SEC Ratings

Alabama and Florida won't meet this season unless they collide in the SEC Championship Game. That's an increasingly likely scenario since they appear to be the two best teams in the league this fall.

Alabama, ranked No. 2 nationally, moved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play by battering Tennessee 29-9 Saturday night in Knoxville. Florida, ranked No. 5, moved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in league play by annihilating Kentucky 63-5.

If the Tide and Gators met in Tuscaloosa, I'd pick Bama to win. If they met in Gainesville, I'd pick Florida to win. If they met on a neutral field (say, The Georgia Dome) ... I don't know who I'd pick but I'd be sure to watch the game.

Because Bama and Florida are equally outstanding, I'm bracketing them as co-number ones in this week's SEC Ratings. Those ratings follow, with each team graded on the usual 1-10 scale:

1. Alabama (9.0): The Tide (8-0 overall, 5-0 SEC) overcame a fumbled punt and a blocked punt to manhandle Tennessee 29-9 in Knoxville. Roy Upchurch (86 yards) and Glen Coffee (78) combined for 164 rushing yards, while John Parker Wilson (17 of 24) contributed 188 passing yards in a workman-like victory.

1. Florida (9.0): The Gators (6-1 overall, 4-1 SEC) raced to a 28-0 first-quarter lead en route to a 63-5 beat-down of Kentucky. Counting a 51-21 defeat of LSU two weeks earlier, Florida has won its last two games by a combined score of 114-26. Tim Tebow paced the blowout of UK by hitting 11 of 15 passes for 180 yards and a pair of TDs. He also rushed for two TDs. The Gators blocked Kentucky's first two punts and subsequently blocked a Big Blue field goal.

3. Georgia (8.5): The Dawgs (7-1, 4-1) broke out the offensive fireworks in a 52-38 defeat of homestanding LSU. Matthew Stafford completed 17 of 26 passes for 249 yards and Knowshon Moreno ran for another 163 yards. Linebacker Darryl Gamble returned interceptions 40 and 53 yards for touchdowns and freshman receiver A.J. Green caught three balls for 89 yards and a score.

4. LSU (7.5): The Tigers (5-2, 3-2) got a five-touchdown performance from quarterback Jarrett Lee in a 52-38 loss to Georgia. Unfortunately, two of Lee's touchdown tosses were interceptions that were returned for Bulldog scores. Still, Lee's numbers (14 of 28, 287 yards) looked pretty good. Charles Scott rushed for 144 yards.

5. South Carolina (6.5): Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks (5-3, 2-3) had an open date to rest up for this weekend's visit from Tennessee.

6. Ole Miss (6.0): The Rebels (4-4, 2-3) blew most of a 20-7 lead in the final quarter before subduing pesky Arkansas 23-21 in Fayetteville. Jevan Snead completed 14 of 27 passes for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Ole Miss defense limited the Hogs to 3 of 14 on third-down conversions.

7. Vanderbilt (5.0): The Commodores (5-3, 3-3) limited Duke to 250 yards of total offense but managed only one scoring drive in a 10-7 home-field loss to David Cutcliffe's Blue Devils. Mackenzi Adams completed just one first-half pass but did hook up for Sean Walker on a 79-yard TD bomb in the second half. Cutcliffe is now 6-0 as a head coach vs. Vandy's Bobby Johnson.

8. Auburn (4.5): The Tigers (4-4, 2-3) blew a 17-3 lead en route to suffering a 34-17 Thursday night loss at West Virginia. Kodi Burns completed 13 of 21 passes for 111 yards and ran for another 82 yards but Auburn managed a meager 33 net yards in the second half.

9. Tennessee (4.5): The Vols (3-5, 1-4) put on another clinic in offensive inefficiency, managing just 36 rushing yards and 173 total yards in a 29-9 home-field loss to Alabama. Fortunately for UT, two of its three remaining SEC games are against teams ranked below it.

10. Kentucky (4.0): The injury-depleted Big Blue (5-3, 1-3) suffered its 22nd consecutive loss to Florida, coming out on the ugly end of a 63-5 hammer job in Gainesville. Mike Hartline (7-16, 33 yards) shared the QB duties with freshman Randall Cobb, who completed 9 of 18 for 78 yards and also rushed nine times for 52 yards. Cobb will start this week vs. Mississippi State.

11. Arkansas (4.0): The Razorbacks (3-5, 1-4) got two Casey Dick touchdown passes in the final 4:28 but saw the rally fall short in a 23-21 loss to Ole Miss. Dick finished 20 of 38 for 282 yards and tailback Michael Smith rushed 19 times for 129 yards.

12. Mississippi State (3.5): The Bulldogs (3-5, 2-3) rallied from a third-quarter deficit to trip Middle Tennessee 31-22. Anthony Dixon rushed for 124 yards and three TDs, breaking the school's career touchdown record with 29. Quarterback Tyson Lee completed 17 of 25 throws for 199 yards.


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