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Florida became king of the SEC East before we even got to November

In Year 1 under Jim McElwain, Florida has basically sealed a spot in the SEC Championship with a month to go in the regular season. How?

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Florida picked Georgia up and threw it out of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, demolishing the Bulldogs 27-3.

The Gators dominated the Bulldogs on defense, forcing five turnovers and picking off debuting QB Faton Bauta four times. They dominated the Bulldogs on special teams, recovering a muffed punt for a TD. They dominated the Bulldogs on offense, outgaining them 413 to 223.

The win gives the Gators a two-game lead in the SEC East over the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have two games to play, and Florida has the tiebreaker.

Hypothetically, the only team that could catch the Gators is Vandy. And they'd have to win out. And Florida would have to lose out. They play each other next week.

Basically, with a month left, Florida has sealed a spot in the SEC Championship.

Florida shouldn't be here. It's Year One of the Jim McElwain era after third- and fifth-place SEC East finishes the past two years under W_ll M_sch_mp. (I've redacted certain letters of that name to reduce the risk of Florida fans suffering seizures while reading.) The Gators were picked fifth in the SEC East, with only one first-place vote. Their apparent saving grace was rookie QB Will Grier, but now he's suspended.

For Florida to merely be competent would've pleased a lot of Gators fans. They haven't been merely competent. They've been demonstrably better than everybody else in the East.

Gators react

Georgia was picked to blow away this sordid division; Florida blew away Georgia. Missouri was picked to be better than Florida; Missouri's offense is a crime against humanity. Tennessee was picked to be better than Florida; Tennessee is a historically great team at losing games it shouldn't. South Carolina was picked to be better than Florida; South Carolina is so grievously bad that Steve Spurrier quit.

Will Florida be able to make noise in the SEC Championship? Who knows. They did blast Ole Miss to hell, and Ole Miss beat 'Bama, so it's a possibility. But the fact we're even talking about an SEC championship for Florida right now is the thing to enjoy.

The SEC East is a monstrous trash heap. Although the SEC West remains the best division in football according to Bill Connelly's S&P+ rankings, the SEC East rates the worst of any power conference division. (Yes, even worse than the Big Ten West and Pac-12 North.)

Even so, it's still incredible that Florida has emerged as the undisputed king of that trash heap, and it's almost certain that on Dec. 5 it'll have a chance to trade in its garbage crown for the conference throne.


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