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The Calm and Chaos Tiebreaker Scenarios

This weekend could go either way.

Mike Ehrmann

This weekend of SEC football has a chance to either put the divisions in relative order or throw everything into chaos. It could wind up somewhere in between of course, but let's look at the extremes.

ORDER

  • Georgia defeats Auburn
  • Texas A&M defeats Missouri
  • Mississippi State defeats Alabama

A Georgia win over Auburn would land the Bulldogs at 6-2 in the SEC, and the loss to A&M would be Missouri's second conference loss as well. UGA owns the tiebreaker over the Tigers, so this situation clinches the division for the Bulldogs. Done and done.

As for the West, it's pretty simple. Mississippi State can all but clinch the division with a win over Alabama. At that point, MSU would only have to beat Vanderbilt next week to seal the deal. Let's just say that win over the Commodores is highly doable.

CHAOS

  • Florida defeats South Carolina
  • Texas A&M defeats Missouri
  • Auburn defeats Georgia
  • Alabama defeats Mississippi State

The three East results are necessary to go down the road to a three-way tie at 5-3 in the conference. If Missouri loses to Tennessee next week, then Florida would win the East thanks to the Gators having a better divisional record (5-1) than either UGA or MU (both 4-2). If Missouri beats Tennessee, then the Tigers would win it thanks to either being the sole 6-2 team (if they beat Arkansas) or having the head-to-head win over Florida (UGA falls out at 4-2 in the division, then it goes to head-to-head for the two 5-1 teams).

Alabama beating Mississippi State would open the door for a four-way tie atop the West at 6-2, provided Ole Miss wins the Egg Bowl and Auburn wins the Iron Bowl. The first step in the tiebreaker is combined head-to-head record among the tied teams. In this situation, Ole Miss (beat Alabama and MSU) and Auburn (beat Ole Miss and Alabama) would sit at 2-1 while Alabama (beat only MSU) and Mississippi State (beat only Auburn) would sit at 1-2. That round eliminates the Tide and Bulldogs, leaving it down to the head-to-head result of Auburn beating the Rebels deciding the West. That finish wasn't controversial, was it?

So that's how we can either simplify or complicate the divisions. There is room in between—Georgia and Missouri both winning leads to that middle ground—but the extremes are more interesting.