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Making Sense of the SEC East After an Insane Week 12

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Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 16, 2013

While the SEC West will come down to the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama on the Plains on Nov. 30, the SEC East is still up for grabs after a wild Week 12 in the nation's toughest college football conference.

Who will represent the East in Atlanta on Dec. 7?

Let's start with what we know.

We know Georgia is out. 

The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker to Auburn 43-38 after climbing out of a 20-point fourth-quarter hole to build a lead...only to have Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall and wide receiver Ricardo Louis pull the rug out from under their feet on a Hail Mary for the ages.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
South Carolina head coach Steve SpurrierStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

For the first time since 2010, an East team from somewhere other than Athens, Ga. will play in the Georgia Dome.

We know that South Carolina is in the clubhouse with a 6-2 conference record.

The Gamecocks survived a scare from visiting Florida on Saturday night, climbing out of a 14-6 hole to top the Gators 19-14 at Williams-Brice Stadium. 

With head coach Steve Spurrier's team done with its conference record, that puts all eyes on Missouri (9-1, 5-1 SEC) over the next two weeks. The Tigers need to run the table in order to represent the division in the SEC Championship Game.

What do those two weeks have in store for the Tigers?

They have a road trip to a suddenly hot Ole Miss team, followed by a visit from Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies to close out the regular season.

As Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde points out, if the Tigers win the division, they will have earned it.

And that puts all the pressure on Missouri. Must win out to win SEC East, at Ole Miss and home against Texas A&M. That would be earning it.

— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) November 17, 2013

While Auburn claims its traditional close to the season with Georgia and Alabama as "Amen Corner," Missouri's final two games serves as an actual Amen Corner—complete with a leader in the clubhouse and all.

The Rebels topped Troy on Saturday afternoon 51-21 to post their fourth straight win. Quarterback Bo Wallace has thrown for an average of 309.5 yards per game during the last six games, with 13 touchdowns.

Nov 16, 2013; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace (14) warms up before the game against the Troy Trojans  at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

If the Tigers solve that riddle, another one will await on rivalry weekend, as their former Big 12 foe Texas A&M will roll into Columbia potentially with an at-large BCS bid and another Heisman Trophy for Manziel on the line.

Good luck with that, Tigers.

So what are the chances for Missouri to drop one of the final two and allow Steve Spurrier another shot at the SEC title? 

Pretty good.

While Missouri has put together a season to remember, that's a ton of pressure on a team that isn't used to being "the hunted." On top of that, it has to top two good teams that are hot at the right time.

Advantage, Gamecocks.

Missouri will squeak past the Rebels next week but fall to Manziel and the Aggies in a shootout on the final weekend of the regular season. The loss will open the door for the "Head Ball Coach" to lead his Gamecocks back to Atlanta for the first time since 2010, and perhaps the first SEC title in South Carolina history.

Between an Iron Bowl for the ages and Missouri's Amen Corner, the next two weeks in the SEC are going to be riveting.

 

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