SEC Ratings

A few weeks ago it appeard that Alabama and Florida were light-years ahead of the rest of the SEC. Now ... not so much.

The Tide had to hang on for dear life to nip unranked Tennessee by two points over the weekend, and the Gators led Mississippi State just 16-13 in the fourth quarter before pulling away to win by 10.

Alabama and Florida clearly remain the top two teams in the league but the gap between them and the rest of the conference has closed a bit.

That said, here's a look at this week's SEC Ratings:

1. ALABAMA (9.5): The Tide (8-0 overall, 5-0 SEC) was a 44-yard field goal from losing to visiting Tennessee until 6-foot-5 Terrance Cody blocked the kick to seal a 12-10 thriller. Bama's offense struggled mightily as Greg McElroy passed for just 120 yards (69 below his average) and Mark Ingram ran for 99 yards (30 below his average).

2. FLORIDA (9.5): The Gators (7-0, 5-0) won their 17th consecutive game by subduing pesky Mississippi State 29-19. Tim Tebow completed 12 of 22 passes for 127 yards but threw two "pick-6" interceptions, then declined to meet the press after the game. Dustin Doe had a 23-yard interception return touchdown for the Gators.

3. LSU (8.0): The Tigers (6-1, 4-1) rode the passing combination of Jordan Jefferson and Terrance Toliver to a 31-10 pasting of Auburn. Jefferson completed 21 of 31 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Toliver caught nine balls for 86 yards.

4. SOUTH CAROLINA (7.5): The Gamecocks (6-2, 3-2) continued their confounding struggles against Vanderbilt before rallying to win 14-10. SC had lost the previous two meetings to the Dores and trailed 10-7 with the ball on its 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. A 43-yard TD catch by Alshon Jeffery capped a 99-yard drive that saved the day, however. Stephen Garcia completed 22 of 33 passes for 312 yards. Jeffery finished with 8 catches for 161 yards, and Kenny Miles added 102 rushing yards.

5. OLE MISS (7.5): The Rebels (5-2, 2-2) underscored how valuable Dexter McCluster can be in a 30-17 defeat of Arkansas. McCluster rushed 22 times for 123 yards and caught 7 passes for another 137 yards. Jevan Snead finally lived up to his hype by completing 22 of 33 passes for 332 yards. The Rebs outgained the Hogs 553-299 in total yards.

6. TENNESSEE (7.5): The Vols (3-4, 1-3) had top-ranked Alabama on the ropes but two blocked field-goal attempts and a missed attempt - all from 47 yards or less - proved costly in a 12-10 setback at Tuscaloosa. Jonathan Crompton continued his rise from the ashes, completing 21 of 36 passes for 265 yards.

7. GEORGIA (7.5): Mark Richt's Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2) were idle.

8. ARKANSAS (7.0): The Razorbacks (3-4, 1-4) ran into a fired-up Ole Miss team and lost 30-17 at Oxford. Ryan Mallett completed just 12 of 34 passes but netted 254 yards, an average of 21 yards per completion. He was sacked four times. Incredibly, Arkansas has lost its last two games, despite forcing 7 turnovers and committing zero.

9. AUBURN (7.0): The Tigers (5-3, 2-3) continued their midseason nose dive by losing 31-10 at LSU. Quarterback Chris Todd was benched late after completing 8 of 14 passes for a mere 47 yards with an interception. Tailback Ben Tate gained just 67 rushing yards, 55 below his normal output. Auburn, averaging 464.9 yards per game coming in, managed just 193 on this day.

10. MISSISSIPPI STATE (6.5): Dan Mullen's Bulldogs (3-5, 1-3) trailed No. 2 Florida 16-13 in the fourth quarter when a foiled fake punt gave the Gators the ball at MSU's 22-yard line and helped Florida pull away 29-19. The Dogs' Johnathan Banks returned two interceptions for touchdowns, with one runback covering 100 yards. Tyson Lee completed 15 of 23 passes for 145 yards but threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a Gator TD.

11. KENTUCKY (6.5): The Big Blue (4-3, 1-3) got a big day from Randall Cobb and a 50-yard interception return touchdown from Randall Burden in a 36-13 drubbing of Louisiana Monroe. Cobb completed 2 of 4 passes for 46 yards, rushed three times for 41 yards, caught four passes for 27 yards and returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown. Will Fidler, replacing the injured Mike Hartline at quarterback, completed 8 of 13 passes for 82 yards.

12. VANDERBILT (6.0): The Commodores (2-6, 0-5) are an offense away from being a pretty good team, as they showed once again in a 14-10 loss at South Carolina. Vandy has scored 10 points or less in each of its five SEC games, and its only touchdown vs. SC came on a 99-yard kickoff return by Warren Norman. Norman also rushed for 83 yards. Quarterback Larry Smith competed 17 of 34 passes for 132 yards.

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