|Michael Ford and LSU still sit in the top spot|
1. LSU (8-0, 5-0): Tigers are so deep, now they're dipping into the freshman class and grabbing fifth-year special teams specialists to dominate games. LSU will need all hands on deck in 10 days.
Last week: 1 (beat Auburn 45-10). This week: IDLE
2. Alabama (8-0, 5-0): Crimson Tide has looked bored in the first half a few games lately but has removed all doubt in the second half. Betting the coach has his crew ready from the get-go against LSU, though.
Last week: 2 (beat Tennessee 37-6). This week: IDLE
3. Arkansas (6-1, 1-1): For the first time in a while, the Razorbacks got a serious test and they managed to pass it with some timely defense of all things. That might've come at a perfect time with a tricky two-step at hand against Vandy and South Carolina.
Last week: 3 (beat Ole Miss 29-24). This week: vs. Vanderbilt
4. South Carolina (6-1, 4-1): The Gamecocks have faded out of attention a bit since their loss to Auburn, but they still occupy the driver's seat in the SEC East . Getting some mojo back on the road at Tennessee would be a nice launching point for a three-game stretch that includes Arkansas and Florida.
Last week: 4 (IDLE). This week: at Tennessee
5. Georgia (5-2, 4-1): If USC is in the driver's seat, the Bulldogs certainly have a set of spare keys in hand. Five wins in a row have Georgia tied with the Gamecocks, but they need to keep winning and get help. Cocktail anyone?
Last week: 5 (IDLE). This week: vs. Florida
6. Auburn (5-3, 3-2): After the top five in the league, there's not a lot of meat on the bone in the league this season and that leaves Auburn as the best of a not-so-great group. The Tigers own two of the more impressive wins among the bottom half, but have also been manhandled by LSU and Arkansas.
Last week: 6 (lost to #1 LSU 45-10). This week: vs. Ole Miss
7. Florida (4-3, 2-3): The Gators have had a week off to regroup and may get John Brantley back for the Georgia game. Will that be enough to salvage something from a rugged October, though? If nothing else, Florida can be a major spoiler in the East.
Last week: 7 (IDLE). This week: vs. #22 Georgia
8. Mississippi State (3-4, 0-4): Clearly wins aren't going to come easily for the Bulldogs in the SEC this season, so they'd better grab them whenever they can – including this week in Lexington.
Last week: 8 (IDLE). This week: at Kentucky
9. Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-3): Feisty might be good enough for the Commodores most seasons, but you get the sense that's not enough this season. That said, this might not be the week for Vandy to get back on the SEC saddle.
Last week: 9 (beat Army 44-21) This week: vs. #8 Arkansas
10. Tennessee (3-4, 0-4): The Volunteers' intestinal fortitude has to brace for another jolt this week. After back-to-back 31-point losses, surely Tennessee can hold up better against South Carolina, right? Right?
Last week: 10 (lost to #2 Alabama 37-6). This week: vs. #14 South Carolina
11. Ole Miss (2-5, 0-4): Oh, how the Rebels could've turned things around with a few more plays last week against the Hogs last season. Didn't happen, though, but Ole Miss has a winnable road game this week at Auburn.
Last week: 11 (lost to #9 Arkansas 29-24). This week: at Auburn
12. Kentucky (3-4, 0-3): Wildcats looked really good last week … against a FCS opponent. Like their opponent this week, SEC wins aren't going to be easy to get but UK has four legit shots down the stretch , starting with the Bulldogs.
Last week: 12 (beat Jacksonville State 38-14). This week: vs. Mississippi State
This week's schedule
Arkansas at Vanderbilt, 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Ole Miss at Auburn, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Mississippi State at Kentucky, 6 p.m. (FSN)
South Carolina at Tennessee, 6:15 p.m. (ESPN 2)
Game of the week
Florida vs. Georgia in Jacksonville: The Gators have won 18 of the last 21 games against the Bulldogs but still trail the series 46-40-2. In Florida's 17-6 loss to Auburn, freshmen quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel passed for 45 and 75 yards, respectively. The Gators have outscored foes 54-3 in the first quarter and 96-20 in the first half of their four victories. In three losses, Florida has been outscored 3-10 in the first stanza and 55-19 in the opening half. Georgia has scored first in all seven games this season and has held five SEC foes to three points in the opening 15 minutes. Defense has triggered the Bulldogs' turnaround: They have given up only 63 points in their five-game winning streak. During that same stretch, UGa has recorded 13 sacks, four vs. league opponents.
Around the SEC
Kentucky rolled up a season-best 445 yards last week against Jacksonville State, 340 yards on the ground. The Wildcats lead the series with Mississippi State 21-17 but have lost the last two games. UK linebackers Winston Guy and Danny Trevathan top the SEC in tackles with 79 and 77 stops, respectively. The Bulldogs have picked off 11 passes. Five of the last six games between Kentucky and State have been decided by seven points or fewer. … Auburn has won eight of the last 10 games against Ole Miss and are 12-2 vs. the Rebels at Jordan-Hare Stadium. All of AU's losses this season have come to top-10 teams. The Tigers have held Ole Miss to 200 passing yards or less in the last six meetings. … Tennessee has dominated the series with South Carolina 22-5-2 with 14 wins in 15 games in Knoxville. The Gamecocks snared a 38-24 triumph last season to give them a 3-3 record in the last six games with UT. Carolina has won its last five true road games, which is a program record. The Gamecocks' 24 turnovers forced is tied for second in the country and they have tightened up on defense, allowing only 55 points in the last five games to drop opponents' scoring average from 39.5 after two games to 19.1.
NOTE: Here's how 12 writers from around the SEC, including me, voted in a league-wide power poll.
1. (tie) LSU (6) and Alabama (6) 138, 3. Arkansas 120, 4. South Carolina 106, 5. Georgia 95, 6. Auburn 87, 7. Florida 71, 8. Tennessee 55, 9. Mississippi State 46, 10. Vanderbilt 44, 11. Ole Miss 24, 12. Kentucky 12