Tide takes top spot

Alabama is back. Hampered by NCAA-imposed scholarship limitations in recent years, the Tide struggled against the SEC's elite teams. The struggling ended Saturday in Tuscaloosa, when Bama hammered previously unbeaten Florida 31-3.

That rousing victory earns the Tide the top spot in this week's SEC Ratings. LSU and Auburn also posted impressive victories over the weekend that raised their stock.

The league is clearly split into "haves" and "have-nots" this season. The top six teams all carry ratings of 7.5 or higher while the bottom six all carry ratings of 5.0 or lower.

Here are this week's ratings:

1. Alabama (9.0): Brodie Croyle completed 15 of 18 passes for 286 yards as the Tide (5-0, 3-0) flattened Florida 31-3. Big-play receiver Tyrone Prothro had an 88-yard TD grab but broke his ankle late in the game.

2. Georgia (8.5): The Dawgs (4-0, 2-0) were idle. They visit Tennessee this weekend.

3. Auburn (8.0): The Tigers (4-1, 2-0) dominated South Carolina 48-7. Since stubbing their toe in Game 1 vs. Georgia Tech, they have not allowed a first-half point in their past four games.

4. Tennessee (8.0): Gerald Riggs (125 yards on 26 carries) and a salty defense proved too much for Ole Miss as the Vols (3-1, 2-1) prevailed 27-10.

5. LSU (7.5): The Tigers (2-1, 1-1) bounced back from their bitter loss to Tennessee to clobber Mississippi State 37-7. JaMarcus Russell completed 20 of 23 passes for 197 yards.

6. Florida (7.5): Chris Leak came up small in the big game, completing just 16 of 37 passes as the Gators (4-1, 2-1) suffered a 31-3 drubbing at the hands of Alabama.

7. South Carolina (5.0): With No. 1 QB Blake Mitchell sidelined, the Gamecocks (2-3, 0-3) managed just seven first downs in their 48-7 loss to Auburn. Steve Spurrier has lost three consecutive SEC games for the first time in his career.

8. Vanderbilt (5.0): The Commodores (4-1, 2-0) returned to Earth after a 4-0 start. They had a potential game-winning field goal blocked in the closing seconds of a 17-15 loss to previously winless Middle Tennessee.

9. Ole Miss (5.0): Michael Spurlock (18 of 35, 195 yards) and a good defense weren't enough as the Rebels (1-3, 0-2) suffered a 27-10 loss at Tennessee.

10. Arkansas (4.5): The Razorbacks (1-3, 0-2) were idle.

11. Miss. State (4.0): Star tailback Jerious Norwood carried seven times for just nine yards before suffering a second-quarter concussion as the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-2) fell 37-7 to LSU.

12. Kentucky (3.5): The Wildcats (1-3, 0-1) were idle.


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