How the SEC East can be won

From 1993 to 1998, the SEC East was the king of the Conference as they ran off six straight SEC Championship Game wins. Recently, the balance of power has shifted to the West as Alabama, Auburn and LSU have combined to win five of the last six SEC titles. Last year, Georgia came within yards of beating Alabama and they came into this season (along with Florida and South Carolina) with the belief that this could be the year the balance of power swung back to the East. 

Things in the East haven't gone according to plan so far this season. Florida and Georgia both sustained key injuries and with those injuries came unexpected losses as Georgia fell to Missouri and Vanderbilt and Florida also lost to Missouri. South Carolina had owned Georgia recently but lost an early game in Athens and then got shocked by Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers on the road. Missouri grabbed the spotlight and appeared ready to run away with the division but a second half rally by Connor Shaw has put their hold on the division in question.

That leaves the division wide open. Missouri still holds the power but the division is just about anybody's to take. Let's take a look at the current standings….

Team Conf Record Overall Record
Missouri 3-1 7-1
South Carolina 4-2 6-2
Florida 3-2 4-3
Georgia 3-2 4-3
Tennessee 1-3 4-4
Vanderbilt 1-4 4-4
Kentucky 0-4 1-6

Here's how each team can win the East….

Kentucky Wildcats (0-4 conference record) and Vanderbilt Commodores (1-4)

Don't expect to see these two teams in Atlanta, no matter how crazy the division has been this season.

Tennessee Volunteers (1-3)

Divisional Wins: South Carolina

Divisional Losses: Florida, Georgia

SEC Games Remaining: 11/2 at Missouri, 11/9 vs Auburn, 11/23 vs Vanderbilt, 11/30 at Kentucky

At 1-3, the Vols are a gigantic long-shot but they did provide a glimmer of hope two weeks ago when they beat South Carolina and they do have a game coming up against Missouri. First and foremost, the Vols have to beat Missouri. Then, the Vols have to win out which would leave them at 4-3. Then they need South Carolina to lose another game and Florida and Georgia to each lose two more. A lot of things have to happen for the Vols to win the division and with two top 15 opponents on their slate over the next two weeks I think it's safe to say that they won't be going to Atlanta.

Georgia Bulldogs (3-2)

Divisional Wins: South Carolina, Tennessee

Divisional Losses: Missouri, Vanderbilt

SEC Games Remaining: 11/2 vs Florida, 11/16 at Auburn, 11/23 vs Kentucky

This is where it gets interesting. Georgia lost to Missouri, so they need Missouri to lose. If Missouri loses one game and South Carolina wins out then Georgia could go to Atlanta on a tie-breaker. Georgia's best shot is for Missouri to drop two games while Georgia wins out against their remaining schedule of Florida, Auburn and Kentucky. 

Florida Gators (3-2)

Divisional Wins: Kentucky, Tennessee

Divisional Losses: Missouri

SEC Games Remaining: 11/2 vs Georgia, 11/9 vs Vanderbilt, 11/16 at South Carolina

Florida holds a lot of power in this race as they still have games left against Georgia and South Carolina. If Florida wins both of those games (and also beats Vandy) then they would go to Atlanta if Missouri were to lose two of their remaining games.

South Carolina Gamecocks (4-2)

Divisional Wins: Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt

Divisional Losses: Georgia, Tennessee

SEC Games Remaining: 11/2 vs Mississippi State, 11/16 vs Florida

The Gamecocks have just two remaining SEC games against Mississippi State and Florida. If the Gamecocks win both of those then they need one Missouri loss and a Georgia loss and they will be going to Atlanta. The other option is to win out, Missouri to lose one and then win a tie-breaker in a three-way divisional tie between Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina.

Missouri Tigers (3-1)

Divisional Wins: Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt

Divisional Losses: South Carolina

SEC Games Remaining: 11/2 vs Tennessee, 11/9 at Kentucky, 11/23 at Ole Miss, 11/30 vs Texas A&M

Out of the top four SEC East teams, Missouri has played the least amount of conference games so they still have the most road to navigate. Missouri has Tennessee and Kentucky left on the schedule and those should be wins for the Tigers. Then they have Ole Miss which is a toss up because it's in Oxford. After that they face off with Johnny Manziel and A&M in their finale. It is realistic to say that Missouri will lose at least one more game this season if not two. That being said, Missouri does control their own destiny, so if they win out they go to Atlanta.

We still have plenty of football to be played in the SEC and it will likely come down to the final two weeks and Missouri's important games against Ole Miss and A&M. We could be headed to a convoluted tie-breaker so read up on the rules here

About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.