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Road to Atlanta, Week 8


The arcane divisional tiebreaker rules of the SEC -- which actually get more convoluted than the Big XII rules in the end -- can be mind-numbing. As a public service to you, we gamed out several scenarios and tried to determine which teams still have at least a mathematical chance of getting into the SEC Championship Game.


Alabama Crimson Tide, 5-0. Obviously, an undefeated Alabama would make the SEC Championship Game without breaking a tie. That's the easiest way to go. Lose to LSU and things could get complicated -- essentially, Bama would need to win out and have someone else defeat LSU. Or have both remaining SEC teams on the Bayou Bengals' schedule defeat them while the Tide wins one more game. In other words: If LSU wins in Tuscaloosa in a little more than a week, Alabama will have to win one more game than LSU in the stretch run.

Florida Gators, 5-0. Everyone except Vanderbilt is technically alive in the SEC East, so there are a lot of scenarios we could walk through here. Put simply: Win out and it won't be a problem.

LSU Tigers, 4-1. Defeat Alabama and most of the work is already done. But the Bengals would still need to take care of Ole Miss on Nov. 21 to gain an advantage over the Rebels if Mississippi keeps winning. LSU can't survive a 6-2 or 5-3 tie between Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss if Ole Miss is one of the losses; either way, the Tide would be eliminated and the Rebels' victory against the Tigers would carry the day.

(Descending likelihood)

Mississippi Rebels, 2-2. The Rebels still need a lot of things to go right -- essentially, they need to win out and have Alabama lose at least two and LSU lose at least one with LSU defeating Alabama. Ole Miss can't get into a tie with only Alabama, because the Tide's head-to-head victory would carry the day.

Georgia Bulldogs, 3-2. A Georgia win on Saturday would not completely derail Florida, but it would complicate things for the Gators. A tie with the Gators or a tie among Georgia, South Carolina and Florida would all then go the Dawgs' way. A four-team knot among Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky would also send the Athens faithful on a short trip to the Georgia Dome.

South Carolina Gamecocks, 3-2. The Gamecocks need quite a bit of help. Defeating Florida would give South Carolina's hopes a huge boost. But they still need someone other than Georgia to defeat the Gators OR have Georgia win against Florida and then lose to Auburn and/or Kentucky, depending on how many games South Carolina can win aside from the Florida game.

Tennessee Volunteers, 1-3. They're not out of it quite yet. The Vols could win out and depend on other teams to force a tie with Florida and South Carolina or Georgia; or a four-way tie among Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Kentucky Wildcats, 1-3. It's not impossible ... if Florida loses out, Kentucky wins out and the Dawgs lose against Kentucky and one more time along the way. Understand that either Tennessee or Kentucky getting into the SEC Championship Game requires Vanderbilt to defeat Florida.


Auburn Tigers, 2-3. The loss to LSU has effectively made it impossible for the Tigers to create a tiebreaker where they don't lose. The most Auburn can hope for with Alabama is a tie at 5-3, and that only happens if LSU defeats Alabama, which ensures the Bayou Bengals will have at least a 5-3 record. Auburn loses.

Mississippi St. Bulldogs, 1-3. Same here as far as the issue with LSU.

Arkansas Razorbacks, 1-4. They don't have the wins no matter what happens.

Vanderbilt Commodores, 0-5. Ditto.