The Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks were both upset on Saturday, and the Florida Gators also lost to upstart Missouri to round out a spanking for the old guard in the SEC East. The Gators, Dawgs and Cocks have represented the East in most of the SEC championship games over the last few years, but newcomers Missouri don't seem to care, and the Vols look ready to return to the party after two strong performances under first year coach Butch Jones.
Georgia is in the middle of an injury-filled funk, unable to overcome the absence of their two starting running backs and three of their top receivers. To make matters worse, they may have lost another of their top WRs to injury, as Chris Conley went down late, and DE Ray Drew was ejected on a dubious targeting call in the first half. Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons was also injured and did not return. Vanderbilt, a team that has been on the cusp under James Franklin for a couple of years, took advantage. Though they trailed at home 24-14, they scored 17 unanswered in the second half to steal the victory 31-27, limiting Aaron Murray to 104 yards and an interception on the day in which he became the SEC's leader in total yards.
The Gamecocks and Gators were simply outplayed. Florida looked out of their element in Columbia, as Missouri's defense swarmed the Gators, limiting them to a few big plays, en route to a 36-17 demolition. Tennessee displayed that big ol' orange heart of theirs, went out and fought Jadaveon Clowney and the Cocks, and came away with a 23-21 victory on Michael Palardy's 19-yard field goal as time expired.
The Tennessee Vols and Missouri Tigers have shown their mettle in recent weeks as well. Tennessee nearly beat Georgia at home, but lost in overtime on a fumble into the end zone that would have given them the lead in the extra period. Missouri straight-up spanked Georgia at home, never relinquishing the lead in a quiet Sanford Stadium. The Tigers are undefeated thus far, and the hopes for Bulldogs fans that Missouri wouldn't be able to handle the strength of the rest of their schedule without QB James Franklin appear to be unfounded. Their defense is tenacious, and they execute what they can do very well. The Tigers take on South Carolina next week, in what will be USC's final chance at making the SEC title game.
After that, they'll meet Tennessee, a game they'll be favored in, and end with Texas A&M. If they beat South Carolina, though, they will probably be able to lose both of those games, as Florida, Georgia and USC now have two SEC losses each.