Georgia Has Clear Path To SEC Title Game

Tony Barnhart

1—Georgia is in control of its Fate in the SEC East after beating Florida 24-17. But the Bulldogs can’t lose Here’s the Math: If Georgia (7-1, 4-1 SEC) beats Missouri (5-3, 2-2) at Dooley Field/Sanford stadium on Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN), the Bulldogs are one win away (at Auburn on Nov. 16) from clinching a spot in the SEC championship game for the third straight year.In other words, if Georgia beats Mizzou, it could actually afford one loss against Auburn or Texas A&M (Nov. 23 in Athens.) and still get to Atlanta.But Georgia doesn’t want to back into an SEC East title. The Bulldogs need win out and be 11-1 if they make it to Atlanta on Dec. 7. That way Georgia, with a win, is all but a lock for the College Football Playoffs. “All I know is that I we need to beat Missouri,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the Florida game. Missouri (5-2, 2-2) had last week off.

2—Auburn’s off week could not have come at a better time:Last week was a difficult one for the Auburn Tigers. They were coming off a tough 23-20 win over Florida. Backup quarterback Joey Gatewood entered the transfer portal, igniting another group of critics who question Gus Malzahn’s ability to manage quarterbacks. Then the Tigers had their hands full at Ole Miss on Saturday before hanging on to win 20-14. Quarterback Bo Nix, who heard more than his fair share of critics, threw for a career-high 340 yards. The defense once again came to the rescue when Auburn was in trouble holding Ole Miss to only 266 total yards.Now the Tigers regroup to play their final three games at home against Georgia, Samford, and Alabama. Two years ago Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama at home when both were ranked No. 1.In short, there is still a lot for Auburn (7-2, 3-2) to play for.

3—South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards is the real deal:There have been a lot of great wide receivers to play at South Carolina:Sterling Sharpe, Alshon Jeffery, Kenny McKinley, and Sidney Rice, just to name a few.But senior Bryan Edwards set a school record Saturday night with 14 catches for career-best 149 yards in a 24-7 win over Vanderbilt at Williams-Brice Stadium. Edwards is also the school’s career leader in pass receptions with 208. He could have as many as four games left in his career.“He competes every down like it was his last down,” said South Carolina coach Will Muschamp. “I’ve seen that for four years now.”South Carolina (4-5) has three games left with Appalachian State (7-1),which was undefeated until last week’s loss to Georgia Southern, at
Texas A&M (6-3), and No. 4 Clemson (8-0). The Gamecocks must win two of them to go to their fourth straight bowl.

4—It is getting beyond ugly at Arkansas:Mississippi State had lost four straight games when it went to Arkansas,which had lost five straight games. At the very least you thought two teams stuck in this much misery with each desperately needing a win would produce a competitive game.Nope.Mississippi State dominated the Hogs, 54-24, who, according to published reports, looked pretty lifeless. Arkansas allowed 640 yards of total offense, with 460 of it on the ground. That’s REALLY ugly.If Arkansas (2-7) loses its last two SEC games at LSU and Missouri, the Hogs will have gone 0-8 in the SEC for the season straight season. As it stands the Hogs have lost 17 straight SEC games dating back to the 2017 season.I think Coach Chad Morris will get a third year but if he doesn’t I heard one of my press box friends utter the perfect solution to Arkansas’s woes: Mike Leach.Just sayin’.

5—Tennessee at Kentucky (7:30 p.m., SEC Network) is going to be a huge game for two teams that desperately want to go to a bowl.
Tennessee (4-5) has now outscored its opponents 54-7 over the past six quarters as the Volunteers beat UAB 30-7 Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. The week before Tennessee smashed South Carolina 42-21.Now Tennessee, which stared 1-4 has to win two of its final three games with Kentucky and Missouri on the road, and Vanderbilt at home. South Carolina is trying to get to its fourth straight bowl under Will Muschamp. No South Carolina coach in history has gone to four bowls in his first four years in Columbia.Kentucky (4-4) has four games remaining with Tennessee, at Vanderbilt,UT-Martin, and at Louisville. Kentucky is going for its fourth straight bowl under Mark Stoops. Only one other coach in school history, Rich Brooks (2006-09) has taken Kentucky to four straight bowls.


Tony Barnhart