BR..lsutexasammain.120119 TS 2194.jpg

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, who has the Aggies up to No. 8 in the AP poll, will try to take another step against upstart Arkansas, which has already won two games this season, in one of two featured SEC games this weekend.

SEC Power Rankings

The final day of October not only gives us Halloween, it also brings us to the halfway point of this truncated Southeastern Conference season thanks to two games that will be played Dec. 12 because of COVID-19 postponements. While there aren't any blockbuster games on the six-game Week 6 schedule, mainly because there's only one unbeaten remaining, two Western Division matchups are rather intriguing. That would be the LSU-Auburn game in CBS' afternoon time slot and the Arkansas-Texas A&M contest in primetime. Even though LSU and Auburn have each already lost two games and neither is ranked for their annual meeting for the first time since 1999, the series has become known for close calls on the field and zaniness off it. Considering what has already happened in 2020, more of that could be in the offing. Later, eighth-ranked Texas A&M will try to solidify its second-place standing in the West behind Alabama when the Aggies host Arkansas. This game took on greater meaning when the Razorbacks, who haven't been relevant since the Obama Administration, scored a double-Magnolia State upset by knocking off Mississippi State and Ole Miss and comes in with a 2-2 record.

Sheldon Mickles

1. ALABAMA

RECORD: 5-0

PRV. RANK: 1

THIS WEEK: vs. Mississippi State, 6 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN

LINE: Alabama by 31

STORYLINE: Except for the first half of its showdown with Georgia and three quarters of the Ole Miss game, it's been smooth sailing for the Crimson Tide so far. Again, Alabama shouldn't have any trouble this week as a 30-something-point favorite against Mississippi State, which takes the Tide into an open date.

2. GEORGIA

RECORD: 3-1

PRV. RANK: 2

THIS WEEK: at Kentucky, 11 a.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Georgia by 15

STORYLINE: After being rolled in the second half of its Oct. 17 battle with Alabama, Georgia had a chance to sit back and take a look at everything during an open date last week. It's still not bad, but the Bulldogs know they can't afford to come back flat against a Kentucky team capable of springing a surprise.

3. TEXAS A&M

RECORD: 3-1

PRV. RANK: 3

THIS WEEK: vs. Arkansas, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Texas A&M by 10½

STORYLINE: At the start of the season, this one looked to be a cakewalk for Texas A&M considering the troubles Arkansas had against conference foes over the past few seasons. Perhaps it's a good thing the Aggies had an open date last week because the Razorbacks aren't exactly the pushover they have been.

4. FLORIDA

RECORD: 2-1

PRV. RANK: 4

THIS WEEK: vs. Missouri, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network (alternate)

LINE: Florida by 13½

STORYLINE: This could be a tight spot for Florida even though the Gators will be at home against a team that has struggled in recent years. But Dan Mullen's team hasn't practiced in two weeks in the wake following a COVID outbreak among the players and coaching staff. What's worse is Missouri has shown improvement.

5. AUBURN

RECORD: 3-2

PRV. RANK: 6

THIS WEEK: vs. LSU, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: CBS

LINE: LSU by 3

STORYLINE: Auburn struggled once again in its matchup with Ole Miss last week. The Tigers were on the ropes in Oxford when another controversial call went their way that allowed them to escape with a second questionable win in the past three weeks. Inconsistent play on both sides of the ball has been the culprit.

6. LSU

RECORD: 2-2

PRV. RANK: 9

THIS WEEK: at Auburn, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: CBS

LINE: LSU by 3

STORYLINE: LSU is going again with true freshman quarterback TJ Finley, who was solid in his collegiate debut last week. Finley played like a veteran in a must-win 52-24 bashing of South Carolina, something Ed Orgeron would love to see more of — along, of course, with a defense that has, to put it nicely, struggled.

7. ARKANSAS

RECORD: 2-2

PRV. RANK: 8

THIS WEEK: at Texas A&M, Saturday 6:30 p.m.

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Texas A&M by 10½

STORYLINE: If you thought Arkansas' win over Mississippi State in the second week of the season was watered down because of how the Bulldogs have played since, the Razorbacks made another statement with a win over Ole Miss. But, can they do it again against a quality foe on the road?

8. MISSOURI

RECORD: 2-2

PRV. RANK: 12

THIS WEEK: at Florida, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network (alternate)

LINE: Florida by 13½

STORYLINE: Missouri shocked the world when it outscored a heavily-favored LSU team on Oct. 10, then received an unexpected open date because of a COVID outbreak at Vanderbilt. The Tigers came back with a big win over Kentucky last week, but Florida in The Swamp isn't Kentucky, right?

9. KENTUCKY

RECORD: 2-3

PRV. RANK: 5

THIS WEEK: vs. Georgia, 11 a.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Georgia by 15

STORYLINE: Kentucky may have fooled us with its two-game winning streak, but that came at the the expense of two scuffling teams — Mississippi State and Tennessee —by a combined score of 58-9. Missouri brought them back to earth and now, they face a fifth-ranked Georgia team coming off a loss and an open date.

10. SOUTH CAROLINA

RECORD: 2-3

PRV. RANK: 7

THIS WEEK: Open date

TV: N/A

LINE: N/A

STORYLINE: Following its big home win over Auburn on Oct. 17, South Carolina was feeling it when it came to Baton Rouge to face LSU without starting quarterback Myles Brennan. But the Gamecocks' didn't feel so good about themselves after being manhandled by the Tigers. At least they get the weekend off.

11. TENNESSEE

RECORD: 2-3

PRV. RANK: 10

THIS WEEK: Open date

TV: N/A

LINE: N/A

STORYLINE: The good news for Tennessee is that they can't lose this weekend after a miserable three-week stretch that was capped by a drubbing at the hands of Alabama. The week off comes at a good time as it has gone from bad to worse in losing three games by a combined score of 126-45.

12. OLE MISS

RECORD: 1-4

PRV. RANK: 11

THIS WEEK: at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Ole Miss by 18

STORYLINE: Remember how close Ole Miss came to beating Alabama in that late-night game back on Oct. 10? Well, turnovers and spotty defense have taken them down the past two weeks against Arkansas and Auburn. Vandy, which hasn't played in three weeks, could be the cure for what ails the Rebels.

13. MISSISSIPPI STATE

RECORD: 1-3

PRV. RANK: 13

THIS WEEK: at Alabama, 6 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN

LINE: Alabama by 31

STORYLINE: This doesn't look like the same team that shredded LSU in Tiger Stadium in the season opener just a month ago. Three consecutive losses and the loss of four key players have taken a toll on Mike Leach — who at this point probably wishes he'd never left the relative solitude of Pullman, Washington.

14. VANDERBILT

RECORD: 0-3

PRV. RANK: 14

THIS WEEK: vs. Ole Miss, 3 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Ole Miss by 18

STORYLINE: After getting pounded by identical 41-7 scores at home in back-to-back weeks, Vanderbilt has had a couple of weeks off because of COVID-19 concerns. The question is will the time away from the field do any good? At least Vandy doesn't have to face Alabama this week, just 1-4 Ole Miss.

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com