Tennessee still has a chance to post a signature win this fall, however, with Alabama coming to town for a 7:45 kickoff Saturday night. The Crimson Tide beat Ole Miss last weekend, moving to 7-0 overall and tightening its grip on first place in the SEC Ratings.
The Vols tuned up for Alabama by trouncing Mississippi State Saturday evening. The win elevated UT from last place to 10th in this week's rankings.
The new ratings follow, with each team graded on the usual 1-10 scale:
1. Alabama (9.0): Nick Saban's Tide (7-0 overall, 4-0 SEC) rolled to a 24-3 halftime lead, went to sleep, then had to hold on at the finish to preserve a 24-20 defeat of Ole Miss. Bama's second-half possessions consisted of an interception, a fumble and four punts. Even so, John Parker Wilson passed for a season-high 219 yards.
2. Florida (9.0): The Gators (5-1, 3-1), coming off a 51-21 blowout of LSU, had an open date.
3. Georgia (8.5): The Dawgs (6-1, 3-1) needed a 39-yard Blair Walsh field goal with 17 seconds left to finally put away Vanderbilt 24-14. Walsh missed from 40 and 37 yards earlier in the game. Knowshon Moreno rushed 23 times for 172 yards and freshman A.J. Green caught seven passes for 132 yards. Matthew Stafford averaged 15 yards per completion (13 of 23) en route to a 194-yard passing performance.
4. LSU (8.5): The Tigers (5-1, 3-1) bounced back from their 30-point loss at Florida to beat South Carolina 24-17 in Columbia. A smothering LSU defense recorded six sacks and limited the Gamecocks to 42 net yards in the second half.
5. Vanderbilt (6.5): The Commodores (5-2, 3-2) converted just 1 of 8 third-down plays and managed a mere 245 yards of total offense in a 24-14 loss at Georgia. Vandy QB Mackenzi Adams completed 16 of 32 passes for 131 yards.
6. South Carolina (6.5): Steve Spurrier saw his record drop to 2-9 against top-25 opponents in Columbia when the Gamecocks (5-3, 2-3) fell 24-17 to LSU. SC converted just 1 of 9 third-down tries and scored all of its points in the second quarter. First-time starter Stephen Garcia, a redshirt freshman, completed 14 of 26 passes for 215 yards but got no help from the ground attack (31 rushes, 39 yards).
7. Ole Miss (6.0): The Rebels (3-4, 1-3) roared back from a 24-3 halftime deficit to give No. 2 Alabama a scare before bowing 24-20. The Rebels outgained Bama 359 to 326 in total yards but converted on just 2 of 14 third-down plays. Jevan Snead completed 16 of 31 passes for 192 yards for Ole Miss, which has lost the last four meetings with the Tide by 3, 3, 3 and 4 points.
8. Kentucky (5.0): The Big Blue (5-2, 1-2) trailed 17-0 in the third quarter and 20-7 midway through the fourth, then rallied to nip Arkansas 21-20. Mike Hartline completed 17 of 32 passes for 239 yards, hitting Randall Cobb with TD passes of 32 and 21 yards in the final 4:15 to avert a humiliating home-field defeat.
10. Tennessee (5.0): The Vols (3-4, 1-3) finally showed a spark, outscoring Mississippi State 21-0 in the fourth quarter of a 34-3 victory. Interception returns of 72 yards by Eric Berry and 32 yards by Demetrice Morley sparked the big finish.
11. Arkansas (4.0): The Razorbacks (3-4, 1-3) rode a superb performance by 5-7, 175-pound running back Michael Smith (35 carries, 192 yards) to a 17-0 third-quarter lead but couldn't hold on in a 21-20 loss at Kentucky. Casey Dick had an awful day, completing just 11 of 29 passes for 94 yards with two interceptions for the hapless Hogs.
12. Mississippi State (3.5): The Bulldogs (2-5, 1-3) saw two fourth-quarter interceptions returned for touchdowns in a 34-3 loss to Tennessee. Mississippi State managed just 189 yards of total offense.