Alabama fans are busy getting geared up for the Arkansas game this evening, but while they were tailgating on the Quad, the SEC East managed to blow itself up. Georgia lost to Vanderbilt, giving the Bulldogs a second loss in the SEC. Tennessee upset South Carolina, giving South Carolina a second loss in the SEC. Missouri annihilated Florida. The Missouri win gives the Tigers a two game lead on the rest of the East. The ripple effect will be pronounced, particularly as it relates to Alabama, and the perceived strength of the SEC.
Missouri has a big lead on the rest of the SEC East, but the Tigers have a problem. An angry Gamecocks team comes to visit next week, and they have games left against Ole Miss and Texas A&M that aren’t guaranteed wins. It is highly unlikely that Missouri will be able to run that gauntlet unscathed because it is too tough to maintain high levels of execution every week. Still, Missouri’s inside track means they will probably face either Alabama or LSU in the SEC Championship Game.
The strong chance of Missouri losing knocks some luster off of the SEC Championship Game, which has been seen as a national semifinal throughout the SEC’s current run of BCS titles. A win in the SEC Championship could generally bring a team back and put them into the BCS National Championship game. Not so this year. There are too many other undefeated teams, and the East opponent will almost certainly be viewed as weaker than in years past.
How does all of this relate to Alabama? Simply put, the Tide has to go undefeated. The SEC East bludgeoning itself shrunk any existing margin for error that Alabama possessed to such an extent that it doesn’t exist.