THE RATING GAME
1. OLE MISS (3-0, 1-0; last week: 3)
Is it better to be lucky or good? Rebels were both at Alabama and now have the pack chasing them.
2. LSU (2-0, 2-0; last week: 4)
Anyone remember how close the Tigers came to losing in Starkville? Never mind. History is written by the winners.
3. GEORGIA (3-0, 2-0; last week: 2)
Georgia put in Southern’s contract it has to bring its band. No clause on Georgia’s margin of victory, though.
4. TEXAS A&M (3-0; last week: 5)
Start of key stretch for Aggies: Arkansas, Miss. State, Alabama and Ole Miss.
5. ALABAMA (2-1, 0-1; last week: 1)
A conference long trampled by the Red Elephants eager to throw dirt on Bama’s dynasty.
6. MISS. STATE (2-1, 0-1; last week: 10)
Mullen and Prescott: Auburn’s starting a redshirt freshman QB who has yet to throw a pass? Yes, please.
7. TENNESSEE (1-1; last week: 7)
Talk about a Rocky Top: The Vols haven’t climbed past Florida for a win in 10 years.
8. FLORIDA (3-0, 1-0; last week: 8)
Gators’ offense still down a cylinder (or two), but confidence is peaking at the right time.
9. MISSOURI (3-0; last week: 9)
Mizzou’s drive chart vs. UConn: Cough ... gag ... sputter ... hack ... choke ... win. Ugly.
10. KENTUCKY (2-1, 1-1; last week: 7)
The Wildcats would take an ugly SEC win at this point to keep them in the East Division chase.
11. ARKANSAS (1-2; last week: 12)
Hogs lose game, war of words but go up a notch. That’s how bad the SEC’s cellar stinks.
12. AUBURN (2-1, 0-1; last week: 6)
Benching Jeremy Johnson? Why don’t you know that’s the last act of ‘A Desperate Man?’
13. S.CAROLINA (1-2, 0-2; last week: 13)
Retiring to the golf course has got to be looking better and better to Steve Spurrier.
14. VANDERBILT (1-2, 0-1; last week: 14)
Commodores taunt Austin Peay after win, but barbs are in Latin so they don’t leave a mark.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Tennessee at Florida, 2:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS)
Such a critical game for both teams. Not a showdown fraught with national championship implications as in years past, but a game that could make or break a season. Tennessee, which already lost to Oklahoma, can’t afford a deflating defeat with Georgia and Alabama waiting in October and still hope to remain an SEC East contender. Conversely, Florida is playing with virtually nothing to lose. After a narrow 14-9 win at Kentucky an 11th straight win over the Vols would, at least mathematically, make the Gators a factor in the East.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
LSU RB Leonard Fournette not only leads the NCAA with 193.5 ypg rushing, he has a 24.5 ypg lead on his nearest pursuer, Indiana’s Jordan Howard. Nick Chubb of Georgia is second in the SEC, fourth nationally, with 156.0 ypg. ... If rated as its own conference, the SEC West is once again the nation’s top-ranked league, according to Jeff Sagarin’s strength of schedule. ... Georgia coach Mark Richt (139 wins) needs one more win to tie ex-Georgia coach Wallace Butts (1939-60) for ninth place in SEC coaching victories.