Florida was tested once again this week by South Carolina but held the Gamecocks off to finish off a perfect run through "SEC play "—no small feat.
As for Vanderbilt, salvation of this lost season can only be had through knocking off Tennessee, who dropped in our list this week after receiving a battering at the hands of mercurial Ole Miss.
1. Florida (10-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference)
The Gators spent yet another Saturday holding a very game SEC opponent at arm’s length for a full 60 minutes. They’ve been far from flashy, but they’re the champions until they lose, which most likely will not be this Saturday against Florida International.
2. Alabama (10-0, 7-0)
Every time Mark Ingram crashes through the middle of the line for a big gain, every single fan in the SEC gets a little more excited about Dec. 5 in the Georgia Dome, when Brandon Spikes and Joe Haden will be waiting for him downfield.
3. LSU (8-2, 4-2)
Two losses by 10 points or less to Nos. 1 and 2 in the BCS this season. On Saturday night, Louisiana Tech almost caught the Tigers brooding over what might have been.
4. Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3)
Who pissed off Dexter McCluster? His four touchdowns against Tennessee on Saturday doubled his season total, and the Rebels looked like the team many thought they would be in August...
5. Tennessee (5-5, 2-4)
Or was it just another egg from one of the most confusing teams in the SEC? The Volunteers have two shots at bowl eligibility left in Vanderbilt and Kentucky. For Lane Kiffin’s sake, they better convert one of them.
6. Georgia (6-4, 4-3)
Will their emotional last-minute victory against Auburn give the Bulldogs enough confidence to lock up second place in the SEC East against Kentucky and beat in-state rivals Georgia Tech in Atlanta in consecutive weeks?
7. South Carolina (6-5, 3-5)
The Gamecocks ran out of magic in the fourth quarter against Florida, extending another unsettling late-season SEC losing streak in Columbia to three games.
8. Auburn (7-4, 3-4)
The loss in Athens hurt, but pulling off a huge upset in the Iron Bowl on the day after Thanksgiving would heal all the wounds from an inconsistent season.
9. Arkansas (6-4, 2-4)
An easy win over Troy made the Razorbacks bowl eligible. Ryan Mallett’s breakout season has confirmed that there will be life after Darren McFadden and Felix Jones in Fayetteville after all.
10. Kentucky (6-4, 2-4)
The Wildcats will likely be playing in December themselves after dispatching Vanderbilt for their sixth win in front of a supportive crowd in “Commonwealth Stadium West,” as one sign dubbed the site of the Commodores’ fourth SEC home loss. Sanford Stadium next Saturday will be less complacent.
11. Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4)
The Bulldogs played Alabama tough for a quarter and continued to show that they are fed up with looking up in the SEC West standings. Bowl eligibility is improbable but not impossible.
12. Vanderbilt (2-9, 0-7)
The Commodores will be playing for pride and the utter collapse of the University of Tennessee football program on Saturday in Knoxville, and not necessarily in that order.