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Are Missouri Tigers New SEC East Favorite?

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With Missouri Tigers James Franklin out for at least several weeks, Maty Mauk (pictured) will start at quarterback for Missouri, but can he keep the Tigers on top in the SEC East? Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
With Missouri Tigers James Franklin out for at least several weeks, Maty Mauk (pictured) will start at quarterback for Missouri, but can he keep the Tigers on top in the SEC East? Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

The Missouri Tigers pulled a monumental upset over the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, but does that make them the new favorites in the SEC East?

With two SEC wins thus far, the Tigers still have games against Florida and South Carolina in the next two weeks, not to mention a game against Texas A&M to end the year.

The schedule is tough, but as the Tigers showed on Saturday, they are up to the challenge.

There are a few things to note, however:

Status Of Quarterback James Franklin

The biggest news coming from Saturday's win was that quarterback James Franklin is out for the rest of the regular season.

According to ESPN's Brett Murphy and Chris Low, Franklin separated his right shoulder during the fourth quarter and will miss the next six games:

"It's a huge loss. I'm saddened by it. I'm a James Franklin fan. It's a huge loss, especially the way that guy had been playing," Missouri senior receiver L'Damian Washington said.

"You can enjoy this win. But at the same time, you really can't because I know most of what I do is because of James Franklin. He's that good. I have faith in Maty Mauk. I know he's going to step up. He has to lead this team right now. He doesn't have a choice."

Franklin out is huge for the Tigers, considering he had thrown for 1,577 yards and 14 touchdowns this year. Even more, he's able to do things with his legs to help keep defenses off balance.

Mauk now will have to step up and give the Tigers a shot in the arm if they hope to make it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

Tough Schedule Ahead

As if playing Georgia wasn't tough enough, the Tigers have Florida and South Carolina the next two weeks, while Ole Miss and Texas A&M are on the schedule the final two weeks of the season.

It is by no means an easy road for the Tigers as Florida comes to town Saturday with a defense that is allowing 13 points a game. While the Gators are struggling on offense, the defense has given them every chance in the world.

Then there's South Carolina, which is 5-1 on the year. Its only loss (Georgia) was a shootout. Last week, the Gamecocks put up 52 points and are showing a high-powered offense. With an offense that is basically split down the middle in terms of passing and rushing, the Tigers won't be able to focus on one thing like they were able to do against the Bulldogs.

You can't count out Ole Miss, either, considering they almost pulled off an upset against Texas A&M last week.

The Tigers easily could lose twice in those four games.

Verdict

Despite the two SEC wins so far, the injury to Franklin is devastating to the offense. Nothing against Mauk, but he can't do the same things Franklin can.

The Tigers will get a win against Florida, but South Carolina and Texas A&M most certainly will take advantage of Franklin being out.

As long as Georgia beats Florida on Nov. 2, they still are the favorites to win the SEC East, especially considering Todd Gurley will be back for that game.