Last week: 1 (beat #17 Florida 41-11). This week: at Tennessee
2. Alabama (6-0, 3-0): The Crimson Tide defense is getting better each week and now the offense is closing the gap with A.J. McCarron getting more and more comfortable. Ole Miss and Tennessee next week will be more tuneup chances before you-know-who comes to Tuscaloosa.
Last week: 2 (beat Vanderbilt 34-0). This week: at Ole Miss
3. Arkansas (5-1, 1-1): After three shaky halves of football against Alabama and Texas A&M, the Razorbacks have rediscovered their offensive groove and are sitting the background waiting to pounce up the West standings if LSU or Alabama stumbles.
Last week: 3 (beat #15 Auburn 38-14). This week: IDLE
4. South Carolina (5-1, 3-1): Well, now that the air is a little clearer in Columbia, this is Connor Shaw's team and the Gamecocks' offense has a chance to move forward. They head to Starkville a team with a new lease on this season.
Last week: 5 (beat Kentucky 54-3). This week: at Mississippi State
Last week: 7 (beat Tennessee 20-12). This week: at Vanderbilt
6. Auburn (4-2, 2-1): The Tigers aren't going to come anywhere close to the lofty heights they reached last season, but it's too early to completely write them off after two losses to teams currently in the Top 10.
Last week: 4 (lost to #10 Arkansas 38-14). This week: vs. Florida
7. Florida (4-2, 2-2): Gators' grind has been as tough as anybody in the country the last two weeks, although Tennessee gets the same treatment the next two weeks. For Florida to jump back on track one or both freshmen QBs needs to grow up in a hurry.
Last week: 6 (Lost to #1 LSU 41-11). This week: at #24 Auburn
8. Tennessee (3-2, 0-2): Just when the Volunteers were starting to look respectable (on offense anyway), they suffered a major blow when QB Tyler Bray's right thumb landed in the wrong place. No time for recovery with Nos. 1 and 2 next on the schedule.
Last week: 8 (lost to Georgia 20-12). This week: vs. #1 LSU
9. Mississippi State (3-3, 0-3): The Bulldogs snapped their three-game skid unimpressively last week and with some quarterback shuffling in the process. Hard to imagine State can turn its SEC fortunes around against a South Carolina team that can't afford any more stumbles.
Last week: 9 (beat UAB 21-3). This week: vs. #15 South Carolina
10. Vanderbilt (3-2, 1-2): Good things may lie ahead for the Commodores under James Franklin, but they crashed to earth last week against Alabama. How good Vandy could be this season may hinge on how they bounce back against a trickier than usual Army team this week.
Last week: 10 (lost to #2 Alabama 34-0) This week: vs. Army
11. Ole Miss (2-3, 0-2): The Rebels nabbed a road in Fresno before their bye week, but that's about the only good news they had to look forward to. There may be an SEC victory somewhere on the schedule this season for Ole Miss, but it won't be this week.
Last week: 11 (IDLE). This week: vs. #2 Alabama
12. Kentucky (2-4, 0-3): One season and six games into the Joker Phillips era, there is already a lot of grumbling about his future in Lexington. Being outscored 89-10 the last two weeks will do that.
Last week: 12 (lost to #18 South Carolina 54-3). This week: IDLE
This week's schedule
LSU at Tennessee, 2:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Mississippi State, 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
Alabama at Ole Miss, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Florida at Auburn, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Georgia at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m. (FSN)
Game of the week
Florida at Auburn: This is the second stop in the Will Muschamp reunion tour, sandwiched between LSU and Georgia. … Each of the last four games in the Auburn-Florida series have been decided in the final minute, with Auburn winning three of the four. Five of Auburn's last six wins in the series have been by three points. …Tigers tailback Michael Dyer has rushed for 100+ yards in all three SEC games this season. He has not faced a defense ranked in the top five in the league in rush defense, but that changes this week against the Gators. … Auburn is 25-8-1 against the Gators at home. The last time Florida won on the Plains was 1999 (32-14). … This is the third straight week the Gators facing a ranked opponent after losses to No. 2 Alabama (38-10) and No. 1 LSU (41-11).
Around the SEC
South Carolina is looking for a fifth consecutive true road victory for the first time in program history. The Gamecocks have won four games in a row against Mississippi State and lead the series 7-6. USC quarterback Connor Shaw was tabbed the SEC Offensive Player of the Week last week after he blistered Kentucky for 311 yards and four touchdowns in a 54-3 romp. In that win against the Wildcats, Carolina racked up 639 total yards and 32 first downs, notched six turnovers and limited UK to 4-of-26 passing for 17 yards in the most
NOTE: Here's how 12 writers from around the SEC, including me, voted in a league-wide power poll.
1. Alabama (7) 139, 2. LSU (5) 137, 3. Arkansas 120, 4. South Carolina 108, 5. Georgia 95, 6. Auburn 80, 7. Florida 77, 8. Tennessee 59, 9. Mississippi State 48, 10. Vanderbilt 37, 11. Ole Miss 24, 12. Kentucky 12