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Scenarios: How Florida (and every team but Kentucky) can still win the SEC East

Yes, it's possible.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Florida's gotten off to a bad start against some of the better teams in the SEC, adding an 0-2 record against ranked SEC teams to a 3-0 record against Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas for a 3-2 conference mark that leaves the Gators staring up at Missouri and South Carolina in the division.

But thanks in large part to South Carolina's dramatic overtime win at Missouri on Saturday night, the Gators — and most of the rest of the SEC East's teams — still have paths to Atlanta available to them.

Here's the remaining schedule for all seven SEC East teams, with the SEC contests in bold.

Nov. 2 Nov. 9 Nov. 16 Nov. 23 Nov. 30
Florida vs. Georgia Vanderbilt at South Carolina Georgia Southern Florida State
Georgia vs. Florida Appalachian State at Auburn Kentucky at Georgia Tech
Kentucky Alabama State Missouri at Vanderbilt at Georgia Tennessee
Missouri Tennessee at Kentucky BYE at Mississippi at Texas A&M
South Carolina Mississippi State BYE Florida Coastal Carolina Clemson
Tennessee at Missouri Auburn BYE Vanderbilt Kentucky
Vanderbilt BYE at Florida Kentucky at Tennessee Wake Forest

And let's run down scenarios for each team.

Florida Gators

Florida's hoping for a lot of help when it comes to Missouri, basically needing to win out and have Missouri lose twice more to have any chance of winning the division. But if the Tigers collapse, Florida could still be in pretty good shape, thanks to games remaining against South Carolina and Georgia that could prop up the Gators and essentially eliminate their foes.

Best-case scenario

Florida wins out and Missouri falls to Tennessee and Kentucky before those road trips to Mississippi and Texas A&M, allowing the Gators to clinch the East with a 6-2 conference record on November 16 by winning a winner-take-all game in the other Columbia.

Ridiculous scenario

Florida loses to Georgia, but Missouri and South Carolina lose next weekend, too, and Florida beats Vandy and South Carolina to finish at 5-3 in the conference and eliminate both teams. Then Georgia loses to Auburn, and Missouri loses to Mississippi and Texas A&M, leaving the Gators as the only three-loss team in the East ... except for Tennessee, which loses the head-to-head tiebreaker to Florida largely because it started Nathan Peterman in Gainesville.

Will be eliminated if

Essentially, if Florida falls to Georgia and Missouri beats Tennessee, Florida would need to win out and have Missouri lose out to make it to Atlanta, but Florida can't be eliminated until November 9, and would only be eliminated with a loss to either Georgia or Vandy and Missouri wins over Tennessee and Kentucky.

Georgia Bulldogs

If Georgia hadn't dropped a really valuable game to Vanderbilt last weekend, the Dawgs would be in pretty good shape right now, sitting on one loss with only Florida and Auburn looking like challenges. Of course, Georgia did lose that game, and is still banged-up beyond belief. The Dawgs need Missouri's help just like Florida does.

Best-case scenario

Georgia wins out, Florida takes down South Carolina, and Missouri falls to Tennessee and Kentucky, giving the Dawgs the East on November 23 after a win over Kentucky.

Ridiculous scenario

Georgia beats Florida, but loses to Auburn and Kentucky, and the East ends up in a four-team tie at 4-4 between Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and South Carolina ... or three teams that Georgia beat, allowing the Dawgs to go to Atlanta because of a tiebreaker for the second straight year.

Will be eliminated if

Similar to Florida, Georgia would need to win out and have Missouri lose out to have a shot with a loss this coming Saturday, but can't really be eliminated until it gets to four losses or Missouri gets to five wins.

Kentucky Wildcats

Yes, Kentucky, currently 0-4 in SEC play, can still tie for first in the East. Yes, I was as surprised about that fact as you are. But no, the Wildcats can't win it.

Best-case scenario

Kentucky wins out and gets to 4-4, beating Missouri, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee along the way. Florida loses to Georgia and Vanderbilt, but beats South Carolina, which also loses to Mississippi State. Tennessee wins out until falling to Kentucky. Georgia loses to Auburn. Missouri goes 1-1 against Mississippi and Texas A&M.

