- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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With some interesting developments taking place over the weekend, the division races in the SEC continue to heat up.
No. 1 Alabama continues its stranglehold in the West but Auburn is right behind the Crimson Tide with the Iron Bowl coming in late November. And the Crimson Tide have a date with LSU before that. The East got a little more interesting over the weekend with South Carolina's win over Missouri. The Gamecocks are in the mix, though they still need some help.
Let's take a look at how the division races are shaping up with five weeks left in the regular season:
• Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) continues to control its own destiny in the SEC West. If the Crimson Tide win out, they'll be the West's representative in the SEC championship game. Alabama is off this week and hosts No. 13 LSU (7-2, 3-2) next week. There are also dates remaining with Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2) and No. 11 Auburn (7-1, 3-1) in divisional play.
• Auburn also controls its own destiny. The Tigers have SEC contests left against Arkansas (3-5, 0-4), Tennessee (4-4, 1-3), Georgia (4-3, 3-2) and Alabama and if the Tigers were to win all four, they would be the division champion and head to Atlanta. The Tigers next two games, vs. the Razorbacks and Volunteers, are on the road and then Auburn returns home to close out the year against the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide.
• LSU has No. 1 Alabama, No. 12 Texas A&M and Arkansas remaining. The Tigers need to win out and need Alabama to lose twice (one of which would have to be to LSU) and Auburn to lose once. If LSU and Auburn beat Alabama and all three finish with two SEC losses, LSU would win the tiebreaker. Here is a further explanation of the SEC's rules on breaking ties within the division races.
• Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2) is pretty much out of the race for the SEC West title. The Aggies would have to win out to win the title, but they would also need Alabama to lose their last three conference games and Auburn to lose twice.
• Even though it lost on Saturday to South Carolina, No. 9 Missouri (7-1, 3-1) still controls its destiny in the SEC East. If the Tigers win their remaining games, they're the SEC East champions. Their strong start is serving them well since they built a two-game cushion over the a few others, but now that lead is down to one with three teams being only a game back in the loss column. Missouri has Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Texas A&M remaining on the schedule.
• South Carolina (6-2, 4-2) is in the mix for the title after beating Missouri on Saturday but would need to win out and for Missouri to lose one more time. South Carolina has only two conference games left: home games against Mississippi State and Florida. If it's only a two-way tie at the top at the end of the year, South Carolina's head-to-head win last week would be the tiebreaker.
• Georgia (4-3, 3-2) has a head-to-head win over South Carolina, but that only becomes a factor if Georgia wins out and finds itself in a three-way tie with South Carolina and Missouri at 6-2. That would mean Georgia would have to close out the season with conference wins over Florida, Auburn and Kentucky, with the Auburn game being on the road. If that happened and Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia were tied atop the division, the tiebreaker would go to the team with the best divisional record, since all three would be 1-1 against each other. Currently, Georgia is 2-2 in SEC East play, Missouri is 3-1 in the division and South Carolina is 3-2.
• Florida (4-3, 3-2) has a loss to Missouri but has games against Georgia and South Carolina coming up, as well as a game against Vanderbilt sandwiched in between. The Gators need to win out and have Missouri lose twice, since Missouri holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Gators. That scenario also works for Georgia if Georgia wins out, because it has a loss to Missouri but has beaten South Carolina.
10hMark Schlabach and Sharon Katz