clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SEC East Most Likely Tiebreakers

New, 143 comments

We're not getting totally crazy with these.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee's win over South Carolina on Saturday night killed the craziest SEC East tiebreaker scenario, but the division is far from settled.

There are still plenty of possibilities left, though, as every team except South Carolina and Vanderbilt still has a chance to tie for the division crown. Georgia currently has two SEC losses and only two conference games to go, so the East champ cannot be worse than 4-4. Kentucky and Tennessee are long shots to be sure, but they still only have four losses each so far. Should Georgia (at UK, Auburn) and Missouri (at Texas A&M, at Tennessee, Arkansas) both lose out, either the Wildcats or the Vols—but not both, as they haven't played each other yet—could tie for the division title.

The most likely scenario though is that the East champ will have no more than three losses. Georgia probably won't lose to Kentucky, which puts the likely floor on losses for the division champ at three. Heck, the division winner might have only one loss. There's no certain loss in the rest of Mizzou's schedule with none of its future SEC opponents being above sixth in either division right now.

So putting aside the insanity that can come from a logjam at 4-4 in league play—we'll address that should Georgia fall in Lexington this weekend—here's how the SEC East tiebreaker will work.

Two Teams

You know this, but let's put it here for the same of completeness. Florida beat Georgia. Georgia beat Missouri. Missouri beat Florida. Those head-to-head results will determine the division champ if it's a two-team tie.

Three Teams

If Florida wins out, Georgia beats Kentucky but loses to Auburn, and Missouri loses twice more, then we'll have a three-way tie at 5-3. Who Missouri loses to makes all the difference.

Here are the first couple of steps of the divisional tiebreaker:

Three-Team Tie (or more): If three teams (or more) are tied for a division title, the following procedure will be used in the following order: (Note: If one of the procedures results in one team being eliminated and two remaining, the two-team tiebreaker procedure as stated in No. 1 above will be used):

A. Combined head to head record among the tied teams;

B. Record of the tied teams within the division;

Step A doesn't determine things because the teams are all 1-1 against each other.

Step B is where it gets interesting. In this scenario, Florida would be 5-1 against the East and Georgia would be 4-2. We don't know how Missouri's record would work out because it still has three games to go.

If Missouri beats Tennessee but loses to A&M and Arkansas, then its division record would be 5-1. By the way the tiebreaker works, Georgia would be eliminated due to having a worse division record than Florida and Missouri have. At that point it becomes a two-team tiebreaker, and Missouri would make a return trip to Atlanta thanks to having clobbered the Gators last month.

However if Missouri loses to Tennessee and then beats one and only one of A&M and Arkansas, then Mizzou's division record would be 4-2. In this case, Florida would go to Atlanta thanks to having the best division record of the three tied teams.

And yes, if you're counting along at home, this means that Georgia cannot win a three-way tiebreaker at 5-3. Reversing the Bulldogs' results—losing to Kentucky but beating Auburn—would only make the situation worse. In that case, the Bulldogs would have a division record of 3-3. If UGA loses to Auburn and Florida wins out, Georgia will be eliminated from divisional contention.

Looking ahead, here are the games that will decide things:

November 8

Florida at Vanderbilt: A Florida loss eliminates the Gators

Georgia at Kentucky: A Georgia win eliminates Kentucky's and Tennessee's ability to tie for first in the division

November 15

South Carolina at Florida: A Florida loss eliminates the Gators; a Florida win combined with a Gator win over Vandy and any Georgia loss eliminates Georgia

Auburn at Georgia: A Georgia win combined with a win over Kentucky eliminates Florida

Missouri at Texas A&M: A Mizzou loss helps Florida and Georgia but a Mizzou win doesn't eliminate either

November 22

Missouri at Tennessee: A Mizzou win eliminates Florida

November 28

Arkansas at Missouri: If this is Mizzou's third straight win, it clinches the division; a Mizzou win combined with any other win eliminates Florida