As we get down to the last few weeks of the regular season, it's a lot easier to tell what a certain team needs to see happen in order to go to the SEC Championship Game. We're at the point of the year now when there are a finite number of ways in which the SEC East can go. So here's a guide that should help partisans of each team decide who to root for this weekend and, if necessary, beyond.
Missouri Tigers (9-1, 5-1 SEC)
- Win out
Mizzou is the only team that still needs only do what it had to do when the season began: Win out. There are back-up plans. If South Carolina and Georgia both lose this weekend -- which is not entirely out of the realm of possibility -- the Tigers are almost assuredly in. But if Georgia wins this weekend, it also removes some of the pressure from the Tigers; barring a bizarre Georgia loss to Kentucky, the Tigers would then need only to split its remaining games at Ole Miss and against Texas A&M to go to the Georgia Dome regardless of what South Carolina does.
South Carolina Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2 SEC)
- Beat Florida
- Have Auburn (or Kentucky) beat Georgia
- Have Missouri lose one of its remaining games
The Gamecocks will have a much better feel for where they stand in the division race after this weekend. If they lose Saturday, it's probably over regardless. (They would then need Georgia to drop its games against Auburn and Kentucky while Missouri loses out, a confluence of events that seems rather unlikely.) But if they win and Auburn defeats Georgia, South Carolina will basically be halfway to an SEC East title. It's not hard to see Missouri losing one of its last two games, though that might be the harder half of the equation. If Georgia wins, it's also probably over, with the Gamecocks needing a Kentucky win against Georgia to get back in the race.
Georgia Bulldogs (6-3, 4-2 SEC)
- Win out
- Have Missouri lose both of its remaining games
The next SEC loss is actual, mathematical elimination for Georgia. It would mean the best they could hope for is a three-way tie with the other two contenders at 5-3 -- and the Dawgs lose that tie. Meanwhile, a three-team tie at 6-2 also doesn't work for Georgia. The only thing that does work is a 6-2 tie with South Carolina. That means Mizzou has to lose its next two games for UGA to have a chance; but if the Tigers do that, Georgia could become an unlikely division champion by winning the rest of its SEC games.