SEC Ratings

I realize that Alabama is ranked No. 1 in America but I still think the Tide is No. 2 in the SEC behind Florida.

The Gators last weekend annihilated a Georgia team 49-10 that was ranked No. 1 in preseason. Counting a 38-7 win at Arkansas, a 51-21 defeat of LSU and a 63-5 demolition of Kentucky, Urban Meyer's boys have won their last four games by a combined margin of 201-43, an average score of 50-11. I'm a believer.

Even though Bama is unbeaten and Florida has a loss, I think the Gators would whip the Tide on a neutral field. That's why Florida ranks ahead of Alabama in my newest SEC Ratings.

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

1. Florida (9.5): The Gators (7-1 overall, 5-1 SEC) got five touchdowns from Tim Tebow – three rushing and two passing – in their 49-10 pasting of Georgia. Tebow completed 10 of 13 passes for 154 yards, and the Gator defense forced four Bulldog turnovers.

2. Alabama (9.0): The Tide (9-0 overall, 6-0 SEC) scored just one offensive touchdown in the first half but rode a smothering defensive effort to a 35-0 defeat of Arkansas State. Rashad Johnson had a 32-yard TD on an interception return for Bama, which limited the Indians to 158 net yards and 2 of 12 on third-down conversions.

3. Georgia (8.0): The Dawgs (7-2, 4-2) found out what happens when quarterback Matthew Stafford plays poorly in a 49-10 loss to Florida. Stafford completed 18 of 33 passes for 265 yards but threw three interceptions. Knowshon Moreno, who burned the Gators for 188 yards in last year's meeting, managed just 65 in the '08 rematch.

4. LSU (7.5): The Tigers (6-2, 3-2) scored two touchdowns 27 seconds apart in a 35-10 drubbing of Tulane. Jarrett Lee hit Brandon LaFell with a 14-yard touchdown pass, then Chris Hawkins returned a fumble 25 yards for a score on the first play of the Green Wave's ensuing possession. Charles Scott rushed for 114 yards to pace the LSU offense.

5. South Carolina (7.0): The Gamecocks (6-3, 3-3) trounced Tennessee 27-6, costing Phillip Fulmer his job, much as they did UT predecessor Johnny Majors 16 years earlier. A 68-yard interception return touchdown by Stoney Woodson padded a 7-0 second-quarter lead to 14-0 and seemed take the starch out of the Vols.

6. Ole Miss (6.0): The Rebels (5-4, 3-3) rushed for 233 yards in a 17-7 defeat of Auburn. Jevan Snead completed just 15 of 30 passes for 140 yards but connected for two touchdowns.

7. Vanderbilt (5.0): The Commodores (5-3, 3-3) had an open date to prepare for this weekend's invasion by Florida.

8. Auburn (4.5): The Tigers (4-5, 2-4) got some production from Kodi Burns (27 of 43 passing for 319 yards, 9 rushes for 21 yards) but he also threw three interceptions in a 17-7 loss to Ole Miss.

9. Tennessee (4.5): The Vols (3-6, 1-5) converted on just three of 14 third-down tries and managed a paltry 207 net yards in a 27-6 loss at South Carolina. Arian Foster (14 carries, 56 yards) was a bright spot for UT, running exceptionally hard.

10. Kentucky (4.0): The Big Blue (6-3, 2-3) alternated quarterbacks Randall Cobb (7 of 13, 56 yards) and Mike Hartline (9 of 17, 90 yards) in a 14-13 defeat of Mississippi State. Cobb also rushed 12 times for 31 yards and a touchdown.

11. Arkansas (4.0): The Razorbacks (4-5, 2-4) beat Tulsa 30-23, despite surrendering 528 yards of total offense. Dennis Johnson's 96-yard kickoff return proved decisive. Casey Dick completed 25 of 38 passes for 385 yards and a touchdown.

12. Mississippi State (3.5): The Bulldogs (3-6, 2-4) got a good passing performance from Tyson Lee (26 of 42, 261 yards) but managed just 43 rushing yards in a 14-13 home-field loss to Kentucky. Adam Carlson missed a 27-yard field goal and had a PAT blocked that proved to be the difference in the game.


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