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Updated SEC conference projections

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The most likely SEC title game is currently Ole Miss-Missouri, but three huge Week 7 games (Ole Miss-Texas A&M, Auburn-Mississippi State, Georgia-Missouri) could change that outlook significantly.

Win projections

Last week, I took a look at the SEC's win probabilities using the F/+ ratings. Two big things happened on Saturday to change the outlook a bit. First of all, Ole Miss not only beat Alabama but looked really good doing it (as tends to be the case when you beat Alabama). The Rebels rose to first in the F/+ rankings, edging ahead of new No. 2 Mississippi State.

Second, LSU looked horrific against Auburn. Les Miles' Tigers not only lost but lost badly and fell from 10th to 23rd in the F/+ rankings. Suddenly, remaining games like LSU at Florida, Alabama at LSU, and particularly Ole Miss at LSU, all shifted in favor of the teams not located in Baton Rouge. Because of this -- and because of the fact that Mississippi State has already beaten LSU and therefore did not get an extra Bayou bump -- Ole Miss has now edged into the lead in the West.

The columns on the far right of the table below indicate a team's new win probability (for now ignoring any inevitable changes in ratings) following a conference win or a loss on Saturday. South Carolina is on a much-needed bye, while Kentucky (ULM), Tennessee (Chattanooga), and Vanderbilt (Charleston Southern) all play out of conference.

East F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 7 win With Week 7 loss
Missouri (1-0, 4-1) 33 5.20 5.17 (+0.03) 5.78 4.78
Georgia (2-1, 4-1) 21 4.84 4.66 (+0.18) 5.27 4.27
Florida (2-1, 3-1) 50 4.24 3.86 (+0.38) 4.87 3.87
South Carolina (2-3, 3-3) 32 3.43 4.12 (-0.68)

Kentucky (2-1, 4-1) 60 3.00 2.22 (+0.78)

Tennessee (0-2, 2-3) 48 2.57 3.11 (-0.55)

Vanderbilt (0-4, 1-5) 98 0.47 0.74 (-0.27)

West F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 7 win With Week 7 loss
Ole Miss (2-0, 5-0) 1 6.46 5.23 (+1.23) 6.77 5.77
Mississippi State (2-0, 5-0) 2 6.16 5.54 (+0.61) 6.48 5.48
Auburn (2-0, 5-0) 5 5.34 4.73 (+0.61) 6.00 5.00
Alabama (1-1, 4-1) 4 5.27 5.38 (-0.11) 5.54 4.54
Texas A&M (2-1, 5-1) 16 4.18 4.88 (-0.70) 4.87 3.87
LSU (0-2, 4-2) 23 2.72 4.08 (-1.37) 3.10 2.10
Arkansas (0-2, 3-2) 30 2.14 2.27 (-0.13) 2.87 1.87

I've been looking at these projections and breaking teams into three categories: teams within about 0.75 wins of the lead are considered serious division contenders, teams within 1.5 wins are minor contenders, and other teams are bystanders. Through that lens, we can look at the state of the SEC race like this:

Serious contenders: Missouri, Georgia
Minor contenders: Florida

"The East is wide open this year!" We heard that all Saturday, especially in the Florida-Tennessee and Kentucky-South Carolina games, but it's not particularly true, at least not yet. One never knows what chaos may await in the coming weeks, but the winner of the Georgia-Missouri game will very much have the odds in their favor moving forward, especially if Florida falls to LSU. At 2-1, Kentucky could still have a role to play in the race, but as we'll see below, Kentucky has a below-30% chance of winning each remaining conference game on the schedule. And while Tennessee has certainly proven salty at times, the Vols are 0-2 and would likely need to finish 5-1 to have a shot. With trips to Ole Miss and South Carolina on the schedule, along with visits from Alabama and Missouri, that's in no way likely.

So yeah, it's probably Missouri or Georgia.

Mizzou is now a slight underdog via both F/+ (45% chance of winning) and Vegas (+3); if the Tigers pull off a win, they'll be two clear of Georgia in the loss column, and they might be two clear of Florida as well. Their likely record would jump to about 6-2, which would be a very difficult bar for anybody else to clear. Meanwhile, if Georgia wins in Columbia West, the Dawgs would become the most likely winner, but with a win projection closer to 5-3 thanks to remaining trips to Arkansas and Kentucky and a visit from Auburn.

So if you're a fan of any school in the East not named Missouri, you'll probably want Georgia to win on Saturday. If Mizzou wins, the Tigers are relatively significant division favorites. If the Dawgs win, they're favorites, but not with the same magnitude.

Serious contenders: Ole Miss, Mississippi State
Minor contenders: Auburn, Alabama

It's funny calling undefeated, top-5 Auburn a "minor contender" in the West, but the Tigers still have by far the worst remaining schedule. They play on the road against each of the West's three other contenders. They're given a 34% chance of winning at Mississippi State, a 32% chance of winning at Ole Miss, and a 37% chance of winning at Alabama. Toss in a non-gimme at Georgia (68%), and it's still a lot to ask the Tigers to finish 7-1 or so.

