SEC Ratings, Week 10

Coming off 10-win seasons in 2005, the University of Alabama and University of Georgia may qualify as the two biggest flops in all of college football this fall. Each appears headed for a 6-6 record in 2006.

The Crimson Tide has been the Crumbling Tide since suffering a 24-23 two-overtime loss at Arkansas on Sept. 23. In recent weeks Bama has lost 28-13 to Florida, 16-13 to Tennessee and 24-16 – on its home field, no less – to Mississippi State. Even with a 26-23 overtime defeat of Ole Miss figured in, the Tide stands 2-4 in SEC play. Bama figures to be 2-6 after facing LSU and Auburn the next two weekends. If it hadn't scheduled four non-conference cupcakes, the Tide would be looking at a losing record.

Georgia can trace its downfall to a 51-33 home-field loss to Tennessee on Oct. 7. Since then the Bulldogs have lost to Vanderbilt (24-22), to Florida (21-14) and to Kentucky (24-21). They'd be riding a five-game losing streak if they hadn't eked out a 27-24 defeat of Mississippi State on Oct. 21. Georgia is 3-4 in SEC play and should be 3-5 after visiting Auburn this weekend.

Whereas Bama and Georgia are the SEC's ultimate underachievers this season, long-time doormats Kentucky and Vanderbilt qualify as overachievers. After stunning Georgia last weekend, the Wildcats (5-4 overall, 3-3 SEC) need only beat Louisiana-Monroe Nov. 18 to qualify for a bowl bid. Coming off a competitive loss to SEC East champ Florida, the Commodores (5-5, 2-4) can qualify for bowl play by beating either UK or Tennessee the next two weekends.

That said, here are this week's Ratings:

1.FLORIDA (8.5): The Gators had to block two punts, stop a fourth-and-two late in the game and recover an on-sides kick with 2:30 left to trip Vandy 25-19. This came one week after they had to hold on for dear life to beat Georgia 21-14.

2.ARKANSAS (8.5): Tailback Darren McFadden rushed for 219 yards as the Hogs won 26-20 at South Carolina. When freshman Mitch Mustain threw an interception on Arkansas's first possession, Casey Dick came off the bench and played the rest of the way, passing for 228 yards.

3.AUBURN (8.0): Brandon Cox, who passed for a career-best 253 yards last week against Ole Miss, threw for 251 as the Tigers hammered hapless Arkansas State 27-0.

4.LSU (8.0): Les Miles' enigmatic Tigers overcame three interceptions and a lost fumble to beat home-standing Tennessee 28-24 on a JaMarcus Russell-to-Early Doucet TD pass with nine seconds left.

5.TENNESSEE (7.5): The injury-plagued Vols lost starting quarterback Erik Ainge to a first-quarter ankle sprain but rallied behind backup Jonathan Crompton (11 of 24 passing for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns) before bowing 28-24 to LSU.

6.SOUTH CAROLINA (7.0): Second-team QB Blake Mitchell came off the bench to complete 15 of 21 passes for 213 yards but it wasn't enough as the Gamecocks dropped a 26-20 decision to visiting Arkansas.

7.VANDERBILT (6.0): The scrappy Commodores rallied valiantly, scoring 13 fourth-quarter points, but fell just short in a 25-19 loss to Florida.

8.KENTUCKY (6.0): The Wildcats won a game but lost a goal post Saturday, scoring a last-minute TD to nip Georgia 24-21. Andre Woodson continued his fine work, completing 23 of 32 passes.

9.GEORGIA (5.5): The Bulldogs' 24-21 loss at Kentucky was their fourth setback in five weeks, suggesting they may have quit on head coach Mark Richt. Frosh QB Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions and now has 12 Oskies this fall, compared to just four TD passes.

10.ALABAMA (5.5): The Tide suffered the ultimate in humiliation, losing 24-16 on its home field to lowly Mississippi State. Bama has not managed an offensive TD in its last two meetings with the Bulldogs.

11.OLE MISS (5.0): Former Vol Brent Schaeffer completed 13 of 23 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown as the Rebels routed Div. 1-AA Northwestern State 27-7.

12.MISSISSIPPI STATE (5.0): The Bulldogs snapped a 23-game SEC road losing streak and an 18-game SEC West losing streak by shocking Alabama 24-16 in Tuscaloosa.


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