- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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It all comes down to this.
One weekend, two games to determine the fate of the SEC divisional titles. One chance for teams to punch their ticket to Atlanta.
Let's take a look at how the division races sit going into the final weekend of regular season games:
For the first time the Iron Bowl is a play-in game for the SEC Championship game. That's helping to make it the "Iron Bowl of all Iron Bowls," with No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC) heading to Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on No. 4 Auburn (10-1, 6-1). The winner takes the SEC West and goes to the championship game. The loser finishes second and gets to watch. Simple as that.
The next grouping has LSU (8-3, 4-3) and Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3) tied for third in the division, though LSU defeated A&M head-to-head last week. LSU has last-place Arkansas (3-8, 0-7) this weekend while A&M travels to Missouri. Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4) is a game behind LSU and Texas A&M in the division and plays sixth-place Mississippi State (5-6, 2-5) in the Egg Bowl.
No. 5 Missouri (10-1, 6-1) holds its fate in its own hands. If the Tigers beat Texas A&M, they win the SEC East and go to Atlanta for the SEC championship game. If the Tigers lose to the Aggies, South Carolina (9-2, 6-2) waltzes in and takes the SEC title game berth by virtue of its win over the Mizzou on Oct. 26, which serves as the head-to-head tiebreaker. South Carolina's conference schedule is wrapped; the Gamecocks play No. 6 Clemson this weekend.
Georgia (7-4, 5-3) finishes in third place in the division and faces nonconference foe Georgia Tech. Vanderbilt (7-4, 4-4) closed out its SEC play last week with a win over Tennessee and the Commodores conclude the year fourth in the division and finish up against nonconference foe Wake Forest. Florida (4-7, 3-5) will conclude a nightmarish season against rival Florida State and the Gators are fifth in the league. Tennessee (4-7, 1-6) and Kentucky (2-9, 0-7) are sixth and seventh and play each other this weekend.
It all comes down to this.One weekend, two games to determine the fate of the SEC divisional titles. One chance for teams to punch their ticket to Atlanta.