Should Gary Pinkel and Mizzou win the big night game in Columbia over the Georgia Bulldogs, it would initiate a seismic shift in SEC East championship hopes. As it stands now, Georgia and South Carolina are the lead dogs, but an 0-1 Dawgs team would be a true indicator that Missouri is in the SEC East to compete. It would also let South Carolina and Tennessee, a team whose confidence is surging, know that if they want to take the division, they'll have to scrap it out.
Georgia has to go into Columbia and get a win, the Bulldogs have the SEC East's easiest schedule, and for the 'Dawgs the 2012 season comes down to handling their light work and beating their division. They don't have Alabama looming like Missouri and Tennessee. They don't have LSU lurking like South Carolina and Florida.
What will a Mizzou win mean to the SEC East?
That "chalked-up L" from an SEC West team is not there for the Dawgs, and thus, a loss in the division would not only serve to make them rely on others to lose, but it would act as the equalizer. For Missouri it would mean that the probable loss to the Tide would still leave them in charge of their own destiny against the 'Dawgs. For Tennessee, South Carolina and even Florida, it would mean that if you lose to your tough cross-divisional foes but beat Georgia, you can still have a shot at heaven.
Last season, with a similarly easy schedule, the Bulldogs dropped the game to South Carolina but were able to weather the storm, get help from Arkansas and Auburn, and get into the game. This year, with Tennessee improved; South Carolina determined to extract revenge; and a new, dangerous Mizzou team, the 'Dawgs might not be so lucky.
If you're Georgia, take care of business Saturday, and stave off the need to rely on the opposition to do your job. If you're one of the "other guys," root like hell for Mizzou. The Tigers can buy the entire division some wiggle room with a win over Mark Richt's team.