The most significant moment for Tennessee on Saturday may have happened hundreds of miles away from Neyland Stadium.
Florida could’ve taken a huge step towards locking up the SEC East.
Firmly in control of their destiny, the Gators travelled to Arkansas to face a Razorbacks team that was just two weeks removed from a 53-point loss to Auburn. Instead of capitalizing, the Gators were smacked 31-10 in Fayetteville, keeping a wildly mediocre SEC East open for several teams.
Here’s how the standings look after Saturday:
Tennessee, currently in fifth, in many ways is in a very good spot. The path down the stretch is simple for the Vols: Win out against Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt, and get one loss from Florida – either from South Carolina or LSU – and Tennessee heads to Atlanta.
Several teams, however, remain in the hunt. Despite the loss, Florida remains in the driver’s seat. If the Gators beat South Carolina and LSU, they go to Atlanta.
And as crazy as it seems, Kentucky, Georgia, and even technically Vanderbilt, remain alive as well. South Carolina would need to beat Florida next week to remain in the hunt. Kentucky needs to knock off UT next week to stay in the conversation as well. Georgia needs a win over Auburn next week, as well as a lot of help, to remain in the hunt. Vanderbilt – well, let’s just say it’s an incredible long shot – but it technically could happen.
Plenty of scenarios could still play out, but Florida and Tennessee are the ones the most in control of their destiny at this point. The Vols must take care of business down the stretch and then become huge Gamecock and Tiger fans.
But Florida’s loss at Arkansas renews some hope for UT after blowing an opportunity at South Carolina last week. It feels like the East very well could be up for grabs again.