SEC ratings, Week 2

Every Dawg has his day, and the Georgia Bulldogs apparently had theirs on Sept. 3. After blowing out No. 18 Boise State 48-13 on the opening weekend of SEC football, Mark Richt's boys returned to Earth in Week 2, struggling to nip South Carolina 17-15.

As a result, Georgia's Week 1 rating of 9.5 has taken a hit. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt's stunning upset of homestanding Arkansas has the Commodores' stock on the rise.

That said, here are this week's SEC ratings on the usual 1-10 scale:

1. LSU (9.0): The Tigers returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and a blocked field goal for a touchdown in their 35-31 win at Arizona State. They also got 109 rushing yards from Joseph Addai and a solid performance from QB JaMarcus Russell.

2. FLORIDA (8.5): After whipping up on Wyoming and Louisiana Tech (41-3) in Weeks 1 and 2, the Gators still haven't been tested. Chris Leak is fitting well into Urban Meyer's offense, though. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 219 yards and a TD against Tech, tacking on 16 yards and two more TDs rushing.

3. TENNESSEE (8.0): Embarrassed by their poor showing against Alabama-Birmingham in Game 1, the Vols have been working hard to smooth their rough edges. Have they succeeded? We'll find out for sure Saturday night in Gainesville

4. GEORGIA (8.0): Thomas Brown rushed 20 times for 144 yards but the Dawgs were lucky to beat South Carolina 17-15. The Gamecocks were a two-point conversion away from tying the score with 6:52 to play.

5. AUBURN (7.0): The Tigers bounced back from their opening loss to Georgia Tech by blasting Mississippi State 28-0. Brandon Cox passed for 202 yards but the big story was an Auburn defense that limited MSU's Jerious Norwood to 39 rushing yards.

6. SOUTH CAROLINA (7.0): The Gamecocks looked more like turkeys in their lackluster Game 1 defeat of hapless Central Florida but they showed plenty of fight in their 17-15 loss at Georgia. The Cocks managed just 43 rushing yards, however, so Blake Mitchell (22 of 34 for 236 yards) must continue to carry the offense.

7. ALABAMA (6.5): The Tide managed just 10 first-half rushing yards in its 30-21 defeat of Southern Miss. Quarterback Brodie Croyle saved the day by hitting 21 of 37 passes for 330 yards, enabling Bama to come from behind and avoid an embarrassing defeat.

8. OLE MISS (6.5): The Rebels enjoyed an open date following their 10-6 Game 1 triumph at Memphis. Basically, this is still a mystery team but the defense looks awfully good.

9. VANDERBILT (6.0): Commodore QB Jay Cutler just might be the SEC's best offensive player. Despite a weak supporting cast, he completed 23 of 45 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns as Vandy upset Arkansas 28-24. Believe it or not, the ‘Dores are 2-0.

10. ARKANSAS (6.0): I'm assuming the Razorbacks were looking ahead to this Saturday's game with Southern Cal when they were ambushed by Vandy. Otherwise, their grade would be much lower. De'Arrius Howard had 139 rushing yards vs. the ‘Dores and ranks with the SEC's best backs.

11. MISSISSIPPI STATE (5.0): The Bulldogs were completely throttled by Auburn, which begs the question: Is Auburn's defense that good or is MSU's offense that weak?

12. KENTUCKY (4.0): The Wildcats trailed Div. 1-AA Idaho State 29-28 with 5:00 minutes left last Saturday in Lexington before rallying to win 41-29. The Big Blue was outgained 448 yards to 310 but won thanks to kickoff returns of 99 and 93 yards.


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