SEC Ratings

One week after converting 8 of 13 third-down tries in a 30-6 drubbing of Tennessee, the Florida Gators converted just 1 of 11 third-down opportunities in a 31-30 loss to Ole Miss Saturday in Gainesville.

Whether that's a credit to the Rebels or an indictment of the Vols remains to be seen but this much is for certain: Florida was not the juggernaut last weekend it appeared to be back in August. Although the Gators obviously took Ole Miss lightly, they looked pretty vulnerable in Saturday's loss. That's why they've plummeted from No. 1 to No. 3 in my latest SEC Ratings.

Georgia, which was No. 2 previously, slipped to No. 4 in the wake of a 41-30 trouncing at the hands of Alabama, which soared from No. 4 to No. 1 on the basis of that impressive win.

The new ratings follow, with each team graded on the usual 1-10 scale:

1. Alabama (9.0): John Parker Wilson threw rarely but effectively, completing 13 of 16 passes for 205 yards as the Tide (5-0 overall, 2-0 SEC) drilled third-ranked Georgia 41-30. Glen Coffee rushed 23 times for 86 yards and freshman sensation Julio Jones caught five passes for 94 yards. The Tide led 31-0 at halftime, then coasted.

2. LSU (8.5): The Tigers (4-0, 2-0) got 141 rushing yards from Charles Scott (his fourth consecutive 100-plus yard effort) in a 34-24 defeat of Mississippi State. Starting in place of the injured Andrew Hatch, Jarrett Lee completed 18 of 27 passes for 261 yards. Brandon LaFell (7 catches, 100 yards) was Lee's favorite target.

3. Florida (8.0): The Gators (3-1 overall, 1-1 SEC) lost three fumbles and had the game-tying PAT blocked with 3:28 left in a 31-30 home-field loss to Ole Miss. Percy Harvin was a bright spot, rushing 10 times for 82 yards and catching 13 passes for 186 yards. Tim Tebow completed 24 of 38 throws for 319 yards.

4. Georgia (8.0): The Dawgs (4-1, 1-1) did not look remotely worthy of a No. 1 preseason ranking in a 41-30 home-field loss to Alabama that was much worse than the score indicates. The Dawgs trailed 31-0 at halftime and had to score 13 points in the final 3:00 to make the final score halfway respectable. Matthew Stafford (24 of 42 for 274 yards) and freshman AJ Green (6 catches, 88 yards) were bright spots.

5. Auburn (7.0): The Tigers (4-1, 2-1) made one offensive touchdown and one defensive touchdown stand up in a 14-12 defeat of Tennessee. Auburn's offense is anemic but its defense is outstanding.

6. Vanderbilt (6.0): The Commodores (4-0, 2-0) had an open date.

7. Ole Miss (6.0): The Rebels (3-2, 1-1) recovered from last weekend's home loss to Vandy in time to inflict a 31-30 loss on fifth-ranked Florida at The Swamp. Jevan Snead completed just 9 of 20 passes but averaged 20.6 yards per connection en route to 185 yards and two touchdowns.

8. Kentucky (5.5): The Big Blue (4-0, 0-0) concluded the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 41-3 drubbing of Western Kentucky. Derrick Locke returned a kickoff 100 yards and Mike Hartline completed 19 of 30 passes for 172 yards. The Wildcats' defense limited the Hilltoppers to 15 passing yards, a 3-for-15 third-down conversion rate and 157 total yards.

9. Tennessee (4.5): The offense accounted for two touchdowns – one for UT and one for Auburn – in a 14-12 loss to the Tigers. The Vols (1-3, 0-2) converted just 4 of 16 third-down tries and lost a fumble in their own end zone that proved decisive. Quarterback Jonathan Crompton completed just 8 of 23 passes for 67 yards.

10. South Carolina (4.5): Preseason reports of a stable quarterback situation in Columbia were greatly exaggerated. The Gamecocks (3-2, 0-2) used three QBs in a 26-13 defeat of UAB. The most effective was Stephen Garcia, who came off the bench to complete 13 of 20 passes for 131 yards and rush 18 times for another 86 yards. Garcia was benched, however, after throwing a third-quarter interception. SC managed just 353 total yards against a Blazer defense that came in surrendering an average of 558 yards per game.

11. Mississippi State (4.0): The Bulldogs (1-4, 0-2) bounced back from a 38-7 loss at Georgia Tech a week earlier to play well in a 34-24 loss at LSU. Tyson Lee, starting at quarterback in place of Wesley Carroll, completed 17 of 26 passes for 175 yards. Anthony Dixon rushed 15 times for 50 yards but MSU hurt itself with 10 penalties that deducted 90 yards.

12. Arkansas (2.5): The Razorbacks (2-2, 0-1) trailed 31-3 at halftime and looked utterly inept in a 41-10 loss at Texas. The Hogs managed just 11 net yards on 26 rushes and converted on just 2 of 13 third-down tries.

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