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SEC Updates: The East is all but clinched

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While the SEC West is still up for grabs by a handful of teams, the East race is all but over.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn't a lot of SEC action this weekend, but the games that did happen proved to be crucial for the respective division races. Only four conference games took place this Saturday, and two of them had division crown implications.

Before the results, here are your updated SEC standings through Week 9:

SEC East
Conference W/L
Overall W/L
Florida 5-1 7-1
Georgia 3-3 5-3
Tennessee 2-3 4-4
Kentucky 2-4 4-4
Vanderbilt 1-3 3-5
Missouri 14 4-4
South Carolina 1-5 3-5
SEC West
Conference W/L
Overall W/L
LSU 4-0 7-0
Ole Miss 4-1 7-2
Alabama 4-1 7-1
Texas A&M 3-2 6-2
Mississippi State 2-2 6-2
Arkansas 2-2 4-4
Auburn 1-4 4-4

No. 19 Ole Miss and Auburn kicked off the SEC action at noon, and it was a back-and-forth affair until the Rebels finally put it away in the fourth quarter, using timely defense to stifle the Tigers en route to a 27-19 victory. Quarterback Sean White was injured for Auburn, and the Tigers used various wildcat packages throughout the game to spell him. Regardless, White still threw for 258 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, but his counterpart for Ole Miss, Chad Kelly, outmatched him with 381 yards, two scores, and two picks. The win kept Ole Miss in control of their SEC West destiny, and it makes their match-up with LSU in three weeks even bigger.

In the East, No. 11 Florida and Georgia faced off in the annual "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party," but it was all Florida in this one. Georgia started a new quarterback in Faton Bauta, and he struggled from the start. Bauta completed just 15 of his 33 pass attempts for 154 yards, throwing four interceptions to a swarming Gators defense. Both teams had ugly starts, but once Florida recovered a fumbled Georgia punt in the end zone for the first score of the game, the Gators never looked back. Running back Kelvin Taylor and wide receiver Antonio Callaway made plenty of big plays for Florida, and the Gators remained undefeated in SEC East play with a decisive 27-3 win over the Bulldogs.The Gators haven't officially clinched the East just yet, but they should next week when they take on lowly Vanderbilt.

The other two SEC games didn't have as much on the line, but they were still entertaining. Texas A&M held off a resurgent South Carolina squad to earn their third SEC victory 35-28. Quarterback Kyler Murray earned his first start for the Aggies, and he lit up a mediocre Gamecocks defense. Murray threw for 223 yards and a score and ran for another 156 yards and a touchdown. The game was close throughout, but A&M put it out of reach with an 60-yard interception touchdown return by Donovan Wilson with 4:08 left in the game. South Carolina fell to 3-5 overall but looked to have some more kick in them.

The other conference game pitted Kentucky and Tennessee against each other, and after an exciting start, the Vols dominated. Kentucky scored first on a 77-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by defensive tackle Cory Johnson and held a 14-10 lead late in the second quarter. But then the Vols slammed the gas pedal to the floor, scoring 28 unanswered points thanks to huge plays on offense, defense, and special teams. The offense got the run started on a 75-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joshua Dobbs to wide receiver Josh Malone, then a 37-yard touchdown pass to running back Jalen Hurd in the third quarter made it 31-14. An interception by linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. returned to the 4 set up a Jalen Hurd rushing score, then the Vols scored on a 100-yard kickoff return by Evan Berry and an 84-yard punt return by Cam Sutton on back-to-back special teams possessions after Kentucky's lone second half score. The Vols triumphed 52-21 over the Wildcats, jumping up to third place in the East in the process.

Both non-conference games went as expected, as Arkansas handled UT-Martin 63-28 and Vanderbilt fell to No. 18 Houston 34-0. The shutout was the 7th time in 8 games that Vanderbilt has scored less than 17 points in a game, and it was the first time all season they have been held scoreless.

LSU, Alabama, and Ole Miss are all still in contention for the SEC West title, with LSU currently in the lead as the only undefeated team left in the conference. The Tigers and Crimson Tide will face off this upcoming weekend in what will be the biggest SEC match-up of the season so far, and Ole Miss will take on Arkansas in an effort to keep their title hopes in their hands. Florida has a stranglehold on the East, and unless they have a massive collapse down the stretch, should clinch the division against Vanderbilt next weekend.

Florida was supposed to be rebuilding this year. The Gators were supposed to be lucky to get 7 wins this season. But right now Florida has 7 wins through 8 games and look like serious title contenders. If the standings stay the way they are now, the SEC Championship game will be a rematch of the LSU-Florida game from a few weeks ago.