The SEC West is all sorted out, with Alabama already grabbing a spot in the 2016 SEC Championship Game.
The East is another story, with Florida and Tennessee still in contention for the crown. Down in the standings a bit, several other schools are trying to line up bowl bids.
Let’s see how things line up in the Week 12 storylines for each school:
Build some momentum: With an upset win against Auburn in its pocket, and its SEC schedule in the rear-view mirror, Georgia is free to concentrate on picking up some steam — and improving its position — for the bowl season.
Louisiana Lafayette visits Sanford Stadium on Saturday (noon ET, SECN), and the Bulldogs are 23-point favorites.
No one on the coaching staff would admit it, but coordinator Mel Tucker and his defense might spend a little time getting ready for the Flexbone (Georgia Tech’s offense) this week.
Picking up the pieces: Once upon a time, the Aggies were standing toe-to-toe with Alabama and very much in the College Football Playoff discussion.
Last week, Texas A&M blew a 21-6 fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Ole Miss. Texas San Antonio visits Kyle Field this week (noon ET, ESPNU) and should provide Kevin Sumlin’s squad a chance to get back on the winning track.
Quarterback Jake Hubenak, in for the injured Trevor Knight (right shoulder), should be able to build some confidence against the Roadrunners, who are allowing more than 30 points per game.
Florida and LSU
Better late than never: Hurricane Matthew pushed this game back to this week (1 p.m. ET, SECN), and it couldn’t be much more meaningful for the Gators.
A Florida win clinches the East for the second consecutive season. A loss opens the door for Tennessee to claim the title with wins against Missouri and Vanderbilt.
LSU isn’t interested in any of that. The Tigers and interim coach Ed Orgeron just want to keep stacking up wins. The more games Orgeron wins between now and the end of the season, the better his odds are of getting the full-time job.
There’s no doubt the Tigers have been playing well under the new regime, and Orgeron wants the powers that be to keep his name in mind. Defeating Florida helps him achieve that.
Missouri and Tennessee
Eyes on the prize: As mentioned earlier, Tennessee needs to hope for a Florida loss at LSU. One wonders if the scoreboard operator at Neyland Stadium will keep track of that game when the Volunteers battle Missouri (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS).
Tennessee held off Kentucky in a track meet last week, and it will look for a little more from its defense this time.
The Tigers had a red-letter day the last time out, snapping a 5-game losing streak with a 26-17 triumph against Vanderbilt. The win seriously damaged Vanderbilt’s bowl hopes. Missouri would like to play the role of spoiler once again this week on Rocky Top.
A long December: Bowl games are the lifeblood of any rebuilding program. It means 15 extra practices for the team and a national platform for potential recruits.
For Will Muschamp’s freshman- and sophomore-laden squad, it’s more critical.
The Gamecocks can punch their ticket to a bowl game with a win at home against FCS foe Western Carolina (4 p.m. ET, SECN). It would be quite an achievement for a team picked by many pundits to finish last in the SEC East.
A long December, Part II: Like South Carolina, Kentucky has a chance to earn its sixth win. It is playing this week against an FCS opponent, Austin Peay (4:30 p.m. ET, SECN).
“We’re in no position to overlook anybody,” coach Mark Stoops said of the Governors. He has to say that, but because Austin Peay is 0-10, it might be OK for the Wildcats to start thinking about possible bowl destinations.
Kentucky would make its first bowl appearance since the 2010 BBVA Compass Bowl.
An eye on the Iron Bowl: At 10-0, the Crimson Tide are, well, rolling. Chattanooga (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2) will serve as little more than a speed bump on the way to the clash next week against Auburn.
For Nick Saban, it’s all about working to get better. To make his point, he channeled Morgan Freeman’s character from The Shawshank Redemption.
“You’re either busy living or you’re busy dying,” he said. “We’re either going to get better, or we’re going to get worse. We need everyone to work this week so we can improve as a team.”
Getting healthy: Sean White is nursing a sore right shoulder, and leading rusher Kamryn Pettway is dealing with a left leg injury. It will be a surprise if either plays much, or at all, against Alabama A&M (7:30 p.m., SECN).
The Iron Bowl is the focus for Auburn now. Getting those two players as close to 100 percent as possible is a priority.
Alabama A&M (4-6), which defeated Jackson State University 27-20 last week, is coming to Jordan-Hare for a nice check.
Arkansas and Mississippi State
Shake it off: Arkansas and Mississippi State had forgettable weekends, and both will look for a brighter day on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
The Razorbacks will be happy to not face a ranked team because that’s all they’ve seen since Oct. 1. Mississippi State certainly qualifies as a desperate one.
Sitting on 4 wins, the Bulldogs need to knock off Arkansas and then Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to reach 6 wins.
Ole Miss and Vanderbilt
Playing for the postseason: The Rebels, thanks to the heroics last week at Texas A&M, are 1 win short of bowl eligibility. Freshman quarterback Shea Patterson will lead Ole Miss into Nashville for a date with the equally motivated Commodores (8 p.m. ET, SECN).
Ole Miss has a little more working margin than Vanderbilt, which needs a win this week and against Tennessee next week to hit 6 wins.
Patterson flashed signs of his 5-star talent against the Aggies. The Vanderbilt defense, led by middle linebacker Zach Cunningham, will try to make things tough on him in his second career start.