SEC Ratings

There isn't much doubt that the Western Division is superior to the Eastern Division this SEC football season. Even with Ole Miss falling short of its preseason top-10 projections, four of the top five teams in the league hail from the West.

Unbeaten Alabama remains No. 1 in my weekly SEC Ratings. Florida, the only team from the East to crack the top five, holds the second spot. Next come Ole Miss, LSU and fast-finishing Arkansas. Injury-depleted Tennessee rounds out the top half of the league at No. 6.

That said, here are this week's rankings:

1. ALABAMA (9.5): The Tide (11-0 overall, 7-0 SEC) got 102 rushing yards from Mark Ingram in a 45-0 pasting of Chattanooga. Ingram needs 73 yards in the regular-season finale vs. Auburn to break Bobby Humphrey's single-season school record of 1,471. Bama limited Mocs quarterback B. J. Coleman to 7 completions in 25 attempts for 36 yards, intercepting him twice.

2. FLORIDA (9.5): The Gators (11-0, 8-0) pushed their winning streak to 21 games by hammering hapless Florida International 62-3. Tim Tebow (17 of 25, 215 yards, 2 TDs) and backup John Brantley (9 of 13, 146 yards, 3 TDs) completed a combined 26 of 38 passes for 361 yards and 5 touchdowns.

3. OLE MISS (8.0): The Rebels (8-3, 4-3) got another big effort from Dexter McCluster in beating LSU 25-23. McCluster rushed 24 times for 148 yards and threw a 27-yard halfback pass for a touchdown.

4. LSU (8.0): The Tigers (8-3, 4-3) continue to miss injured tailback Charles Scott, managing just 40 net rushing yards in a 25-23 loss at Ole Miss. With no ground support, Jordan Jefferson completed 19 of 37 passes for 250 yards.

5. ARKANSAS (7.5): The Razorbacks (7-4, 3-4) won their fourth game in a row, trouncing Mississippi State 42-21. Ryan Mallett completed 18 of 34 passes for 313 yards and posted his third five-TD game of the season. Cobi Hamilton caught scoring passes of 58 and 64 yards.

6. TENNESSEE (7.5): The Vols (6-5, 3-4) got just enough offense from seniors Jonathan Crompton (20 of 34 passing for 221 yards) and Montario Hardesty (32 rushes for 171 yards) to overcome an injury-riddled defense and beat Vanderbilt 31-16.

7. AUBURN (7.5): Gene Chizik's Tigers (7-4, 3-4) had an open date to rest up for this weekend's Iron Bowl game with Alabama.

8. SOUTH CAROLINA (7.0): The Gamecocks (6-5, 3-5) had an open date.

9. KENTUCKY (7.0): The Wildcats (7-4, 3-4) posted their second consecutive SEC road win - they won at Vandy last weekend - by dumping Georgia 34-27 in Athens. Freshman Morgan Newton completed 9 of 17 passes for 137 yards and three TDs. Derrick Locke did the rest, rushing 16 times for 80 yards and catching two passes for another 80 - a 20-yard TD grab and a 60-yard TD grab.

10. GEORGIA (7.0): Mark Richt's mistake-prone Bulldogs (6-5, 4-4) lost the turnover battle 4-0 and lost the game 34-27 to visiting Kentucky. Joe Cox passed for 291 yards and three TDs but threw two crucial interceptions in the fourth quarter.

11. MISSISSIPPI STATE (7.0): Dan Mullen's Bulldogs (4-7, 2-5) picked up 327 rushing yards but just 49 passing yards in a 42-21 loss to Arkansas. Anthony Dixon starred in defeat, rushing 24 times for 176 yards.

12. VANDERBILT (5.5): The Commodores (2-10, 0-8) lost 31-16 at Tennessee but did muster their highest point total of the season against an SEC foe. The previous high of 13 came against Kentucky.


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