Mathematically, only Missouri has been eliminated from contention for the SEC regular season title this year. But realistically, I think most would agree there are really 5 teams vying for the title: Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Florida. Of all the amazing accomplishments during the Calipari era, one interesting one that is not so amazing is he’s only won the the SEC title in 3 of 6 years when the league has not been seriously competitive. Part of that is due to the great run of Florida under Billy Donovan. Nonetheless, UK has it’s hands full the rest of way is trying to win their 173rd conference title. We know that UK’s schedule is daunting but what about the other contenders. Below are each team’s remaining schedule, both home and away, and the combined conference record of those remaining opponents:
Home: Tennessee, Alabama, LSU
Away: South Carolina, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Florida
SOUTH CAROLINA (8-3)
Home: Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia
Away: Missouri, Mississippi St, Arkansas
Home: Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, Missouri
Away: Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky
TEXAS A&M (7-4)
Home: Ole Miss, Kentucky, Mississippi St, Vanderbilt
Away: LSU, Missouri, Auburn
Home: Alabama, Vanderbilt, Kentucky
Away: Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, Missouri
Yikes. First off, Kentucky is facing the toughest slate of games of these 5 teams no matter home or away. But they also have 4 road games remaining while LSU, USC, and A&M have just 3. Also, they still have to play each of the other 4 teams once while this isn’t the case for any of the others.
Now, you can look at this a couple ways. On the one hand, UK’s road to the title is the hardest of these 5 times. It’s hard to argue against that. On that other hand, UK can totally earn this. If they beat these 4 teams over the next few weeks they will earn the title. They won’t earn it by beating Missouri down the stretch like the other 4 teams get to do. UK can literally break the hopes and dreams of these teams to win a rare SEC title, often on those team’s home floors.
What do you think about the schedule down the stretch? UK should be good and tested by the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament but their road to the title is tough.