Finally, a little clarity in the top-heavy SEC East.
Georgia did what it needed to do Saturday to control it own destiny towards getting back to Atlanta, but there’s two games left the Bulldogs must win before stamping their ticket to the Georgia Dome. Mark Richt’s squad, fresh off its first win over a Top 10 team in quite some time, must win this weekend at Ole Miss and beat hapless Auburn in Athens in the SEC finale.
If Florida beats Missouri Saturday and the Bulldogs fall to the Rebels, the Gators win the East. If Florida takes out Missouri and Georgia is upset by Auburn, Will Muschamp’s group is back in Atlanta. For the fans still crossing their fingers, if both Florida and Georgia lose this weekend, South Carolina could capture the East with a win over Arkansas on Nov. 10.
Not too complicated is it? For the Bulldogs the game plan is simple — just win. They’ll be double-digit favorites in each of their remaining conference games and should have a legitimate chance to finish 11-1 in the regular season. The same goes for Florida, but it gave away its chance (six turnovers in Jacksonville) to move two games ahead in the East over the weekend.
A BCS game is in play for the Bulldogs, Gators and Gamecocks as well.
One of these three teams, ranked Nos. 6, 7 and 8 respectively in the BCS standings, will likely get the SEC’s second BCS berth if it isn’t given to the loser of the Alabama/LSU contest. All three East teams are deserving and an argument can be made that either could top Notre Dame/Kansas State/etc., but only two teams from the same conference can be included in BCS bowls and the SEC champion (likely Alabama) receives an automatic spot. If Georgia wins out but falls in Atlanta, Florida will likely receive the at-large berth if the Gators can win in Tallahassee against another Top 10 team. It would take a loss in that game from the Gators and another by the Bulldogs for the Gamecocks to get the bid. South Carolina battles a highly-ranked Clemson squad on the road in the regular-season finale, a matchup that would strengthen the Gamecocks’ BCS ranking if they win.
Georgia has the easiest road remaining of the three programs and it would probably cost Richt his job if the Bulldogs didn’t do what they needed to do to capture the East. Florida’s up-and-down offense finally caught up with the Gators against a quality team while South Carolina is just playing out the string hoping a few upsets fall into place.
Florida-Georgia may have been dubbed as the Eastern Division Championship Game, but the Bulldogs still need to take care of business in November to be where they want to be.