SEC Notebook: Division races come down to two games

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


Even if it had the opportunity, the SEC couldn't have scripted the final weekend of the regular season any better.
The last Saturday in November will feature two games that will decide the participants in the conference championship game the following week in Atlanta.
In the Eastern Division, Missouri will play Texas A&M needing a victory for the outright division title.
Lose and the Tigers, currently 6-1 in the conference, will share first place with 6-2 South Carolina but lose out in the tiebreaker for the title game berth.
That was all set up when the Tigers knocked off Ole Miss 24-10 in Oxford on Saturday.
"Certainly, to say I'm proud of my football team and staff would be an understatement," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "Every time they play, they battle, they prepare well, and they focus at a high level.
"I'm very proud of them."
That the Western Division would come down to the Iron Bowl had been determined a week earlier when Auburn escaped with a miracle win over Georgia to improve to 6-1 in conference play.
The Tigers will be host to undefeated Alabama (11-0, 7-0) Saturday afternoon with the winner earning the trip to Atlanta.
Auburn was idle as Alabama tuned up for the game by dispatching Chattanooga 49-0.
"Our focus needs to immediately shift to the opportunities that we have created for ourselves in the games that we have in the future," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Obviously, the one we have this week against Auburn is a very important game. They have a great team and have had a great season."
FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 13 IN THE SEC: 1. One quarterback returns, another goes down. Missouri welcomed back injured senior James Franklin, who had missed more than a month, just in time for its final two games, but Georgia has lost senior Aaron Murray, who is slated for knee surgery.
2. Alabama QB AJ McCarron takes a big jump up in the Heisman race. With other contenders like Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Baylor's Bryce Petty, and Oregon's Marcus Mariota all seeing their teams lose and Florida State's Jameis Winston facing potential legal issues, McCarron could be an attractive alternative for voters.
3. Gotta love those trick plays. With Vanderbilt at Tennessee's five-yard line and time running out, redshirt freshman QB Patton Robinette took the snap in shotgun formation, took a couple of steps forward, and then leaped into the air, faking a jump pass, before pulling the ball back down and scooting around right end for the decisive touchdown in Vandy's 14-10 win.
4. Maybe there is room for a ninth SEC contest. In nonconference games on the next-to-last weekend of the regular season, Alabama won by 49 points, South Carolina by 60, and Auburn didn't play.
5. With Arkansas and Kentucky both 0-7 going into their final games, the SEC could have winless teams at the bottom of the divisions for the second consecutive season and third time since the conference was split in 1992. Kentucky and Auburn each were 0-8 in 2012, Vandy and Mississippi State 0-8 in 2002.

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