Southern Football rankings Week 6

Why even play the games in the ACC when NC State goes to the Gator over Virginia and Maryland, two teams that they lost to and when Clemson goes to the Tangerine Bowl over Virginia, a team that they lost to and a team that is a full two games in front of them in the standings? <p>The SEC's title will be decided, GASP!, on the field Saturday night as Georgia and Arkansas square off. Virginia Tech will be playing Miami Saturday at 1 pm, and the Canes are only one game away from the Fiesta Bowl.

23. Duke - worst team in the South. Last week: #22

22. North Carolina - 2nd worst team in the South. . Last week: #23

21. Vanderbilt - another lowly season for Vandy. Last week: #22

20. Mississippi State - No, State did not fire Jackie Sherrill after Ole Miss beat them. But he was forced to fire many of his coaches. If things don't turn around next season, Sherrill will be fired. Last week: #20

19. South Carolina - no bowl and a brutal 2003 schedule. Maybe Holtz should leave Columbia. Last week: #19

18. Georgia Tech - 51-7. Tech can't be ranked higher than any team with a winning record after the pasting Georgia put on them. Tech was outcoached, outplayed, and outclasses by their rivals from Athens. The loss was embarrassing. Last week: #13

17. Ole Miss - Eli Manning and the Rebels will be in a bowl this season, probably the Independence Bowl, but they need to win the SEC West at some point soon or they will be considered the SEC West's version of Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina, the only other teams yet to play in the SEC title game. Last week: #18

16. Wake Forest - still searching for a bowl, but might not get one. Last week: #17

15. Clemson -on the way to the Tangerine Bowl, but don't deserve it over Virginia. Last week: #16

14. Kentucky - Kentucky has gone from looking like an improved team to the same old "drop the ball in the big games" team that the SEC is accustomed to. Tennessee was beatable this season and the Cats looked like deer in headlights. Last week: #14

13. Virginia - Virginia's loss at Virginia Tech kicked them right out of the Tangerine Bowl, where they deserve to be playing. Instead, it looks like the Cavs will be playing in Charlotte, bummer. Last week: #10

12. Virginia Tech - win over Virginia bumps the Hokies up to 9 wins, but this season is still missing something. And that something could be found this weekend should they upset Miami. Last week: #15

11. North Carolina State - State is simply waiting on a Gator Bowl opponent. But they should waiting on a Peach Bowl opponent. Last week: #12

10. Tennessee - another win over Kentucky might make history look back on the Vols' season as a decent one, but it wasn't. Third place in the SEC East, losing to Georgia for the 3rd straight season, losing to Florida again, and finally losing to Alabama, Tennessee had no wins of note in the 2002 season. Last week: #11

9. LSU - the Tigers relaxed for just one minute and it cost them. They will likely end up in the Cotton Bowl, but Arkansas should really go there even if they lose to Georgia. Last week: #7

8. Florida - ouch. Florida may "own" Georgia, but there is little doubt that Florida State owns the Gators. Florida was beaten soundly and looked like a middle of the road team, not one that deserved to be ranked 11th in the country. Now, because of the Noles' thrashing, Florida winds up in the Outback Bowl. Worse than that, they now watch as either Miami or Georgia plays for the national title, not good. Last week: #3

7. Maryland - the Peach Bowl always wants a 10-win team, and this season, they got it. Maryland will likely play Tennessee in the Peach Bowl and might even be favored. A win over the Vols would be just one more notch in Maryland's belt. Last week: #9

6. Alabama - The Tide beat Hawaii, but struggled at the end of the game. Now, speculation runs rampant over if Dennis Franchione will stay as head coach. Last week: #5

5. Auburn - Auburn's win over Alabama appears to be enough to shoot them over Florida into the Citrus Bowl (should Georgia beat Arkansas). Last week: #4

4. Florida State - how in the world is FSU playing in the BCS? Florida State is not the team that should be in the Sugar or Orange Bowl, but they will be. If Arkansas upsets Georgia, the Sugar Bowl will be the lamest ever. Two teams with 7 combined losses should not be playing in one of the Big Four bowl games. Still, Florida State proved their mastery over Florida, pounding the Gators for the 4th time in 5 seasons. Last week: #8

3. Arkansas -. After a miracle finish, the Hogs will need to play a full 60 minutes to beat 10-point favorite Georgia this weekend in the Dome. A 9-3 season is spectacular for the often-unnoticed Arkansas program, but their 1st SEC title certainly would not go unnoticed. Last week: #6

2. Georgia - the SEC title game in on the horizon, and a possible spot in the national title game is only two games away; will Georgia get distracted this week the way that many suggested that they would last week against Georgia Tech? The Dawgs handed Tech a 51-7 woodshed beating. The game should have been ended after the 1st half due to the mercy rule. Georgia is already a 10-point favorite and SEC Championship tickets are the hardest to get in history. Needless to say, Georgia will have the dome field advantage Saturday. But the last time that they lost was on a neutral field… hum. Last week: #2

1.Miami - beat Virginia Tech and all of this talk of Georgia ends. The Canes should win this game, but have been sloppy at times at home. They have better players at almost every position, but will Tech be able to use special teams to its advantage? Last week: # 1

Dean Legge can be reached here: dean@dawgpost.com

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