This produces a six-way tie for the SEC East between Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee at 4-4, which gets broken by combined head-to-head records among the teams; because Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina would be 3-2 against the other five teams, they would be in a three-team tie, and would move on to a second tiebreaker, records against divisional opponents. Kentucky and South Carolina would be 4-2, but Georgia would be 3-3, eliminating the Dawgs and making the last tiebreaker the head-to-head result, with South Carolina's win over Kentucky being the deciding factor.

Ridiculous scenario

See above.

Will be eliminated if

A South Carolina win against Mississippi State would dash any dream of tying for first in the division. Failing that, any loss would do the same.

Missouri Tigers

It's still relatively easy sledding for the Tigers, the only crew to still control their own destiny in the division.

Best-case scenario

Missouri wins out and goes to Atlanta. Easy, right?

Ridiculous scenario

Missouri loses its next three games, falling to 3-4 in the conference after a 3-0 start. But the Tigers beat Texas A&M to get to 4-4 and force a four-way tie between Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and South Carolina, and as Florida and Missouri are the only teams in that quartet with a 2-1 record against the other three (Florida beats Georgia and South Carolina, but loses to Vanderbilt), Missouri gets a ticket to Atlanta based on its win over Florida.

Will be eliminated if

Only if it gets to 3-3 and South Carolina is at 6-2 OR it gets to 3-4 with some team at 5-3, really. Having those wins over Georgia and Florida in hand is huge.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Carolina slowed down a Mizzou runaway with a win on Saturday night. But the Gamecocks need help from the Tigers to win the division, even if they win out ... and could use some help from Georgia, too.

Best-case scenario

South Carolina wins out, Georgia and Missouri fall at least once, and Carolina goes to Atlanta by virtue of its head-to-head win over Mizzou or a 6-2 record in the conference no other team can match.

Ridiculous scenario

South Carolina can tie for the East without winning another SEC game: If the 'Cocks lose out, they would still be 4-4, and there are many, many ways for other teams to muddle to that mark. But that basically means that South Carolina would end up being tied with Florida, one way or another, and that wouldn't end well.

However, South Carolina could still beat Mississippi State and lose to Florida, finish with a 5-3 record, and win the East despite going 0-3 against Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, as long as Georgia doesn't finish 5-3 and Missouri doesn't finish 6-2. What a world!

Will be eliminated if

Like Missouri, Carolina basically can't be eliminated until a team finishes with five wins in front of a Gamecocks team has four.

Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee's three losses are to two of the East's better teams and to Alabama, which puts the Vols at a disadvantage. But Tennessee can get itself to 5-3, which is big in this division.

Best-case scenario

Tennessee wins out, and no other team gets to 6-2. It's possible, though it relies on Florida getting a road win and Missouri getting tripped up twice.

Ridiculous scenario

Can Tennessee win the East at 4-4? Not really. South Carolina and Missouri would have to meet the Vols at that mark, and Georgia would need to fall short of it. (South Carolina can't finish 4-4 without Florida finishing 4-4.) The 2-1 record the Vols would have against Carolina and Missouri would tie Florida's 2-1 mark against the other three teams tied for the division's top spot, but they would lose to the Gators based on head-to-head play.

Will be eliminated if

Two more losses gets the job done, but two wins by Florida or Georgia or South Carolina would do virtually the same thing.

Vanderbilt Commodores

Incredibly, Vandy could win the East after starting 0-3 in SEC play.

Best-case scenario

Vandy wins out and gets to 4-4. South Carolina loses out. Florida beats Georgia, but Georgia gets to 4-4 by virtue of a win over Auburn. Missouri loses out. This would give Vandy a 2-1 record against the other three teams in a four-way tie between Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Vandy, and the head-to-head tiebreaker over Florida, and its first trip to Atlanta.

Ridiculous scenario

Again, see above.

Will be eliminated if

Another loss will do it.


Andy Hutchins is Alligator Army's managing editor. Follow Alligator Army on Twitter and Facebook.