Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, throwing another wrench into an SEC East battle that’s become a grinding war of attrition.
Del Rio injured his shoulder during Florida’s 31-10 loss to Arkansas on Saturday and couldn’t lift his duffle bag, according to coach Jim McElwain. Purdue transfer Austin Appleby will take over at quarterback for the Gators as they head into a strangely pivotal game against South Carolina and former coach Will Muschamp.
Florida is 4-2 in SEC play but still has that makeup game against LSU looming. If Florida loses to South Carolina and LSU, and Kentucky beats Tennessee, Mark Stoops’ Wildcats would play in the SEC Championship game with a 5-3 conference record.
If Florida were to lose out, Kentucky and Tennessee (if it beats Kentucky, Mizzou and Vanderbilt) would be the only teams in the SEC East with a shot at winning five conference games.
South Carolina’s chances of winning the SEC East are slim, but not zero. Josh Kendall of TheState.com laid out the scenario here.
The way things have gone in the SEC East this year, it’s almost fair to expect something weird and improbable to happen. Maybe that means South Carolina or Kentucky wind up playing Alabama in the SEC Championship. Or maybe it’s more mundane than that and Florida beats South Carolina, earning its second consecutive trip to Atlanta. But this is one of those chaotically-intriguing conference races that features far more intrigue than good football.