Last week: 1 (beat Kentucky 35-7). This week: vs. #17 Florida
2. Alabama (5-0, 2-0): Crimson Tide is on a serious roll right now with its two biggest wins of the season. That's not a good sign for Vanderbilt, no matter how much the Commodores have improved.
Last week: 2 (beat #12 Florida 38-10). This week: vs. Vanderbilt
3.Arkansas (4-1, 0-1): The Razorbacks' season was starting to unravel a bit when they fell behind Texas A&M last week and looked dead in the water. Lazarus would be proud the way the Hogs rallied, though, and now they take aim at exacting some revenge against Auburn.
Last week: 5 (beat #14 Texas A&M 42-38). This week: vs. #15 Auburn
4. Auburn (4-1, 2-0): These Tigers just keep hanging around, notching an unexpected victory now and again to stay in the West Division hunt. It might take AU's best effort yet at Razorbacks Stadium to continue that trend.
Last week: 7 (beat #10 South Carolina 16-13). This week: at #10 Arkansas
Last week: 4 (lost to Auburn 16-13) . This week: vs. Kentucky
6. Florida (4-1, 2-1): Losing to Alabama was bad enough. Losing in lopsided fashion is a blow to the young Gators' psyche. Losing a starting quarterback, well, that's just salt in the wound. Not to mention a trip to Baton Rouge.
Last week: 3 (Lost to #3 Alabama 38-10). This week: at #1 LSU
7. Georgia (3-2, 2-1): Bulldogs aren't doing anything spectacular – just winning consistently again. Two more winnable East Division games are up next to give UGa a chance to head into Florida week with a legit chance to take control of the division.
Last week: 6 (beat Mississippi State 24-10). This week: at Tennessee
8. Tennessee (3-1, 0-1): The Volunteers are looking awfully sharp offensively through four weeks, with QB Tyler Bray churning out 332 passing yards a game. The defense will be tested again this week and next, though, and that could trouble for UT.
Last week: 10 (beat Buffalo 41-10) . This week: vs. Georgia
9. Mississippi State (2-3, 0-3): Unlike Georgia, State suddenly can't find a way to win after a promising 2-0 start. The Bulldogs have time to salvage something from their season and can't afford any kind of stumble in Birmingham this week.
Last week: 8 (lost to Georgia 24-10). This week: at UAB
10. Vanderbilt (3-1, 1-1): The Commodores were a nice little story for three weeks and then they ran into South Carolina's defense. That was South Carolina's defense. Now Vandy has to figure out how to chip away at a whole different animal with a road game at Alabama.
Last week: 9 (IDLE). This week: at #3 Alabama
11. Ole Miss (2-3, 0-2): For now, thanks to a pretty impressive road win at Fresno State, the Rebels have quieted the hounds calling for Houston Nutt's job. They'd better enjoy it for now, though. After this bye week, Ole Miss draws Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn in order.
Last week: 12 (beat Fresno State 38-28). This week: IDLE
12. Kentucky (2-3, 0-2): The Wildcats were no match for LSU on a day when the Tigers played their least impressive game of the season. Very little offensive punch and a defense that seemed lost at times are ingredients for a long few weeks in Lexington before basketball practice begins.
Last week: 11 (lost to #1 LSU 35-7). This week: at #17 South Carolina
This week's schedule
Florida at LSU, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Vanderbilt at Alabama, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Auburn at Arkansas, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Georgia at Tennessee, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Kentucky at South Carolina, 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
Mississippi State at UAB, 11 a.m. (SportSouth)
Game of the week
Florida at LSU: This latest rendition of what has become one of the best rivalry games in the SEC lost some luster when the Gators lost starting quarterback John Brantley to an ankle injury, but there still figures to be plenty of intensity and drama when two of the league's best defenses tangle at Tiger Stadium. Both have had aberration games – Florida's last week when it allowed Alabama's Trent Richardson to run wild and LSU's when West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith peppered the tigers for 463 passing yards. Still, running the ball will be a challenge for both teams, which thrusts the quarterbacks into prominent roles. That advantage goes to LSU with a pair of seniors under center, while the Gators are likely to lean on a pair of true freshmen. Containing Florida's speedy tandem of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey is key for the Tigers' defense because if those two are bottled up and Jeff Driskel or Jacoby Brissette has to throw the ball a bunch, the Tigers' secondary could make life miserable. Incentive is hard to gauge in this game because there ought to be plenty for both teams. LSU comes in ranked No. 1 and is on a collision course with No. 2 Alabama in early November, with three tough tests before then – starting with the Gators. Florida, on the other hand, is tied for the East Division lead and still has head-to-head meetings with South Carolina and Georgia coming up. Also, there are quite a few Gators back who should remember the gut-wrenching loss to the Tigers last season when a fourth-quarter fake field goal run kept a game-winning drive alive. Will Muschamp returns to Tiger Stadium on the opposite sideline to add more lagniappe.
Around the SEC
After Auburn thumped Arkansas 65-43 last season, the Tigers and Razorbacks have split the last 10 meetings. … AU has won three of the last four games in Fayetteville. … Auburn RB Michael Dyer matched a school record with 41 rushing attempts last week and was more than 74 of 108 FBS teams that played last week. … This is the Tigers' second game of a four-game stretch against ranked foes, three of those on the road. AU is 9-2 against ranked teams under third-year coach Gene Chizik. Six of Auburn's last eight victories have come against teams ranked or currently ranked. … The Tigers have forced seven turnovers in the last two games. … The 18-point halftime deficit Arkansas overcame last week was the largest comeback under fourth-year coach Bobby Petrino. Offense ignited the rally as the Hogs rolled up 297 second-half yards on the way to 25 points. … Those big numbers in the second half led to a school-record 510 passing yards. … Arkansas has outscored opponents 43-10 in the fourth quarter this season. … The Razorbacks have scored six touchdowns of more than 50 yards in 2011, at least one in all four victories. … Tennessee holds a 21-17-edge in the all-time series with Georgia but has lost seven of the last 11 meetings. … The Bulldogs have lost their last three road trips to Knoxville. … A win this week would give Tennessee a six-game winning streak at Neyland Stadium for the first time since the Vols won eight in a row from 2006-07. … UT quarterback Tyler Bray has logged 10 games in a row with two or more passing TDs to break Manning's school record. Bray has also thrown for 300-plus yards in six of his nine starts, and his 32 career TD tosses are already tied for seventh in Tennessee program history. … Alabama has won 34 of the last 35 games against Vanderbilt (on the field) and 15 of 16 in Tuscaloosa all-time. … Courtney Upshaw's 45-yard interception return last week against Florida was Alabama's third non-offensive touchdown this season and 23rd in Coach Nick Saban's five-year tenure. … Tide RB Trent Richardson set a single-game best with 181 rushing yards on a career-high 29 carries.
NOTE: Here's how 12 writers from around the SEC, including me, voted in a league-wide power poll.
1. (tie) LSU (6) 138 and Alabama (6) 138, 3. Arkansas 120, 4. Auburn 95 and Florida 95, 6. South Carolina 89, 7. Georgia 81, 8. Tennessee 59, 9. Mississippi State 48, 10. Vanderbilt 37, 11. Ole Miss 23, Kentucky 13