Georgia defeats Florida and begins an unlikely run at the SEC East title. Again
This game isn't likely to go down in the annals of great football games. There were a total of nine turnovers -- yes, nine. The teams combined for 526 yards. The winning team went 1-for-11 on third down, and its quarterback completed fewer than half his passes while throwing three interceptions against one touchdown.
But the style points don't count in the division standings, and this game was all about the division standings. It turned out that all those concerns about Georgia's offense lining up against the Florida defense didn't matter, because Florida's offense wasn't able to move the ball enough to make the Bulldogs pay. And Florida matched Georgia's three turnovers with a half-dozen of its own.
All the focus on the offense might overshadow the great play of Jarvis Jones, who was a force of nature in this game. Jones recovered two fumbles, had two sacks and forced the fumble by Jordan Reed that essentially ended the game.
And so begins one of the more unlikely runs to the SEC East title since -- well, since Georgia won the SEC East title last year. Despite a 28-point loss to South Carolina and an uninspiring showing against Kentucky, the Dawgs are firmly entrenched in the division driver's seat. If Georgia simply wins out against a relatively weak schedule, they will get the ticket to take on Alabama or LSU or anyone else who emerges from the SEC West.
Yes, this is likely to bring more arguments from Steve Spurrier that interdivision games shouldn't count. But the fact remains that over the last two years, all South Carolina had to do was defeat a common opponent that ended up losing to Georgia, and the Gamecocks couldn't do it in part because of their continuing capacity to shoot themselves in the foot. It happened with Auburn last season, and it happened with Florida this year.
There are still potential twists and turns, of course. Georgia could lose to Ole Miss and/or Auburn and Florida could drop its final SEC game against Missouri, any one of which could throw the race into chaos. Another Georgia loss puts Florida back in the driver's seat. South Carolina's odds actually depend on the Gamecocks winning out, Florida losing to Missouri and Georgia losing to either Ole Miss or Auburn but not both.
Set all of that to the side for right now, though. There is only one team that needs only to win its remaining games to get to Atlanta. And while it might not have been the prettiest game in the world, all the SEC games do count in the standings. This one counts for Georgia, and it's the reason why the Dawgs have the edge over South Carolina, Florida and everyone else.