Aaron Brenner, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
**All games Saturday … all times CT … all rankings/receiving votes from AP poll**
1) No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC); Last week, 1
Last week: won at Missouri 42-10
AJ McCarron, and Knee Bruisegate. LaMichael Fanning, wrong sport. But those were pretty much the only dark clouds from Saturday … other than all those swirling above Faurot Field, which chased all the Mizzou fans home as a blowout commenced. Hard to believe any college program can field this good about itself.
Next: at Tennessee (3-3, 0-3), 6 p.m. | ESPN
2) No. 3 Florida (6-0, 5-0); LW, 2
Last week: won at Vanderbilt 31-17
No knock on the Gators, but that No. 2 BCS ranking seems high – granted, those standings mean nothing until December. They have three very, very, very good wins (back-to-back at Texas A&M and Tennessee, and 14-6 vs. LSU) but not truly a great win. Of course, the schedule shakes up beautifully for Florida, hosting South Carolina in a couple of days and taking on Georgia in Jacksonville before staying home for awhile. Probably the most impressive part is the grueling nature of big game after big game. The season-ender at Florida State, and presumably the SEC title game, will give Florida its shot at a truly memorable season.
Next: vs. No. 9 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1), 2:30 p.m. | CBS
3) No. 6 LSU (6-1, 2-1); LW, 5
Last week: beat No. 3 South Carolina 23-21
Stupid question on the national talk show circuit Monday: is LSU back in the national title hunt? I’m sorry, since when did one tough road conference loss against a top-three opponent crush the hopes of an SEC team? Everything the Tigers want is still in front of them. Now they just need to learn how to throw in the direction of those dreams. No, Mr. Mettenberger, handoffs and backward laterals don’t count.
Next: at No. 20 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1), 11 a.m. | ESPN
4) No. 9 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1); LW, 3
Last week: lost at No. 9 LSU 23-21
Adversity strikes in Columbia. Loss in LSU. Flu bug. Marcus Lattimore questionable for Saturday. And defensive tackles are throwing haymakers, drawing the ire of Steve Spurrier. Not the way the Gamecocks wanted their mojo going into Gainesville.
Next: at No. 3 Florida (6-0, 5-0), 2:30 p.m. | CBS
5) No. 13 Georgia (5-1, 3-1); LW, 4
Last week: Idle
Might not be the worst thing to sit Jarvis Jones for the Kentucky game. Keep him healthy and hungry (or, well, thirsty) for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, because the Bulldogs’ schedule opens up considerably after that.
Next: at Kentucky (1-6, 0-4), 6 p.m. | FSN
6) No. 15 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0); LW, 7
Last week: beat Tennessee 41-31
Credit the Bulldogs for simply going about their business, and picking up increasingly impressive victories. After the decent Blue Raiders follow three straight ranked teams (at Alabama and LSU), steadily rebounding Arkansas and the Egg Bowl in Oxford. No more gimmes. By the way, the SEC is 123-6 against the Sun Belt since 1995, but two of those wins came this year (ULM over Arkansas, Western Kentucky over Kentucky,) so you know MTSU would love to get in on the action. So, take caution, Miss State.
Next: vs. Middle Tennessee (4-2), 6 p.m. | ESPN2
7) No. 20 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC); LW, 6
Last week: won at No. 23 Louisiana Tech 59-57
Johnny Football, Heisman candidate? Let’s see him get it done against LSU, Mississippi State and Alabama before we bronze him.
Next: vs. No. 6 LSU (6-1, 2-1), 11 a.m. | ESPN
8) Tennessee (3-3, 0-3); LW, 8
Last week: lost at No. 19 Mississippi State 41-31
Who knows, maybe Derek Dooley will be more effective coaching from the box. Head coaches on the field this year are 0-6 against Nick Saban.
Next: vs. No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0), 6 p.m. | ESPN
9) Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3); LW, 9
Last week: lost to No. 4 Florida 31-17
One winning season in the last 30 years? Yeah, the Commodores kind of need this game Saturday. You know they’ll be ready from the word go.
Next: vs. Auburn (1-5, 0-4), 11:21 a.m. | SEC Network
10) Ole Miss (4-3, 1-2); LW, 10
Last week: beat Auburn 41-20
You know what’s scary? That extremely potent offense is only going to get better. They lose one athlete (Randall Mackey), a tight end and right guard after 2012.
11) Arkansas (3-4, 2-2); LW, 12
Last week: beat Kentucky 49-7
Yeah, the bye doesn’t come at the greatest time. Pretty nice little seven quarters for the Razorbacks (73 points for, 14 points again.) Sure, it’s over the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the league, but at least that’s not Arkansas any more.
12) Missouri (3-4, 0-4); LW, 11
Last week: lost to No. 1 Alabama 42-10
So, Gary Pinkel, was the transition to the SEC tougher than you thought? “No,” Pinkel told the SEC teleconference, “it’s exactly what we expected.”
13) Auburn (1-5, 0-4); LW, 14
Last week: lost at Ole Miss 41-20
I have solved Auburn’s problem. The Tigers are 1-0 when Trent Fisher starts at free safety. 0-5 when he doesn’t. Maybe consider starting the lone Nashville native on the roster?
Next: at Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3), 11:21 a.m. | SEC Network
14) Kentucky (1-6, 0-4); LW, 13
Last week: lost at Arkansas 49-7
Even Mother Nature couldn’t take any more Kentucky football.
Next: vs. No. 13 Georgia (5-1, 3-1), 6 p.m. | FSN