UT-UGA loser is done

With the SEC East lacking a dominant team this fall, I predicted in preseason that the winner of the 2007 division title would have two losses. I still believe that will be the case.

Even so, I'm convinced the loser of Saturday's game between Georgia (2-1 in SEC play) and Tennessee (0-1) can forget about the East championship. Here's why:

If Tennessee loses the Vols will be 0-2 in league competition with SEC road games remaining at Mississippi State (which beat Auburn), at Alabama (which beat Arkansas) and at Kentucky (which beat Louisville and Arkansas). Moreover, the Vols are no lock to win their remaining SEC home games – South Carolina (which won at Georgia), Arkansas (which hammered UT last year) and Vanderbilt (which won on its last visit to Knoxville).

Even if the Vols lose Saturday, then win out, they have virtually no chance to win the division. The first tie-breaker in case of a deadlock for the division title is head-to-head competition, and Tennessee already will have lost head-to-head to both Florida and Georgia. The next tie-breaker is division record, and UT would be just 3-2 against East foes. Conversely, Florida's loss was to West Division foe Auburn, so the Gators have two tie-breakers on the Vols should both teams finish 6-2.

Georgia faces the same obstacles if it loses to Tennessee. Like the Vols, the Dawgs would have two setbacks within the division (South Carolina and UT) if they lose Saturday. So, they would lose the head-to-head tie-breaker with either of those teams should both finish 6-2.

If top-ranked LSU beats Florida Saturday night in Baton Rouge, as expected, the Gators will be 2-2 in league play but still very much alive for the SEC East title. That's because BOTH of their losses would be against Western Division teams (Auburn and LSU). If Florida then won out to finish 6-2, it would own the tie-breakers of head-to-head competition AND division record against every other team in the East.

Bottom line: Florida can suffer a second SEC loss this Saturday and still have a good shot at winning the Eastern Division. Tennessee and Georgia do not have that luxury. Thus, the loser of the Vol-Dawg game is toast.


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