GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Not yet, South Carolina.
Supremacy in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference again belongs to fourth-ranked Florida, which got three touchdown passes from Jesse Palmer in a 28-point second quarter and defeated the 25th-ranked Gamecocks, 41-21.
The Gators (9-1, 7-1 SEC East), who scored the game's final 38 points, clinched the division title and their seventh SEC championship game appearance in the nine-year history of the event.
"We look forward to (the title game). We look forward to playing our best there," coach Steve Spurrier said. "I'm proud of our guys winning the East."
South Carolina (7-3, 5-3 East), which has enjoyed a rebirth this season under Lou Holtz, could have secured its first-ever berth in the title game with a win.
Instead, Spurrier notched his 11th straight season of at least nine wins and tied Bear Bryant of Alabama for the longest run in SEC history. Florida overcame an 18-point deficit, the largest in the Spurrier era.
The Gators, who play second-ranked Florida State next week, also stayed alive in the national title chase.
Florida defeated the Gamecocks for the 10th straight time to take a 15-3-3 lead in the series. The last win for South Carolina came in 1939.
Palmer, a senior playing in his final game at Florida Field, relieved an ineffective Rex Grossman and connected on TD passes of six yards to Reche Caldwell, 70 yards to Jabar Gaffney and six yards to lineman Thomas Moody. Palmer completed 15-of-27 passes for 250 yards and was not intercepted.
"There's a lot of emotion with this being the last home game," Palmer said. "It felt eerie coming to the stadium for the last time."
Spurrier indicated there is a "good chance" Palmer will start next week in place of Grossman, completed 12-of-19 passes for 106 yards.
The Gamecocks were outgained 508-247 and will try to regroup before playing Clemson next week.
"We weren't good enought fundamentally. They were just too strong for us," Holtz said. "Defensively we played like we were in the glare of the headlights. Offensively, they just dominated us up front."
The upstart Gamecocks jumped to a surprising 21-3 lead after one quarter, with two of the touchdowns coming on returns of blocked punts.
Andrew Pinnock scored on a one-yard run to make it 7-3. Carlos Spikes then returned a block 14 yards and Derek Watson later took a deflection in from two yards.
"It's discouraging anytime you get two freebies on special teams," South Carolina quarterback Phil Petty said. "You think things will keep going your way."
Punter Alan Rhine was not flustered by the events. On the next possession, he rushed 26 yards for a first down out of punt formation, leading to the TD pass to Caldwell that made it 21-10.
Freshman Gaffney caught a slant pass from Palmer and raced to the end zone to cut the lead to 21-17. Gaffney caught seven passes for 168 yards, his sixth straight game with 100 yards or more.
Spurrier, never afraid to try something new, lined up Moody as an eligible receiver, and the guard caught a short TD pass to put the Gators in front, 24-21.
Lito Sheppard capped the second-quarter outburst with a 57-yard TD for a score with two seconds left in the half.
Earnest Graham scored on a six-yard run 2:08 into the third quarter and Jeff Chandler capped the scoring with a 29-yard field goal with 1:17 left in the quarter.
The Gamecocks had a chance to get back into the game in the fourth quarter but had two drives stopped near the goal line.
Derek Watson was stopped on a 4th-and-1 with 10:24 left. With five minutes left, Petty was stopped short on a sneak at the 1.
Petty completed 19-of-28 passes for 166 yards.