SEC Ratings

That thud you heard was the Tennessee Vols landing at the bottom of the SEC Ratings.

Sure, Mississippi State and Arkansas are really bad. But Sylvester Croom's Bulldogs upset No. 13 Vanderbilt last weekend and Bobby Petrino's Hogs beat Auburn on The Plains, a task Tennessee proved incapable of accomplishing just two weeks earlier.

Based on those wins alone, MSU and Arkansas deserve to be ranked ahead of Tennessee, whose only triumphs to date were at the expense of football nobodies UAB and Northern Illinois.

Meanwhile, Florida's impressive defeat of LSU has elevated the Gators into a virtual tie with second-ranked Alabama at the top of this week's SEC Ratings.

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

1. Alabama (9.0): The Tide (6-0, 3-0) enjoyed an open date in preparation for this weekend's visit from Ole Miss.

2. Florida (9.0): The Gators (5-1 overall, 3-1 SEC) crushed No. 4 LSU 51-21, finally looking like the team I envisioned in August when I pegged them to go 12-0. Speedsters Jeff Demps (10 rushes for 129 yards) and Percy Harvin (6 receptions for 112 yards) took some of the load off of quarterback Tim Tebow (14 of 21 passing for 210 yards).

3. Georgia (8.5): The Dawgs (5-1, 2-1) beat Tennessee 26-14 in a game that was nowhere near as close as the score suggests. Mark Richt's boys piled up huge advantages in total yards (458 to 209), first downs (29 to 10), third-down conversions (9 of 17 to 4 of 12) and time of possession (42:04 to 17:12).

4. LSU (8.0): The Tigers (4-1, 2-1) ran into a Gator buzz saw and lost 51-21 at Florida. Jarrett Lee, making his first SEC road start, was a bright spot for LSU, completing 23 of 38 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. SEC rushing leader Charles Scott was limited to 35 yards on 12 carries.

5. Vanderbilt (6.5): The Commodores (5-1, 3-1) saw backup QB Mackenzi Adams spark the team for the second week in a row ... but this time he entered the lineup too late. Down 17-7 after a poor showing by first-team QB Chris Nickson (3 of 10 passing for 15 yards), Vandy rallied behind Adams but still came out on the short end of a 17-14 score. Adams will start this weekend's game at Georgia.

6. South Carolina (6.5): Captain Munnerlyn was the difference as the Cocks (5-2, 2-2) beat Kentucky 24-17, returning a blocked field 81 yards for a touchdown and returning a kickoff 84 yards. Stephen Garcia relieved starting QB Chris Smelley (9 of 23, 105 yards, 2 interceptions) and completed 10 of 14 for 169 yards and a TD. Kicker Ryan Succop struggled, however, missing four of five field-goal tries.

7. Ole Miss (6.0): The Rebels (3-3, 1-2) had an open date to prepare for this Saturday's game at Alabama, which also had the week off.

8. Kentucky (6.0): The Big Blue (4-2, 0-2) knew it was in trouble when it caused three South Carolina turnovers in the first quarter and still trailed. Sure enough, the Wildcats suffered a 24-17 loss that also cost them the services of star receiver Dicky Lyons (knee ligament) for the remainder of the season. UK converted just 1 of 16 third-down opportunities and managed a paltry 218 net yards.

9. Auburn (5.0): The Tigers (4-3, 2-3) appear to be in full-blown freefall after losing 25-22 at home to 19-point underdog Arkansas. QB problems continue to haunt Auburn, as Kodi Burns went 7 of 18 for 119 yards with two interceptions and Chris Todd 3 of 10 for 18 yards with one pick. When it rains it pours department: Wes Byrum missed a 33-yard field goal.

10. Mississippi State (4.5): The Bulldogs (2-4, 1-2) limited No. 13 Vanderbilt to 107 net yards and 1 of 10 third-down conversions in a 17-14 upset. Bruising Anthony Dixon ran for 107 yards on 27 carries and Tyson Lee completed 12 of 22 passes for 81 yards.

11. Arkansas (4.0): The Razorbacks (3-3, 1-2) proved the old adage that "Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then." They got a 176-yard rushing performance from Michael Smith and a good passing performance (17 of 32, 222 yards) from Casey Dick in a stunning 25-22 upset of Auburn. The previously pathetic Hogs outgained the Tigers 416 to 193 yards.

12. Tennessee (4.0): The Vols (2-4, 0-3) were utterly outclassed everywhere except on the scoreboard in a 26-14 loss at Georgia. Without two Red Zone interceptions and a dropped TD pass by A.J. Green the Big Orange probably loses 38-7 ... or worse.


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