loses to Ole Miss or Auburn
They lose to Georgia and Missouri, Georgia loses to Ole Miss and Auburn, and South Carolina loses to Tennessee or Arkansas
Georgia (6-1 overall, 4-1 SEC, 4-1 SEC East)
Remaining SEC Schedule: Oct 27th vs. Florida (in Jacksonville), Nov 3rd vs. Ole Miss, Nov 10th at Auburn
Wins the East if…
They beat Florida, Ole Miss, and Auburn
They beat Florida, win one of the two games against Ole Miss and Auburn, Florida loses to Missouri, and South Carolina loses to Tennessee or Arkansas
South Carolina (6-2 overall, 4-2 SEC, 4-1 SEC East)
Remaining SEC Schedule: Oct 27th vs. Tennessee, Nov 10th vs. Arkansas
Wins the East if…
They beat Tennessee and Arkansas, Georgia beats Florida, Georgia loses only one of their two games to Ole Miss or Auburn, Florida loses to Missouri
Florida and Georgia are playing in the de facto SEC East title game in Jacksonville on Saturday. Florida beating Georgia means the Gators can finish no worse than 7-1 while the Bulldogs and Gamecocks could finish no better than 6-2, clinching the East for Florida. If Georgia beats Florida, the Bulldogs just have to handle their remaining games against Ole Miss and Auburn, two of the worst teams in the SEC.
For South Carolina to win the East, they need all three teams to finish 6-2 to create a three-way tie. That can only happen if they win out, if Florida loses out to Georgia and Missouri, and if Georgia loses only one of the two games against Ole Miss and Auburn. They would all have head-to-head wins over each other (South Carolina beat Georgia, Georgia beat Florida, Florida beat South Carolina) so the next tie-breaker is division record. Florida would then be dropped out of the tie with a 4-2 division record compared to South Carolina and Georgia’s 5-1 division record and the Gamecocks would be heading to Atlanta because of their head-to-head win over the Bulldogs.
Even though Florida is in the best possible position with an undefeated record, a number 2 BCS ranking, and two monster wins in the last three weeks, it truly means nothing when they take the field on Saturday against Georgia since the victor will emerge as the SEC East leader. That may seem crazy or unfair, but that’s how life is in the SEC and it’s why Will Muschamp has been preaching “one game seasons” all year.