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Monday, September 8, 2008
Georgia takes over top spot in SEC power rankings

Posted by's Chris Low

Don't look now, but Vanderbilt is the only team in the SEC unbeaten in league play after its 24-17 win over South Carolina last Thursday night. Auburn has found its quarterback. LSU has another potential hurricane to worry about, and Georgia's already scored more than 100 points in two weeks. Here are the latest power rankings after two weeks in the SEC. We have a new No. 1 this week:

1. Georgia -- The killer schedule starts to kick in this week when the Bulldogs hit the road for the first time against South Carolina. But they've been awfully impressive offensively. Knowshon Moreno is playing at another level, and the defense is one of the most underrated in the nation. Two games in, Georgia has been better than anybody else in the league and deserves to occupy the top spot.

2. Florida -- It looks like Tim Tebow is still pretty much Florida's running game, and that's not necessarily a bad thing as long as the Gators keep winning and he remains in one piece. The offense had its problems against Miami, but there are plenty of playmakers on this team and the defense is much improved.

3. LSU -- Once again, there's another storm potentially bearing down on the Louisiana coast. The Tigers postponed their game with Troy last week. You know it has to be difficult to concentrate solely on football with so much going on around you. But LSU coach Les Miles managed it nicely in 2005, and the Tigers still have the best front seven defensively in the league.

4. Auburn -- Now that we know Chris Todd is Auburn's quarterback, how much better can he get as the Tigers move into the SEC part of their schedule? He knows Tony Franklin's spread offense and has been around it since he was in the 10th grade. The next step for Todd is proving that his shoulder is well enough to hurt teams throwing the ball down the field.

5. Alabama -- Nick Saban warned everybody about lowering their guard, and that's exactly what Alabama did in slumbering to an unimpressive 20-6 victory over Tulane. Left offensive tackle Andre Smith didn't play in the game, and that certainly had an impact on Alabama not being able to control the line of scrimmage. It's a good thing special teams were solid, or the Tide could have been looking at another Louisiana-Monroe disaster.

6. Vanderbilt -- How about those Vanderbilt Commodores? I'm sure some of you are looking at their No. 6 ranking this week and saying, "What the ...?" Question it all you want. This is a solid football team with a senior quarterback, speed on defense and a coaching staff that has it going on. If the Commodores can stay healthy, they will be a tough out for everybody they play this season.

7. Kentucky -- The hard part with Kentucky is that the Wildcats really haven't played anybody. Barring a collapse, they're going to be 4-0 heading into the Alabama game on Oct. 4. The offense is still very much a work in progress, and freshman Randall Cobb may be the answer. But that defense is the real deal, having given up only three points in the first two games.

8. Ole Miss -- Even though the Rebels lost, I thought about putting them sixth or seventh this week. They remain shorthanded in their defensive line, but still went to Wake Forest and outplayed the nationally ranked Demon Deacons for much of that game before losing, 30-28, in the final seconds. You gotta love Jevan Snead, and he's got some playmakers around him. This could be one of those teams in late October that nobody wants to face.

9. Tennessee -- The Vols move up one spot this week despite being idle. That's because South Carolina looked so bad last week in losing to Vanderbilt. Tennessee still has the nucleus to be a good team this season, and Jonathan Crompton will be better at quarterback the more he plays. But it's like Phillip Fulmer said this week: The Vols will play six or seven teams the rest of the way that are better than UCLA.

10. South Carolina -- Did you ever think you'd see a Steve Spurrier team this average on offense? Really, saying the Gamecocks have been average might be generous, at least on offense. The quarterback job is back in the air. There's not a dynamic running back. Star receiver Kenny McKinley is hurt, and the offensive line has been shaky. At this rate, it will be a long year in Columbia.

11. Miss. State -- The Bulldogs bounced back with a convincing win over Southeastern Louisiana. But after losing to Louisiana Tech in the opener, they're not getting any love in this poll until they beat somebody that counts. They get their shot this weekend when Auburn rolls into Starkville. The Bulldogs are always going to be stout defensively, but you just can't win every week in the SEC 17-14 or 20-17.

12. Arkansas -- Say this for the Hogs: They make it exciting after coming back to win in the final minutes for the second straight week. The only problem with that was that the opponents were Louisiana-Monroe and Western Illinois, not exactly SEC competition. Bobby Petrino has 21 true and redshirt freshmen in the two-deep. It's going to take some time, but it could turn ugly starting with Texas this Saturday.

Last week's rankings -- 1. Florida, 2. Georgia, 3. LSU, 4. Alabama, 5. Auburn, 6. South Carolina, 7. Ole Miss, 8. Kentucky, 9. Vanderbilt, 10. Tennessee, 11. Miss. State, 12. Arkansas.