King of the East

Maybe Florida should just bow out of the Eastern half of the SEC football conference. Since the SEC decided to split in 1992, the Gators are 76-9 in that 17 year span against Eastern Division foes a little more than half of a loss per season. The Florida Gators put an exclamation point on another undefeated Eastern schedule with a 56-6 dismantling of South Carolina on Saturday.

The Gators have demonstrated year in and year out they are clearly the elite team in the division. Certainly they haven‘t won the division every year, but a lot of times that falls on scheduling and who they may be playing in the other half of the conference in an given year. The Gators are always forced to play LSU and the Tigers have been the dominant team in the West even before Urban Meyer arrived at Florida. Sometimes it is about luck in scheduling.

As far as the East is concerned, the Gators own all five other teams.

The South Carolina Gamecocks came to Gainesville Saturday already bowl eligible and feeling good about their top ranked SEC defense They left with a 50-point loss and the Gators piling on more than 500 yards of offense in the game. South Carolina is the newest team to the SEC in the Eastern Division, and has a combined 1-16 record against the Gators since joining the SEC.

One week ago the Gators dismantled a Vanderbilt team that is currently having one of their best seasons ever. The Vandy defense was again supposed to be one of the toughest. At halftime the game was 35-0 in favor of the visiting Gators and the stands were almost nothing but Gators at the end when the visitors prevailed 42-14. The Gators are 17-0 against the Commodores since the SEC began division play in 1992.

A national television audience was on tap for the annual Florida/Georgia rivalry and the Gators came into the game against the Bulldogs with a one game losing streak against the Bulldogs. Georgia climbed back into the national race after a loss earlier in the year to top ranked Alabama, and were feeling lucky heading to Jacksonville. The score was 49-3 when Georgia finally scored their first touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter, a meaningless score on the Gators backups. The Gators own a 14-3 record against Georgia since the SEC split into two divisions.

A week before the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, the Gators faced a Kentucky team that also came into the game with a very stingy defense. The Wildcats were facing several injuries that caused them not to resemble the same team that started the season, but the Gator piled on nine touchdowns in a 63-5 victory over the hapless Cats. The Gators are 17-0 against Kentucky since the divisional split in 1992.

If there is one team that has made it a challenge of sorts it is the University of Tennessee. The Vols have actually beaten Florida five times in 17 years and they have a national championship to their name in their undefeated 1998 season. Still, Urban Meyer is 4-0 against the Vols and was yet another team on the Gators' schedule this year that did not score a touchdown losing at home 30-6. Florida's 12-5 record against the Vols since the SEC split certainly had to be part of the reason Coach Phil Fulmer was shown the door this season.

At 76-9 in 17 years, the Gators have shown their domination and supremacy over a half of the SEC that year in and year out just can't compete on the same field. The Urban Meyer led Gators have an 18-2 record against the SEC East foes in his four years. In this 2008 season the Gators have won by a combined score of 240–41. Only Vanderbilt's first drive of the second half resulted in a touchdown against Florida's starting defense.

The SEC East domination tour is over for 2008, there is more business to attend to, but we can expect much of the same in 2009.


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