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October 31, 2012

SEC Power Rankings: Week Nine

Aaron Brenner, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

**All games Saturday … all times CT … all rankings BCS**

1) No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC); Last week, 1

Last week: beat No. 11 Mississippi State 38-7

Nick Saban isn’t really a robot … hey, the guy has two Debbie cookies for breakfast. The All-Access show ESPN has programmed this week might be interesting. If for nothing else, watch for Samantha Steele. She might be a better Erin Andrews than Erin Andrews ever was.

Next: at No. 5 LSU (7-1, 3-1), 7 p.m. | CBS

2) No. 5 LSU (7-1, 3-1); LW, 3

Last week: Idle

Is Death Valley where dreams go to die? That’s fair to say. And night games under Les Miles? Tigers are now 58-5 in that setting. We’re gonna find out if the Crimson Tide are for real, absolutely.

Next: vs. No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0), 7 p.m. | CBS

3) No. 6 Georgia (7-1, 5-1); LW, 7

Last week: beat No. 2 Florida 17-9 in Jacksonville

My bad, letting Georgia sink that low in these rankings. It wasn’t pretty Saturday – what has been this year, for Mark Richt’s team? – and yet the Bulldogs are deservedly sixth in the country. Jarvis Jones, the Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week, is a man among boys out there.

Next: vs. Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2), 2:30 p.m. | CBS

4) No. 7 Florida (7-1, 6-1); LW, 2

Last week: lost to No. 10 Georgia 17-9 in Jacksonville

Last year’s plague came back to haunt Florida. Offense is just not at a championship-caliber level. And so, Florida beat South Carolina, who hammered Georgia, who beat the Gators. Oy.

Next: vs. Missouri (4-4, 1-4), 11 a.m. | ESPN2

5) No. 8 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2); LW, 4

Last week: beat Tennessee 38-35

It’s been stunning to view the outpouring of support for Marcus Lattimore. Absolutely numbing. On the football side, this does affect this team’s season greatly – Kenny Miles just isn’t the same.

Next: Idle

6) No. 16 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC); LW, 6

Last week: won at Auburn 63-21

Vroom vroom. The Aggies’ offense waits for no one. Its next road tests, Mississippi State and Alabama, should each be a dandy.

Next: at No. 15 Mississippi State (7-1, 3-1), 11 a.m. | ESPN

7) No. 15 Mississippi State (7-1, 3-1); LW, 5

Last week: lost at No. 1 Alabama 38-7

Herein lies the issue – the Bulldogs used an awful lot of emotional juice to get up for Alabama. There enough left in the tank for a home game they’ve got to have?

Next: vs. No. 16 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2), 11 a.m. | ESPN

8) Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2); LW, 9

Last week: won at Arkansas 30-27

Not really sure why I had Vandy over Ole Miss last week – I saw both teams beat Auburn in back-to-back weeks. Rebels are better. A road win at Arkansas, which was starting to gain some momentum, proves it.

Next: at No. 6 Georgia (7-1, 5-1), 2:30 p.m. | CBS

9) Vanderbilt (4-4, 2-3); LW, 8

Last week: beat Massachusetts 49-7

Zac Stacy’s a little banged up … but he could be less than 100 percent and still run on this Kentucky defense.

Next: at Kentucky (1-8, 0-6), 11 a.m. | ESPNU

10) Tennessee (3-5, 0-5); LW, 10

Last week: lost at No. 13 South Carolina 38-35

They continue to be thaaaaaaat close to a big win. But it’s a results-based sport. (What sport isn’t, really?) This will be remembered as a very poor season in Knoxville, even if it’s a handful of plays here and there from being markedly different.

Next: vs. Troy (4-4), 11 a.m. | FSN

11) Arkansas (3-5, 2-3); LW, 11

Last week: lost to Ole Miss 30-27

It’s been greatly discussed, Auburn’s fall from grace. But that was over two seasons. Even if the Tigers don’t win another game – and they absolutely should, with two non-con patsies coming up – that’s a dropoff of seven victories from a year ago. Unless the Razorbacks (11-2 in 2011) can somehow knock off South Carolina, Mississippi State or LSU, their setback will be an eight-game differential … and that’s presuming a victory over better-than-you-know Tulsa, which can absolutely move the football on this Razorbacks defense.

Next: vs. Tulsa (7-1), 11:21 a.m. | SEC Network

12) Missouri (4-4, 1-4); LW, 12

Last week: beat Kentucky 33-10

Gary Pinkel says SEC > Big 12. Big 12 fans freak out. SEC fans smirk.

Next: at Florida (7-1, 6-1), 11 a.m. | ESPN2

13) Kentucky (1-8, 0-6); LW, 13

Last week: lost at Missouri 33-10

What did the Wildcats ever do to tick off the football gods? Injury after injury after season-ending injury.

Next: vs. Vanderbilt (4-4, 2-3), 11 a.m. | ESPNU

14) Auburn (1-7, 0-6); LW, 14

Last week: lost to Texas A&M 63-21

Here’s the keys, Jonathan Wallace. Not much you can do to make this worse, but use this week to gain some confidence, and then the Auburn family will see what you can do against the big boys of Georgia and Alabama after that.

Next: vs. New Mexico State (1-7), 11:30 a.m. | CSS

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