Ole Miss is actually 2-3 in conference play at this point. WIns over Vandy and LSU. Losses to Bama, aTm, and Auburn.
There’s a good month of Saturdays between today and the SEC Championship Game. (As opposed to a good month of Sundays.) We thought a look at the stretch run might be of interest as the battles for the East and West division heat up.
SEC East Race
|School||Record||Nov. 9||Nov. 16||Nov. 23||Nov. 30th weekend|
|Missouri||8-1, 4-1||@ Kentucky||OPEN||@ Ole Miss||Texas A&M|
|S. Carolina||7-2, 5-2||OPEN||Florida||C. Carolina||Clemson|
|Georgia||5-3, 4-2||Appy State||@ Auburn||Kentucky||Georgia Tech|
|Florida||4-4, 3-3||Vanderbilt||@ S. Carolina||Ga. Southern||Florida State|
|Vanderbilt||4-4, 1-4||@ Florida||Kentucky||@ Tennessee||Wake Forest|
|Tennessee||4-5, 1-4||Auburn||OPEN||Vanderbilt||@ Kentucky|
|Kentucky||2-6, 0-4||Missouri||@ Vanderbilt||@ Georgia||Tennessee|
Missouri controls it’s own destiny at the moment. No offense to Kentucky, but the Tigers’ final two games (at Ole Miss and hosting Texas A&M) will likely decide the East Division. If Missouri loses once and finds itself in a two-way tie with South Carolina (who should beat Florida in its final SEC contest), the Gamecocks will head to Atlanta as East Division champs by virtue of their head-to-head win over Mizzou.
If Carolina beats Florida, Missouri loses to either Ole Miss or A&M, and Georgia wins out, the three-way tie would go to Mizzou. The Tigers would have an SEC East record of 5-1 while the Cocks and Dawgs would stand at 4-2.
But Georgia isn’t completely out of the picture just yet. Yes, they still have what currently looks to be a loss at Auburn on their schedule. But if they upset the Tigers and take care of business against Kentucky, they could find themselves en route to Atlanta.
If Missouri loses twice (giving them three losses in league play), that could leave Carolina (if they beat Florida) and Georgia (if they beat Auburn and Kentucky) tied atop the East with 6-2 records. UGA beat USC head to head and would therefore grab the East Division slot in the SEC Championship Game.
Follow all that? Good, because the West could be even wilder.
SEC West Race
|School||Record||Nov. 9||Nov. 16||Nov. 23||Nov. 30th Weekend|
|Alabama||8-0, 5-0||LSU||@ Miss. State||Chattanooga||@ Auburn|
|Auburn||8-1, 4-1||@ Tennessee||Georgia||OPEN||Alabama|
|LSU||7-2, 3-2||@ Alabama||OPEN||Texas A&M||Arkansas (29th)|
|Texas A&M||7-2, 3-2||Miss. State||OPEN||@ LSU||@ Missouri|
|Ole Miss||5-3, 2-3||Arkansas||Troy||Missouri||@ Miss. State (28th)|
|Miss. State||4-4, 1-3||@ Texas A&M||Alabama||@ Arkansas||Ole Miss (28th)|
|Arkansas||3-6, 0-5||@ Ole Miss||OPEN||Miss. State||@ LSU (29th)|
In the West, things appear to be less clunky because Alabama has looked so darn dominant for all but one game (at Texas A&M) this year. But the Tide still has two games on the schedule that could prove tough.
If Bama wins out, they go to Atlanta. If the Tide drops a game to LSU or Auburn (assuming they beat Mississippi State), suddenly things get crazy. Let’s say Alabama beats LSU but loses to Auburn. Assuming Auburn handles Tennessee and Georgia (they’ll be favored in both games), that would leave a two-team tie in the West and Auburn would hold the head-to-head tie-breaker.
If the Tigers beat the Tide after stumbling against the Vols or Bulldogs, they’ll have nothing but Iron Bowl glory and the fun of spoiling Bama’s perfect season to celebrate as Alabama would still win the West.
If Alabama loses to LSU and then defeats Auburn, the Tide would still get to the Georgia Dome with a full one-game advantage on all its West foes.
Now let’s go a little further off the reservation and consider the possibility that Bama loses to both LSU and Auburn. Unlikely, yes, but not impossible. If Auburn wins out, they go to Atlanta with a one-game win in the division.
If — and again this is unlikely — Alabama loses twice and Auburn loses to either UT or UGA, there could be a three-way in the West. Example: Alabama, Auburn, either LSU or Texas A&M — they still have to play each other — could still finish 6-2.
Clear as mud?
Let’s make it easy. Three teams control their own destiny as we enter the SEC’s final month. If Missouri wins out, they’ll reach Atlanta. If Alabama wins out, the Tide will be their opponent. But if Auburn wins out — beating Bama and snaring that tie-breaker — it would be a Tigers versus Tigers affair on December 7th.
If Missouri loses once more, it’s likely South Carolina would take their place against either Alabama or Auburn.
The other schools still alive — Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M — all need a heckuva lot of things to break their way if they’re to slip into the title game.
(CORRECTION — An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Ole Miss’ SEC record as 3-2 rather than 2-3. Time to visit the eye doctor. The error has been corrected.)