Florida holding on to hope with crazy SEC

Lack of ball security hovered at the forefront of Florida's fall to Georgia. Six fumbles plagued the Gators in their first defeat of the season. But it was UF's failure to hang on to something other than the pigskin that really hurt the orange and blue Saturday. A win would've meant the security of the SEC East title. But the reality of defeat put the boys in Georgia back in battle for the nod.

Florida (6-1), Georgia (5-1) and South Carolina (5-2) round out the top three SEC players competing for the eastern division title. If Georgia can escape unscathed by Ole Miss and Auburn in its next two games, the Bulldogs will secure the East.

As it stands, Ole Miss is 2-2 in the SEC while Auburn is 0-6. However, Georgia's upset of Florida this weekend and South Carolina's 35-7 victory over Georgia earlier this month shows the unpredictability of any outcome in this conference.

"It shows anybody can knock anybody off," senior Jon Bostic said following Florida's loss. "You have to go into every game expecting a 60-minute football game."

Saturday's 17-9 result, Bostic said, was just one of those games.

Prior to taking the field in Jacksonville, Florida held on to a No. 3 ranking while Georgia swung at No. 12.

Looking back at Georgia's contest against South Carolina on Oct. 6, the Bulldogs entered Columbia at No. 5 while the Gamecocks looked up to them at No. 6.

Following this weekend's outcomes, Georgia is nationally ranked in the No. 7 hole, Florida follows at No. 8 and South Carolina rounds out the SEC East contenders at No. 11.

Though the security of an SEC East title slipped away from the Gators Saturday, the orange and blue can still grasp it. Florida's final conference game is on the line this week as it tackles SEC newcomer Missouri at noon Saturday.

If UF wins and UGA loses any of its upcoming conference matchups, Florida has it. If the Gators lose, however, there are a multitude of situations that decide their doom. Florida can clutch the East if UGA racks up a double-loss and SC also falls — to Arkansas. But if UGA loses twice and UF loses also, SC nabs the East.

But whatever lies ahead for Florida, how the team cradles its first loss will no doubt be a deciding factor.

"We have to respond well," Bostic said. "We can't let one loss bring us all the way down. We still have some dreams that we can go some places. We just have to play hard."

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