It’s unfathomable, at least to me, that this Florida Gator team has any shot whatsoever at winning the SEC East outright and making it to Atlanta to face the SEC West Champion. But there are two scenarios- neither of which are impossible- that would see Florida winning the tiebreakers and representing the SEC East in Atlanta.
Note that under both of these scenarios, Florida would have to win out to get there.
(Yes, to all those naysayers, I would LOVE to get to Atlanta, even if we do get smacked by a really good team. It’s something to add to our trophy case, and another number to add to graphics taunting our opponents like these. Put simply, Atlanta is the goal for every team in the SEC.)
Before I get into the two scenarios, I’ll quickly lay out the three contending teams’ remaining SEC schedules: Florida travels to Vanderbilt and hosts South Carolina, Georgia travels to Kentucky and hosts Auburn, and Missouri travels to Texas A&M and Tennessee before finishing off their conference slate with a home date against Arkansas.
Also worth noting before we get into the two scenarios: Florida is 3-3 in SEC play, Georgia is 4-2 and Missouri is 4-1.
So without further ado, I present you the two ways Florida could sneak into the SEC Championship Game if they beat Vanderbilt and South Carolina:
Missouri loses all three remaining games and Georgia loses (at least) one of their last remaining two games. Nice and clean. It’s a two way tie between Florida and Georgia and Florida gets the head to head nod because of, you know, 38-20.
Missouri loses to Tennessee and either Arkansas or Texas A&M and Georgia goes 1-1 in their two remaining games. This means all three teams would finish tied at 5-3 in the SEC, and here’s where it gets a bit tricky.
Florida beat Georgia, Georgia beat Missouri and Missouri beat Florida. That puts all three teams at 1-1 against the remaining two co-champs, so that tiebreaker gets thrown out and we move on to the next one- divisional record.
Florida’s five wins in the conference would all be against East opponents: Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina. Their one loss to a divisional opponent, Missouri, puts them at 5-1 against SEC. Meanwhile, Missouri would be 4-2 against the SEC East, having lost to Georgia and Tennessee, and Georgia would also be 4-2 (or 3-3 if they lost to Kentucky) against the division, having lost to Florida and South Carolina. By virtue of the best division record- 5-1 against 4-2- Florida would get the ticket to Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
Other scenarios- in which Florida would lose the tiebreaker
These are the only two legitimate ways that Florida could get in, unfortunately (yes, there is a minuscule chance Florida could lose one more SEC game and still get in, but the chance of them getting in under that scenario are so tiny it’s not worth getting into. Let me put it this way, more has to happen than one could wrap his or her head around). Missouri’s win in the Swamp pretty much killed Florida’s chances of winning any other three way tiebreaker. I’ll explain.
First of all, Florida loses a two way tiebreaker with Missouri. They lost head to head in Gainesville. So if Missouri loses two out of three and Georgia loses its last two, it would be Florida and Missouri sitting at 5-3, and Missouri would go to Atlanta since they beat Florida.
Another thing worth noting is that once a three way tiebreaker is reduced to two teams- for example, two teams have a 5-1 division record and one team is 4-2- that third team gets bumped out and it becomes a two way tiebreaker between the 5-1 teams. So any three way tiebreaker that bumps Georgia out and reduces it to Florida and Missouri would go to Missouri.
If Missouri loses to the two SEC West teams, they’d finish at 5-3 in the SEC, along with Georgia and Florida. Georgia would get bumped out because of the inferior division record, bringing it down to Florida and Mizzou- and the Tigers get it.
Also, if Georgia loses both its remaining games, it’s over unless Missouri loses out. Georgia finishing 4-4 would leave fate in the hands of each of Mizzou’s remaining three opponents. Remember, if Florida and Missouri both wind up at 5-3 with nobody else tied, it goes to Mizzou.
It may make the orange and blue clad boys and girls sick to their stomachs, but we need to start practicing singing Rocky Top. We are HUGE Volunteer fans when they face Missouri- probably even bigger Vols fans than actual Vols fans are. Because if Missouri beats Tennessee, it’s all over for Florida in some way or another. Here’s why.
The worst Missouri could do if they beat Tennessee is tie Florida at 5-3, so Florida can’t win the division outright with a better conference record. Also, that would give Mizzou the identical 5-1 record against the SEC East, meaning if Georgia also finishes 5-3, Missouri would win the three way tiebreaker because of Missouri’s and Florida’s 5-1 records bumping Georgia out and then the Tigers’ head to head win over Florida giving them the division.
And if Georgia does somehow lose to Kentucky, then we have to politely apologize to Georgia for wrecking their season and beg them to beat Auburn, because again, a 4-4 Georgia team does Florida no good- it reduces the tiebreaker to two teams if Missouri goes 1-2, and no matter who those two losses are against, Missouri gets the tiebreaker by virtue of beating Florida.
So to wrap up: Florida has to win out, Missouri has to lose to Tennessee and then to either Arkansas or Texas A&M and Georgia has to lose one, but not both, of its remaining games.