Meanwhile, for the second straight week, the Mississippi schools face enormous games. The primary attention shifts from Oxford to Starkville as MSU hosts Auburn with a 66% chance of winning. (That might seem high, but MSU has lived up to its statistical billing so far, right?) Ole Miss heads out of town to face Texas A&M, with about a 69 percent chance of coming home with a win. With the LSU game looking much easier, Ole Miss' projected win total could shift very much toward 7-1 if the Rebels can survive both the Aggies and a potential Hangover Game experience. But if they lose, then the Auburn-MSU winner becomes the new favorite. If you're a fan of a non-Mississippi West school, root for Auburn and A&M. But you probably didn't need me to tell you that.

Sure bets

Here are the remaining in-conference win probabilities, broken into ranges.

Team / Range 10-19%
Alabama (1-1)

2 3 1
Arkansas (0-2) 1 2 1

Auburn (2-0)


1 1 1
Florida (2-1)
1 1 2

Georgia (2-1)

1 1 1
Kentucky (2-1) 2 3

LSU (0-2)
2 1 1
Mississippi State (2-0)

1 1
Missouri (1-0)
1 2 1
Ole Miss (2-0)

3 2 1
South Carolina (2-3) 1

Tennessee (0-2) 2
1 1

1 1
Texas A&M (2-1)
2 1

1 1
Vanderbilt (0-4) 4

With trips to both Oxford and Tuscaloosa, MSU is looking at two more-likely-than-not losses despite an incredibly high level of play. So it is probably imperative for the Bulldogs to hold on this weekend against Auburn. Meanwhile, Ole Miss is favored to win all six remaining games and is a pretty heavy favorite in three of six. Alabama is also favored across the board now (again, thanks to LSU), with four of six games at 70% or higher. But the Tide obviously have to wait to see if the Rebels falter first.

Slog Level Delta

Here are the odds of a division champion finishing with a particular record:

Record West Winner East Winner
4-4 0.0% 2.2%
5-3 0.1% 31.2%
6-2 15.1% 47.1%
7-1 59.8% 17.7%
8-0 25.0% 1.9%

So yeah, not only is the East inferior (with six of seven teams ranking below West No. 7 Arkansas), but there's a very good chance that an 8-0 or 7-1 West champion will face a 5-3 East champion. Again, that becomes more likely with a Georgia win over Missouri.

Odds of SEC conference records

All Projections

Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
7 11-Oct-14 Alabama Arkansas 74.2%
7 11-Oct-14 Auburn Mississippi State 33.8%
7 11-Oct-14 Georgia Missouri 55.9%
7 11-Oct-14 LSU Florida 62.6%
7 11-Oct-14 Ole Miss Texas A&M 69.3%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
8 18-Oct-14 Georgia Arkansas 43.8%
8 18-Oct-14 Kentucky LSU 17.1%
8 18-Oct-14 Missouri Florida 57.8%
8 18-Oct-14 Tennessee Ole Miss 8.5%
8 18-Oct-14 Texas A&M Alabama 22.4%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
9 25-Oct-14 Alabama Tennessee 80.5%
9 25-Oct-14 Mississippi State Kentucky 89.3%
9 25-Oct-14 Ole Miss LSU 74.7%
9 25-Oct-14 South Carolina Auburn 14.9%
9 25-Oct-14 Vanderbilt Missouri 6.8%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
10 01-Nov-14 Arkansas Mississippi State 13.5%
10 01-Nov-14 Auburn Ole Miss 32.3%
10 01-Nov-14 Florida Georgia 22.1%
10 01-Nov-14 Kentucky Missouri 20.4%
10 01-Nov-14 Tennessee South Carolina 29.7%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
11 08-Nov-14 Alabama LSU 70.8%
11 08-Nov-14 Florida Vanderbilt 80.1%
11 08-Nov-14 Georgia Kentucky 74.2%
11 08-Nov-14 Texas A&M Auburn 22.5%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
12 15-Nov-14 Auburn Georgia 68.2%
12 15-Nov-14 Kentucky Tennessee 26.2%
12 15-Nov-14 LSU Arkansas 40.8%
12 15-Nov-14 Mississippi State Alabama 39.8%
12 15-Nov-14 Missouri Texas A&M 26.7%
12 15-Nov-14 South Carolina Florida 57.9%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
13 22-Nov-14 Missouri Tennessee 56.0%
13 22-Nov-14 Ole Miss Arkansas 77.8%
13 22-Nov-14 Vanderbilt Mississippi State 1.4%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
14 27-Nov-14 LSU Texas A&M 30.8%
14 28-Nov-14 Arkansas Missouri 37.4%
14 29-Nov-14 Auburn Alabama 36.7%
14 29-Nov-14 Mississippi State Ole Miss 35.2%
14 29-Nov-14 Tennessee Vanderbilt 81.3%