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Welcome To The Pennant Race

Baseball just had its most exciting September in years, so it's only appropriate that the SEC has an exciting divisional race too.

It seems that Florida fans are conditioned to accepting the conference title as the only successful end to a season. But the conference is a different beast now, especially the Eastern Division. The emergence of Kentucky and South Carolina means there are no weeks off. In the West, Ole Miss is terrible but we all know what they can do. And there are still a few burners without a win in Arkansas.

But a division title means a lot more this season that in the past. Assuming a two loss team faces LSU in Atlanta, and the Tigers win, that puts the "second" place team in the SEC at three losses. If it's South Carolina or Kentucky, that's a trip to the Citrus or Cotton Bowl. If it's Georgia, Tennessee, or Florida, don't you think they would get a possible BCS bid over Alabama or Auburn? There could be Gator bait in New Orleans or Miami, despite three losses.

So let's breakdown the remaining SEC East games, and see who has a chance at a hell of a consolation prize.

October 13

  • Georgia @ Vandy- Even though UGA looked like a girls' school at Tennessee, they should pull this off.
  • LSU @ Kentucky- Well, since we're assuming LSU goes to the BCS title game, they get the checkmark. Remember, UF played well, but the Tigers shut down the passing attack. We should expect the same in Lexington.
  • Tennessee @ Miss. State- It would be awesome to see Fulmer get Croomed, but it won't happen.
October 20
  • UT @ Alabama- What to make of the Tide? An OT loss to UGA, then falling apart against FSU and Houston. We're going to assume UT is making another late charge.
  • UF @ UK- Ah, yes, The WTF Game. (As in WTF is going to happen?) This will be a measuring stick to see how mature UF is. The Gators should win, so they get the check. But if UK pulls it out, they are for real. This could be an elimination game for both teams.
  • Vandy @ South Carolina- Spurrier does not lose to Vandy.
October 27
  • UF vs. UGA- Urban does not lose to The Big Three.
  • MSU @ UK- In our model, Kentucky would be already eliminated, but they still win here.
  • SC @ UT- Fulmer survives Croom and Saban, but Spurrier trips him again. Hil-arious.
Standings after October
SC.....5-1
UF.....4-2
UT.....3-2
UGA....3-3
UK.....2-3

November 3

  • SC @ Arkansas- Unless McFadden wants to win the Heisman, SC should take this one.
  • VU @ UF- I've already seen one of these games be close in Gainesville and I don't ever want to see it happen again. Which means...
November 10
  • UF @ SC- ...It's Urban vs. Spurrier for a spot in Atlanta. If UF is 5-2 and SC is 6-1, there would be no scoreboard watching for either team since there would be no tiebreakers and their SEC schedules are done. I can't imagine Meyer spoiling another shot at a division crown like he did in 2005. But, he's also lost twice at LSU and twice to Auburn. We're homers so UF gets the check. This will also be the week I get death threats in the comments for my opinions on Spurrier.
  • Arkansas @ UT- For the sake of this exercise, we give the east teams the benefit of the doubt against the west. But Arkansas has to win one of these, right?
  • Auburn @ UGA- I have no idea what to make of these two teams. If you have something to add, be my guest. I'm taking AU since they have won 5 of the last 6 in Athens.
  • UK @ VU- The `Cats claw the Commodores convincingly.
November 17
  • UK @ UGA- Let's give UK the check mark. UGA would have only defeated Vandy in the division. Nice season.
  • VU @ UT- In the battle of dentists and people without teeth, poor hygiene wins.
With only UT @ UK remaining, the standings are...
UF.....6-2
SC.....6-2
UT.....5-2
UK.....4-3
UGA....3-5

But, let's go back. If UF loses to UK, they end October at 3-3, two games back of 5-1 South Carolina. The Gamecocks would have to lose at Arkansas and to the Gators for UF to have a chance. Then UK would have to lose at UGA and versus UT.

Florida needs to win out and Tennessee to lose once. One more loss will mean they need a lot of help. Let's hope we don't have to worry about that.