The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks lead parity-filled SEC East

Georgia, Missouri threaten South Carolina's spot atop division

Wherever you are, find the nearest object made of glass and throw it on the ground.

Congratulations, you just created the SEC East.

It’ll be pretty messy, you’ll probably have a couple open wounds by the time it’s all said and done, but one piece of shattered glass is bound to be bigger than the others.

There’s no real rhyme or reason to which one comes out the largest, but for our purposes, that’s the piece that will win the East.

And right now, No. 13 South Carolina is leading this group of seven teams that doesn’t look particularly interested in winning the division.

The Gamecocks earned their No. 1 spot in the SEC East with Saturday’s less-than-convincing win over Vanderbilt, after which head coach Steve Spurrier called the team “embarrassing.” But the foundation for their perch atop the division is built on their stunning upset win over Georgia.

For the rest of the season, South Carolina will be compared against that standard it set in week three against the Bulldogs. And after their performance against the Commodores, the Gamecocks look to be in danger of getting clotheslined by that bar against (insert inferior SEC team of choice here).

As for Georgia’s chances, they’re stuck playing catch-up after that loss to South Carolina. If the two teams both manage to go undefeated throughout the rest of conference play, the Gamecocks will win the division by way of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Bulldogs are still ranked ahead of the Gamecocks at No. 12, and they’ll be waiting patiently for South Carolina to trip over itself. But, as Georgia has proven, it’s not above slipping up either (see last year’s near-disaster against Tennessee and actual disaster against Auburn).

Speaking of the Volunteers, they can’t be good, can they?

There was chatter about the resurgence of Tennessee early in the year, having played well against its first two opponents. But all that crazy talk died down pretty heavily when the Vols went to Oklahoma and lost by 24 points in week three.

Tennessee plays its first SEC game of the season this weekend at Georgia, which could serve as the Volunteers’ announcement that they’re back to compete in the division. But, in all likelihood, it will be a stepping stone for Todd Gurley on his way to a 15,000-yard season.

The team that won this ludicrous division a year ago is Missouri. The Tigers were firing on all cylinders heading into last weekend. Maty Mauk was arranging his flight to New York in December for the Heisman trophy presentation.

But then they lost to Indiana.


Missouri closed out its non-conference schedule last week against the Hoosiers, which was arguably the Big Teniest team in the Big Ten before upsetting the Tigers.

This weekend at South Carolina will be Mizzou’s first SEC action of the year, and a win could send them straight to the top of the East. So Saturday in Williams-Brice will go a long way in deciding the winner of the division, as long as we don’t end up in some 11-11 tie that can’t really be ruled out with these two teams.

Florida is the team directly behind the Gamecocks in the East standings, with a 1-1 record that couldn’t be less impressive.

The Gators’ had to play three overtimes against lowly Kentucky to earn their only conference win, and their sole loss came Saturday when Alabama decided to flex its muscles for the country in the form of a 42-21 rout.

The two remaining teams in the East are Kentucky and Vanderbilt, sitting at the bottom of the division. To suggest anything other than mediocrity from the Wildcats and Commodores would be grossly irresponsible of me.

But Kentucky almost beat Florida; doesn’t that mean Kentucky isn’t terrible?

No. Stop it. Kentucky is terrible.

The Gamecocks still have five conference games remaining, and the rest of the teams in the East all have no less than six matchups left in the SEC. So the majority of the carnage will go down over the course of the next two months.  

Until South Carolina falters, if it falters, the division is the Gamecocks’ to lose.

So they’ll enter Saturday’s conference clash with Missouri looking to maintain that lead and take another step in earning the right to represent the division in the championship game in December.

Only one team gets to walk out of the exploding building that is the SEC East, and South Carolina is closest to the door.


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