Don’t look now, Georgia, but after yesterday, more and more it’s looking like… Kentucky.
Tennessee, one of the Dawgs’ traditional rivals, was already in a deep hole to take the East. South Carolina merely shoveled the dirt into the burial plot. Florida, with its second conference loss in a row, now needs help to win the division even if the Gators prevail at the Cocktail Party in a couple of weeks. (For the record, I take nothing for granted in the city of Jacksonville.)
That leaves only one team in the East with only one loss. The Wildcats.
It’s not just the record that has me pointing out UK. Take a look at the remaining schedule. Outside of Georgia, there’s not a conference school left that Kentucky won’t have a decent shot of beating, and in Georgia’s case, the ‘Cats will get them at a favorable moment, after the Dawgs have run the Florida-Auburn gauntlet. (There’s a game with South Carolina tucked in the middle of that, too.)
I admit that, on paper at least, Kentucky hasn’t exactly been that formidable a team. Sagarin has UK around sixty in his ratings. On the other hand, you can make an argument that Kentucky is a whisker away from being 6-0 right now, but for a couple of unforced errors against Florida.
In any event, winning the division is measured by an objective standard, not a subjective one. The team with the most conference wins goes to Atlanta. Right now, the UGA-UK game is starting to shape up as one where Kentucky would have a puncher’s chance to sneak into that conference title game.
I may not have gone into the season thinking Georgia was a lock to win the East, but it certainly wasn’t a stretch to think the Dawgs would be a divisional favorite. Picking the Kentucky game as the one for all the divisional marbles, though? I doubt anybody saw that coming.