Gators Lead SEC Hunt With Five Games Left

After each round of SEC games we will update the race for the SEC Championship as well as the Division Title chases. There are three weeks remaining in the regular season and here are the SEC standings heading into the stretch run.

SEC East SEC West
Florida 9-2 Alabama 8-2
Georgia 6-4 Miss State 5-5
Vanderbilt 6-4 Arkansas 5-6
Kentucky 5-5 Ole Miss 4-6
Tennessee 5-5 LSU 2-8
South Carolina 4-6 Auburn 2-8

Florida and Alabama are obviously in a two-team race for the overall SEC Championship and each enjoys a commanding lead in the division title. Florida will take a small step closer to winning the East when the Gators sit still and watch Vanderbilt @ Georgia Wednesday night. The winner of that game will be two games back, while the loser joins Kentucky and Tennessee three games behind the Gators and that's IF both Tennessee and Kentucky win their respective games against South Carolina and Mississippi State.

So it's like that the SEC Championship will come down to Florida and Alabama --- sorta seems like football season doesn't it?

Florida Versus Alabama ---- Florida has five games remaining on its schedule while Anthony Grant's Alabama team still has six SEC games to play. The schedule clearly favors Alabama with one notable exception.

Four of Alabama's remaining SEC games are against teams that currently have losing records in the league. Florida on the other hand has just one game against a team below the .500 mark (LSU 2-8) and faces treacherous roads trips to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The collective record of Florida's remaining opponents is 27-23 while Alabama's future opponents are 28-34. Florida has two games at home and three on the road while ‘Bama faces an even split of its final six games.

So where is Florida's scheduling advantage?

Tuesday, March 1, Alabama @ Florida

The next-to-last game of the regular season could very well end up being in essence an SEC Championship Game. Billy Donovan will play the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi while Anthony Grant is the Jedi Knight turned evil as Darth Vader. The O'Dome should be packed to the rafters and as loud as it's ever been should this showdown take place. Gator fans, of course are hoping this showdown between the master and his apprentice turns out a little better than it did in the original Star Wars.


Another thing that could be on the line in a hypothetical Florida/Alabama confrontation is the honor of SEC Coach of the Year. It's an award that Billy Donovan has inexplicably never won, but should be a very strong candidate for this time around. Of course voters tend to love the surprise contender, which means Grant is almost certainly going to win it --- IF his team continues to play at a high level.


It will be interesting to see if there is much of an uproar if ‘Bama were to beat the Gators by a single game in the final standings. It's clear that the SEC East is much stronger than the West this season as evidenced by the teams in the East winning 17-of-25 games against those from the West. The SEC plays an unbalanced schedule that consists of 10 divisional games and 6 inter-divisional contests. Thus, Alabama is clearly playing a weaker schedule than Florida is this season.


Florida's two remaining home games should both be completely sold out. Florida hosts Georgia on Thursday, February 24 before the possible showdown with Alabama on Tuesday, March 1. Each game is at 7:00. The ‘Bama game will also be Senior Day at UF as Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin play their final home games.

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