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Sunshine Stakes: Florida can clinch SEC East, Florida State can scuttle Duke's ACC dreams

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Florida has the biggest game of its season on Saturday. Florida State, meanwhile, plays Duke in maybe the biggest game of the modern era for the Blue Devils.


Florida vs. Georgia, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday (CBS)

What's at stake? Florida's third game in the CBS 3:30 window in four weeks is their biggest. The Gators are essentially playing an SEC Championship Game play-in game, as a win will give them a ticket to Atlanta and a loss gives Georgia full control of the division.

If Florida wins: The Gators move to 8-0, earn the earliest clinch of a division in the SEC's divisional era, turn around from 6-6 to the SEC East title in less than 12 months, and spark another round of columns about how great Will Muschamp really is. Oh, and Florida will all but surely be 11-0 when it heads to Tallahassee to take on Florida State: even a B- game from the Gators beats Missouri and the two cupcakes Florida plays in November before heading up 75 and taking 10 west.

If Florida loses: The Gators are left to hope Georgia loses to either Ole Miss or Auburn, which would let Florida sneak back to Atlanta through a back door. And the losses would be the first back-to-back losses to Georgia in the two rivals' annual series since 1988 and 1989.

Florida State vs. Duke, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday (ESPNU)

What's at stake? Florida State's still steaming toward the ACC title, but so is Duke: the Blue Devils lead the ACC's Coastal Division, which may say more about the division than the Dookies.

If Florida State wins: Seminoles fans rejoice that their team didn't find a way to lose to Duke, and the 'Noles will have given the last two leaders of the Coastal losses, making it more and more likely that the ACC Championship Game will be an FSU-N.C. State rematch.

If Florida State loses: Considering that it would be the Blue Devils' first win over Florida State in 18 tries, it might make some national newscasts. Florida State would also cede control of the Atlantic Division to Clemson. So a loss wouldn't be bad, it'd be bad.

UCF at Marshall, 8 p.m. ET Saturday (CBS Sports Network)

What's at stake? UCF can put a two-game gap on the rest of C-USA East with a victory, but loses control of its chances of making the conference championship game with a loss.

If UCF wins: The Knights would have an effective two-game edge on East Carolina and three-game leads on Memphis and Marshall in C-USA East, and would have a relatively gaudy 6-2 record that guarantees bowl eligibility.

If UCF loses: UCF falls to 5-3 on the season, Marshall controls its own destiny in C-USA East, and the Knights' chances of making it to the C-USA Championship Game rely on East Carolina dispatching Marshall in the Pirates' last regular season game.

USF vs. Syracuse, 7:00 p.m. ET Saturday (ESPN3)

What's at stake? As much as is at stake between a 3-4 team and a 2-5 team, I guess.

If USF wins: The Bulls keep reasonable hopes of a bowl-ready six-win season alive.

If USF loses: USF would need to run the table in its last four games, including ones at Miami (FL) and Cincinnati, to get to six wins.

Florida Atlantic vs. Troy, 5 p.m. ET Saturday

What's at stake? Troy can move to 5-3 with a victory.

If FAU wins: Incredibly, the Owls could still get to six wins on the season, though bowl eligibility likely doesn't mean much to a team this unappetizing.

When FAU loses: The Owls will be assured of a losing season.

Florida International at South Alabama, 6 p.m. ET Saturday

What's at stake? FIU wants its second win of the season; South Alabama wants its second win over an FBS team ... and can beat one from the state of Florida for the second straight week.

If FIU wins: The all-important "WE BEAT SOUTH ALABAMA AND YOU DIDN'T" line of argument is available to FIU fans who argue with FAU fans. (Do these people exist? Please advise.)

If FIU loses: South Alabama will have two wins over FBS teams in its first season of FBS competition, and both will be over horrific Sunshine State Sun Belt Stupid-Off participants.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.