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Five questions about the future of the SEC after the games of the weekend. As you can imagine, South Carolina and Florida's wins had some impact on our academic exercise.
Is the SEC West still better than the SEC East? Before the season, the SEC East race was seen mostly as a footnote to the eventual coronation of the winner of the SEC West, the superior division in the conference. Either Alabama or LSU, or maybe Arkansas, would head to Atlanta in early December and easily dismantle the East champ. Then LSU got upset by Florida and South Carolina looked as impressive as it ever has while leveling Georgia 35-7. So has the East at least closed the gap in the race for division supremacy? And would either the Gators or the Gamecocks have a chance against Alabama in the Georgia Dome?
Speaking of Florida and South Carolina -- who wins? Even if South Carolina were to lose at LSU next week, the game between the Gators and the Gamecocks is shaping up as the de facto SEC East Championship Game. After a win, Florida would likely just need to defeat Georgia to ensure a division title; for its part, South Carolina would still face Tennessee and Arkansas and would need a win in at least one of those to wrap things up. Which team has the edge in two weeks?
Whither Georgia? The Dawgs didn't just lose to South Carolina on Saturday -- they got slaughtered. Sure, you can refer to the meme that Georgia has one of the easiest schedules in the conference, because they do, but they still have the matchup with Florida in between the trip to Kentucky and games against Ole Miss and at Auburn. Would Georgia fans be satisfied with a 10-2 regular season if it featured losses to South Carolin and Florida and no real chance at the SEC East? Could we see the hot seat meme made a ridiculous return?
And where does LSU go from here? The Tigers get South Carolina at home before going to College Station, hosting Alabama, then finishing up the year with games against Mississippi State and Ole Miss and at Arkansas. You have to figure 8-4, which would just take a 3-3 record at this point, is a lock. But the Bayou Bengals need to run the table at this point to ensure themselves a berth in the SEC Championship Game. Can they do that?
Who "miss"es a bowl? Ole Miss needs three wins against the following slate: vs. Auburn, at Arkansas, at Georgia, vs. Vanderbilt, at LSU, vs. Mississippi State. Can Hugh Freeze and his merry band of Rebels get to the postseason in the iceman's first season in Oxford? Could the game against Vanderbilt decide the final spot in the SEC pecking order? What about Missouri, which likewise needs three wins against a schedule that goes vs. Alabama, vs. Kentucky, at Florida, at Tennessee, vs. Syracuse, at Texas A&M?