I love Florida-Georgia. There's no way around it folks, even as an ACC guy and a former UNC player, I can openly profess my enjoyment of this event known as The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. While I enjoy the Red River Shoot Out, Florida State-Miami and of course UNC-NC State means the world to me it is the Cocktail Party that has grown to be my favorite non-rivalry week game of the year.
This year is no different for me and while the game doesn't have BCS Bowl implications, the star power of recent years or even ranked teams this Cocktail Party could serve as the catalyst for one of the most fantastic SEC East finishes since the league expanded to 12 teams. This game is important not just because Richt hasn't beaten the Gators in a few seasons and has been embrarrased in back to back years. Not just because Florida needs to get back on track offensively. Not just because both teams sit with 3 SEC losses and can ill afford another.
No, this game matters because it can be the first domino to fall to turn the SEC East into a bizarro Big XII South 2008 scenario.
Surely you remember 2008 in the Big XII South, right? Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech all sitting at 11-1. Texas beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma beat Texas Tech, Texas Tech beat Texas. There was no definitive winner because every team had an equal "yeah but we beat them" response to the team that was going ahead of them.
Well this weekend in the SEC East we have the first step towards that exact same scenario, just quagmired in abject mediocrity where 7-1 conference records become pedestrian 4-4 records and you get to break out those tie breaker rules to figure out which of the threeequally mediocre teams gets to go to Atlanta for a December 4th beat down. That's right Sakerlina, Georgia and Florida, while not the powerhouse, BCS Title grind that the SEC West has become, could be embroiled in their own little funfest for our enjoyment.
Read more to see how this 3-way tie can come to fruition for all of us to enjoy...
As they stand right now the Sakerlina Gamecocks lead the way with a 5-2 (3-2) record. Florida is technically second with their 5-3 (2-3) standing and the Dawgs bring up the rear at 4-4 (2-3) record.
So how do we get to this "Doomsday Scenario" in the east?
Since both Florida and Georgia both are saddled with three SEC losses on the eve of the Cocktail Party 4 has to be the watermark going forward. Sakerlina can reach 4, the Dawgs can hold at 4 and the Gators can limit their losses to 4 as well. 4-4 in the SEC has to be the mark, now getting their is the fun part since all the dominoes have to fall in order to achieve this perfect storm of mediocre.
First Georgia must win the Cocktail Party. Saddled with the loss to Sakerlina already and with Auburn on the schedule for November 13th the Dawgs cannot afford to drop a game to the in-division rival Gators. The Dawgs beat Meyer's squad and lose to Auburn to end up at 4-4.
Second Florida must lose and win. Lose to the Dawgs as we've discussed and then beat Vandy and Sakerlina. That puts Meyers squad in the mix at 4-4 for the season.
Lastly, Sakerlina, they just have to be South Carolina. Ya know, standard late season fade as we've seen since 2007. Beat Tennessee, lose to an explosive Arkansas squad and then drop the game to the Gators in The Swamp to get to 4-4.
So now we've got the makings of the Bizzaro World Tie-Breaker Scenario. Three teams, all 4-4. Georgia Beat Florida, Florida Beat South Carolina, South Carolina Beat Georgia. Now what?
Nothing like going into the archives to break out the good old Three Team Tie Breaker Scenario:
B. THREE (OR MORE) TEAM TIE
1. (Once the tie has been reduced to two teams, go to the two-team tie-breaker format.)
2. Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
3. Record of the tied teams within the division.
4. Head-to-head competition vs. the team within the division with the best overall (divisional and non-divisional) Conference record and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken from first to last.
5. Overall record vs. non-division teams.
6. Combined record vs. all common non-divisional teams.
7. Record vs. common non-divisional team with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional) record and proceeding through other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within their division.
8. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the last weekend of regular-season games shall be the divisional representative in the SEC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the SEC Championship Game.
Yes, that means it will be nothing short of fun boys and girls. We're talking a mess, with head to head records, head to head vs team with best divisional record and plenty more. The scenario itself is nothing short of crazy and tough to conceptualize but the actual road to this ridiculous end game is far from a pipe dream.
Georgia, putting up 40 a game recently will likely beat Florida this weekend before dropping the Auburn showdown. Florida, after losing this weekend has dominated South Carolina of late and with Chris Rainey back in the fold can beat the Gamecocks. And, Sakerlina, good old Sakerlina, they've done a lot worse than drop their last 2 SEC games in recent history.
While folks root to bring down the BCS this is the scenario I'll be rooting for, I'll trade some crazy mid-majors unbeaten vs BCS 1-loss team scenarios for this bizarro edition of tie-breaker chaos. Florida and UGA would hold the edge under the tie breaker, I think, but this would be epic on the scale of ridiculous measures needed to figure out with 4-4 team deserved the division title.
And it all starts with the Dawgs getting a win this weekend in The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. So root for chaos with the help of the dulcet tones of Larry Munson, this is incredible.