Path to East Division champion more clear

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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.

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COMMENTS

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  • UGA/Auburn game is @ Auburn this year….Ole Miss is in Athens.

  • The SEC Champ game loser should be in the Sugar Bowl…..Bama or UGA…..and you’re right, if UGA wets the bed vs Ole Miss or Auburn they don’t deserve to go to ATL.

  • I tend to think that if Georgia wins out and loses to Alabama, and Florida wins out and beats Florida State, that Florida may end up ranked higher than Georgia. Florida will have beaten a top 10 team along the way and Georgia loses their second game and falls below Florida. It’s an imperfect system that definitely needs tweaking. I’m not so sure Florida gets past Missouri or FSU the way they played last weekend.

    • It’s really hard for the computers when you have five teams that can’t decide who is the best. LSU looks awful versus Auburn and loses to Florida but then beat South Carolina. Georgia gets killed by South Carolina, looks average (at best) on defense all year, but then beats Florida. Florida beats LSU (in an ugly game), and kills South Carolina. Then you have South Carolina and TAMU who both look great but both lost to LSU and Florida.

      Throw Mississippi State in the discussion and it gets even worse. Basically, the second best team in the SEC is a toss up right now. I don’t think there is a clear second best. All five or six teams have had moments of greatness and…well..lets just say bad-ness.

  • Remember when you said South Carolina would win out, the Dawgs would lose to just South Carolina, and Florida would lose to South Carolina, LSU and Georgia? So do I.

    No worries, I doubt anyone could have guessed this is how it would play out.

  • If FL loses to State, and UGA loses to Bama, woud UGA have the higher BCS ranking? The way its stacked now it looks like if those scenarios played out, USC would jump both with a win against a possibly top 10 Clemson team on the road. I agree that the SECCG loser should play in the Sugar Bowl, but UGA would have only one quality win while FL and USC would have two.

  • OK I see that every case has been played out in this accept one, WTF happens if UGA beats AL and there are still three undefeted teams. Will UGA get the shaft again and not get in the NC game?