SEC Ratings

Losing to Ole Miss Sept. 27 may have been the best thing that could've happened to the Florida Gators ... and the worst thing that could've happened to the rest of the SEC.

Since dropping that game to the Rebels, Florida has outscored six subsequent opponents 299-63, an average of 50-10 per contest. Those six opponents – Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina – weren't chopped liver, either. All but Arkansas are bowl-eligible teams.

Given all of the above, I've got to believe Florida is not only the best team in the SEC but the best team in college football.

That said, here are this week's SEC ratings, with each team graded on the usual 1-10 scale:

1. Florida (10.0): The Gators (9-1 overall, 7-1 SEC) got 167 yards from Percy Harvin on just eight rushes (20.9 yards per carry) in a 56-6 annihilation of No. 24 South Carolina. Oddly enough, it was the worst loss suffered by a Gamecock team since a 63-7 setback in 1995 to a Florida team coached by ... you guessed it, current Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier.

2. Alabama (9.0): The Tide (11-0 overall, 8-0 SEC) got punt returns of 80 yards (for a touchdown) and 46 yards from Javier Arenas in drubbing Mississippi State 32-7. Bama can wrap up an unbeaten regular season Nov. 29 at Tuscaloosa.

3. Georgia (8.0): The Dawgs (9-2, 6-2) rode the 134-yard rushing performance of Knowshon Moreno to a 17-13 defeat of Auburn. Georgia also posted a four-point squeaker the week before, nipping Kentucky 42-38. Matthew Stafford (15 of 24, 215 yards) had a good day throwing the ball.

4. Ole Miss (7.5): The Rebels (6-4, 3-3) scored on six of their first seven possessions en route to a 38-0 halftime lead that eventually produced a 59-0 defeat of Louisiana-Monroe. Jevan Snead completed 6 of 12 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for two TDs.

5. LSU (7.0): The Tigers (7-3, 3-3) needed 30 fourth-quarter points to complete a rally that saw them come back from a 31-3 deficit to trip Troy 40-31. The LSU secondary got quite a workout as Troy's Levi Brown uncorked 72 passes, completing 34 for 312 yards and two touchdowns.

5. South Carolina (6.5): The Gamecocks (7-4, 4-4) gave Florida three gift touchdowns – two off interceptions thrown by Chris Smelley and one on a botched kickoff lateral – en route to a 21-0 first-quarter deficit that swelled into a 56-6 loss to the Gators. Smelley finished 13 of 24 for 92 yards with two interceptions while Stephen Garcia was 6 of 13 for 28 yards with one pick.

7. Vanderbilt (6.5): The Commodores (6-4, 4-4) became bowl eligible for the first time since 1982 by beating Kentucky 31-24 at Lexington. Cornerback D.J. Moore intercepted two passes and, doubling as a receiver, scored touchdowns on his first two career catches.

8. Auburn (5.0): The Tigers (5-6, 2-5) drove to the Georgia 21- and 14-yard lines in the final 5 minutes but came away empty each time in a 17-13 loss to the Bulldogs. Auburn would've needed only a field goal to tie on those late drives except that it botched a PAT earlier in the game. Kodi Burns' potential game-winning 14-yard TD pass on the game's final play was a tad too long for Ben Tate.

9. Kentucky (5.0): The Big Blue (6-5, 2-5) didn't pick its initial first down until a fake punt with two minutes left to halftime in a 31-24 homefield loss to Vanderbilt. The Cats had the ball just three of the game's first 27 minutes and dug themselves a hole they could not escape.

10. Arkansas (4.0): The Razorbacks (4-6, 2-5) had an open date.

11. Tennessee (3.5): The Vols (3-7, 1-5) had an open date.

12. Mississippi State (3.5): The Bulldogs (3-7, 2-5) got a weak passing performance from Tyson Lee (11 of 28 for 132 yards) and an even weaker rushing effort from Anthony Dixon (11 carries, 26 yards) in a 32-7 loss to top-ranked Alabama.


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