SEC Football: Power Ranking Every Team Post-Week 5
Georgia notched the biggest win in SEC play in Week 5 with its heart-pounding 44-41 win over LSU.
The Bulldogs solidified themselves as not only one of the best teams in the SEC but also one of the best in the nation.
In the loss, the Tigers showed that they, too, are talented enough to compete with any team in the country, particularly on the offensive end.
Meanwhile, Alabama remains the team to beat in the conference after blanking Ole Miss, 25-0. Even despite being shut out, the Rebels also showed that they might be better off than the rest of the SEC squads looking to rebuild.
14. Kentucky Wildcats
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This Kentucky squad looks more competitive than the 2-10 UK team from last season.
However, the Wildcats still aren't bowl-caliber, and it is clear that Mark Stoops' rebuilding project in Lexington is going to take a few years.
UK put up a valiant fight against Louisville two weeks ago, but was thumped by Florida, 24-7, in Week 5. The 'Cats only touchdown came off a fake field goal.
The next two weeks will likely bring two more losses to South Carolina and Alabama.
13. Tennessee Volunteers
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In a situation similar to Kentucky, Tennessee is in a rebuilding stage under new head coach Butch Jones that will last a few seasons.
The Volunteers looked strong in their first two weeks, but were far behind par in losses to Oregon and Florida.
They then rebounded with a game against South Alabama and nearly gave up a 31-7 lead in the fourth quarter. UT needed an interception in the end zone to seal the deal late.
That result doesn't give the Vols much promise for the next month, in which they'll take on Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.
12. Mississippi State Bulldogs
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After three straight bowl seasons, Mississippi State is set to regress in 2013 under head coach Dan Mullen.
At 2-2, with losses to Oklahoma State and Auburn, the Bulldogs will have an uphill battle to bowl eligibility with LSU, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas A&M and Ole Miss still on their slate this year.
MSU has been solid on defense, but thanks to injuries to running back LaDarius Perkins and quarterback Tyler Russell, the Bulldogs just haven't been able to pull enough together on offense to find success.
At full strength, they can finish strong and go bowling again, but it won't be easy.
11. Arkansas Razorbacks
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Arkansas was impressive in the way it hung tough against Texas A&M.
The Razorbacks were locked in a shootout with the Aggies, but fell short, losing 45-33. Despite that promising result, the Hogs have an ugly blemish on their resume in a loss to Rutgers.
Sitting at 3-2, Arkansas will have a rough road back to bowl eligibility with Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU still upcoming.
At the same time, the Hogs' rushing attack should give them a chance to play giant killer this season.
10. Vanderbilt Commodores
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Vanderbilt is the only team with two losses in SEC play thus far.
However, the Commodores' two losses were both hard-fought and to solid opponents in Ole Miss and South Carolina.
Vandy still plays Georgia, Florida and Texas A&M, but will have winnable contests with Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Next week's meeting with Mizzou will be a major step toward a bowl berth for whichever squad comes out on top.
9. Missouri Tigers
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There are only two undefeated teams left the SEC. One is Alabama; the other is Missouri.
While Alabama has a few quality wins, Mizzou has gone through a cupcake schedule, thus far, with its toughest opponent being Indiana.
All of the Tigers' tests still loom, as they'll have to go through Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, all in October.
Even with a tough upcoming slate, Mizzou is still set up nicely for a bowl berth if it can take care of business.
8. Auburn Tigers
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Auburn has shown its share of issues over the early part of the season, but the Tigers have shown off their talent as well.
AU is still a young team and looks to have some promising years ahead.
The Tigers aren't quite ready to compete for an SEC title again, but they're definitely poised to make it out of the league cellar and reach a bowl.
Their schedule is relatively favorable as well, as only four ranked teams remain ahead.
7. Ole Miss Rebels
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In its deflating 25-0 loss to Alabama, Ole Miss showed that it isn't up to par with the upper-echelon SEC teams.
However, it is also clear that the Rebels aren't too far behind. They have two key wins over Vanderbilt and Texas, thus far, and could finish the regular season as strong as 9-3.
A key tilt comes this week on the road against Auburn.
As Hugh Freeze continues to stockpile talent, the Rebels will climb closer to the top of the conference.
6. South Carolina Gamecocks
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South Carolina's only loss to Georgia isn't a bad one.
But outside of that loss, USC hasn't been extremely impressive. The Gamecocks have wins over North Carolina, Vanderbilt and UCF, but they weren't dominant in any of those contests.
While they are still one of the conference's strongest teams, it doesn't look like they'll have any shot at the league title, given the way Georgia has been playing.
USC's biggest game going forward might come at the end of the season when the Cocks could have a chance at knocking Clemson out of a national championship berth.
5. Florida Gators
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Like South Carolina, Florida already has a couple of decent wins under its belt, but also hasn't been particularly dominant.
The Gators' wins over Tennessee and Kentucky were convincing, but they'll need to show more to be considered a serious threat to Georgia in the East Division.
Their defense and rushing offense has been strong as usual, but their passing attack leaves much to be desired.
They'll have an opportunity to prove their worth in the next two weeks against Arkansas and LSU.
UF plays Georgia in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 2.
4. Texas A&M Aggies
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Texas A&M has one of the most talented offenses in the country, but also has serious defensive issues.
Those defensive problems showed up in Week 5 when the Aggies gave up 33 points to Arkansas. This defense is suspect enough that they could fall victim to an upset later in the season if their offense falters at all.
With only one loss to top-ranked Alabama, A&M still has a very attractive resume, but will need some help to make it to the SEC title game.
On the bright side, their lopsided play does set up for a potentially volatile shootout with LSU on Nov. 23.
3. LSU Tigers
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LSU has looked as strong as any team in the country, falling just short of an enormous win on the road against Georgia. Had that game been played in Baton Rouge, the outcome might have been different.
The Tigers have the most effective offense they've had in years, thanks to the prolific play of quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Even with the loss, they still have a shot at the SEC title—and potentially a backdoor route into the BCS title game.
LSU's leash is shortened drastically, as it can't afford another loss.
Key tilts with Alabama and Texas A&M will come in November.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
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Could Georgia still make the national title game?
It certainly seems possible. The Bulldogs look as good as any team in the country after their win over LSU and are in the driver's seat in the East Division.
UGA's only roadblock remains on Nov. 2 against Florida.
With Aaron Murray playing as well as any quarterback in college football, the Dawgs should be able to win out and have a rematch for the SEC title with Alabama.
If they win there, it would be hard to argue against their resume for a BCS title berth.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
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Until someone beats Alabama, the Crimson Tide are the team to beat.
Though they haven't been as dominant as expected, the two-time defending BCS champions have notched decisive wins against Texas A&M and Ole Miss.
The 'Bama offense has lacked a downfield passing presence, but its suffocating defense remains the X-factor.
Alabama has only one true test left in the regular season on Nov. 9 against LSU.
The Tide remain in control of their own destiny, so if they take care of business, they'll be playing for their third straight national title.