Monday, November 1, 2010
SEC Power Rankings: Week 10
By Chris Low
The state of Alabama can again be proud. Auburn and Alabama occupy the top two spots in the SEC Power Rankings as the calendar flips to November.
Here’s a look at this week’s entire SEC Power Rankings:
1. Auburn: The Tigers (9-0, 6-0 SEC) surpassed 500 yards in total offense for the fifth time this season in Saturday's 51-31 win over Ole Miss. The defense gave up a few too many big plays, but Auburn makes so many big plays itself that it doesn’t really matter. Onterio McCalebb had a long touchdown run for the second week in a row, and Cam Newton caught a touchdown pass. Auburn dropped to No. 2 this week in the BCS standings, but still controls its own destiny in the national title chase.
2. Alabama: The off week came at a good time for Alabama. The Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1) go into Baton Rouge to face LSU this week rested, and giving Nick Saban extra time to prepare is never a good thing for the other team. Alabama was No. 6 this week in the BCS standings, but has a tough road ahead. The LSU game will be the first of three games remaining against nationally ranked SEC foes.
3. LSU: Here’s LSU’s chance to get back in it and make this a special season. A win over Alabama would keep the Tigers (7-1, 4-1) alive in the Western Division race, although those hopes would be faint. More realistically, LSU would keep its chances alive of landing an at-large berth in a BCS bowl. The Tigers are also coming off a bye week. To make a run this final month, they’re going to need more out of their passing game. But, then, that’s been the case all season.
4. South Carolina: The Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2) looked vulnerable at times last week in their 38-24 win against Tennessee and have serious issues right now when it comes to defending the pass. After saying the week before that the offensive play calling would be a "community" effort, Steve Spurrier said he called most of the plays against the Vols. Who knows what that’s all about? The bottom line is that South Carolina can clinch the Eastern Division championship with a win at Florida in two weeks. First, though, the Gamecocks have to deal with Arkansas this Saturday.
5. Arkansas: The Hogs (6-2, 3-2) rebounded from a sluggish start to trounce Vanderbilt 49-14 this past week, but it might have come at a price. Star receiver Greg Childs went down with an injury in the fourth quarter. The Arkansas radio broadcast said it was a knee injury. The Hogs were already missing Joe Adams, who didn’t play because of an ankle injury. The South Carolina game is an important one for the Hogs in terms of the bowl pecking order.
6. Mississippi State: Outside of Auburn, the hottest team in the league remains Mississippi State, which extended its winning streak to six games with a 24-17 win over Kentucky. The Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) have shown a penchant for coming through in the clutch and did again Saturday when Johnthan Banks intercepted a pass at the goal line to seal the win. Mississippi State will be off this weekend before traveling to Alabama on Nov. 13.
7. Florida: The Gators (5-3, 3-3) awakened from their offensive slumber with Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps both putting a charge into the offense with big plays, and they edged Georgia 34-31 in overtime. It was Florida’s 18th win over Georgia in the past 21 meetings, and more importantly, keeps the Gators right in the middle of the Eastern Division race. They play at Vanderbilt this week and can win their third straight East crown by taking down South Carolina at home on Nov. 13.
8. Georgia: Just when you thought the Bulldogs might be making a move, they do what they always do -- lose to Florida. Give Georgia and redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray credit for battling back in the second half after falling behind 21-7, but there’s a mental block about this game that Georgia simply can’t seem to overcome. The Bulldogs (4-5, 3-4) still have considerable work to do if they’re going to finish with a winning season.
9. Kentucky: Nobody in the league has lost more close games this season than Kentucky. The Wildcats (4-5, 1-5) lost another one Saturday when Mississippi State held on for a 24-17 win in Starkville. Three of Kentucky’s losses this season have been by a touchdown or less. With Charleston Southern coming up this weekend, Kentucky will need to split with Vanderbilt and Tennessee those final two weeks to extend its bowl streak to five years.
10. Ole Miss: Injuries have taken a toll on the Rebels (3-5, 1-4). They’re a glimmer of what most people thought they would be defensively this season and could be without their two leading tacklers this coming week against Louisiana-Lafayette. Safety Damien Jackson was already suffering from a knee injury prior to the 51-31 loss to Auburn, and linebacker Jonathan Cornell left the game with an ankle injury. It’s been that kind of season for the Rebels, who’ve now lost three in a row.
11. Tennessee: For the first time since John Majors returned to Tennessee as coach in 1977, the Vols are 0-5 in the SEC. They had their chances against South Carolina, but were again hurt by a bad third quarter and lost 38-24 to the Gamecocks. The Vols (2-6, 0-5) were 0-for-October. If they’re going to make a bowl game, they will have to go unbeaten in November. That stretch starts at Memphis on Saturday. It looks like true freshman Tyler Bray will take over the quarterback duties.
12. Vanderbilt: The last three games have been a nightmare for Vanderbilt, which was thrashed 49-14 at Arkansas on Saturday and has now lost its past three games by a combined 113-21 margin. The Commodores (2-6, 1-4) scored touchdowns on their first two series with Des Kitchings taking over the play-calling duties. But from there, Arkansas and Ryan Mallett scored 43 unanswered points and absolutely carved apart the Commodores’ secondary.