SEC East Presents Opportunity For Florida Gators Despite Week 3 Loss

With the Florida Gators squarely in the thick of a 10-game, conference-only schedule, there are still plenty of opportunities for them to take control.
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This college football season is much different than any other season in recent history. The SEC is in the midst of a 10-game, conference-only schedule with plenty of question marks to contend with prior to the SEC Championship game slated to be played on Dec. 19.

With that, the No. 10 Florida Gators are smack dab in the middle of the competition, slated to contend with the best of the best, but there could be an opportunity for dominance even factoring in the loss against Texas A&M in Week 3.

In the SEC East, Florida faces much easier competition, and it is shaping up to become a two-team race, almost as expected entering the year. However, with the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs showing their inexperience at key positions (quarterback, for example), the window to close in with Florida's archrival doesn't appear as far-fetched.

None of the other teams within the SEC East are currently ranked, and one of the Gators' top competitors entering the season, the Tennessee Volunteers (2-2), appear to have taken a backseat in its plans after a 34-7 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, a loss that sent a shockwave throughout the college football world, and one that should give the Gators a sigh of relief as they're now alone with Georiga in the one-loss category.

Here are the current SEC East standings: Georgia (3-1), Florida (2-1), Kentucky (2-2), Tennessee (2-2), South Carolina (2-2), Missouri (1-2) and Vanderbilt (0-3).

Florida has already played South Carolina, defeating the Gamecocks 38-24 in South Carolina, they are next slated to play Missouri on Oct. 31, just 11 days from today. With the potential to enter the Florida-Georgia game at 3-1 and refreshed, the team's prospects of winning the SEC East skyrocket.

Currently, Georgia is battling a slew of issues. While the team did look good in the first half against No. 2 Alabama over the weekend, winning 24-20 at halftime, the Crimson Tide woke up and in the end the game wasn't even close with Georgia closing out, losing 41-24. Georgia didn't score a single point in the second half against an Alabama team that allowed Ole Miss to score 48 points the week prior.

While the Georgia defense has performed much better than Florida's over the first month of the SEC's season, their offenses are also separated. Currently, Florida ranks 18th in college football with 464 yards-per-game and Georgia currently ranks 30th with 418.5 YPG of total offense. While those numbers don't present an overall holistic view of the two teams, it does give a bit of an advantage to Florida because of how streaky the SEC defenses have been this season.

Although Georgia is currently Florida's toughest competition this year, the rest of the SEC East has been inconsistent enough to give them a boost in the rankings as the weeks continue forward. Remaining on the Gators schedule right now are the Missouri Tigers, Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks, Vanderbilt Commodores, Wildcats, Volunteers and the LSU Tigers. Of the teams remaining, only Georgia has a winning record.

Florida has to overcome some deficiencies, particularly with its defense, but due to the remaining games on the schedule, and the volatility in the SEC East in general, there is a golden opportunity sitting in front of them as they continue through an incredibly twisted and confusing season of college football.