SEC Ratings
Joe Cox
Editor-in-chief
Posted Nov 30, 2009
Randy Moore


All you need to know about SEC football is this: Two of the league's lesser teams - Georgia and South Carolina - were still good enough last weekend to defeat Georgia Tech and Clemson, respectively, who will meet in the ACC Championship Game this weekend.

Given that mediocre SEC teams are better than elite ACC teams, it isn't too surprising the elite SEC teams, Florida and Alabama, are 1-2 in the national rankings. The Gators and Tide won't meet in the BCS title game, however. Instead, they'll collide in Saturday night's SEC Championship Game. It shapes up to be an epic battle.

That said, here are this week's SEC Ratings:

1. ALABAMA (9.5): The Tide (12-0 overall, 8-0 SEC) struggled mightily with cross-state rival Auburn - as expected - in the Iron Bowl, scoring with 1:24 left to eke out a 26-21 verdict. Down 14-0 10 minutes into the game, Bama rallied behind Greg McElroy (21 of 31, 218 yards, 2 TDs) and Julio Jones (9 catches, 83 yards). Mark Ingram got dinged up a bit and managed just 30 yards on 16 carries.

2. FLORIDA (9.5): The Gators (12-0, 8-0) posted their 22nd consecutive victory, trouncing Florida State 37-10. Tim Tebow completed 17 of 21 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 90 yards and two more TDs. Florida outgained the Seminoles 545-269 in total yards.

3. LSU (8.0): The Tigers (9-3, 5-3) may have locked up a bid to the Capital One Bowl by nipping Arkansas 33-30 in overtime. Josh Jasper booted field goals of 47, 47, 41 and 36 yards - the last providing the winning margin. Jordan Jefferson was 17 of 25 passing for 179 yards, with Brandon LaFell (4 catches, 70 yards) being his preferred target.

4. TENNESSEE (7.5): The Vols (7-5, 4-4) also needed an overtime to prevail, nipping Kentucky 30-24 when Montario Hardesty dashed 20 yards for the winning score. Hardesty finished with career highs in rushes (39) and yards (179).

5. ARKANSAS (7.5): The Razorbacks (7-5, 3-5) saw their four-game winning streak snapped in a 33-30 overtime loss at LSU. The Hogs posted more first downs (24-18), more yards (375-326), more time of possession, fewer penalty yards (30-80) and fewer turnovers (1-2) but still lost. One reason: Ryan Mallett completed just 17 of 39 passes.

6. OLE MISS (7.5): The Rebels (8-4, 4-4) scarcely resembled a preseason top-10 team in suffering a 41-27 loss to Mississippi State in the annual Egg Bowl rivalry game. Jevan Snead completed 17 of 29 passes for 275 yards but threw three interceptions. Dexter McCluster ran for 82 yards, exactly 200 fewer than he had against Tennessee two weeks earlier. When was the last time a Houston Nutt-coached team was outrushed 317-90 yards?

7. AUBURN (7.5): Gene Chizik's Tigers (7-5, 3-5) outgained Alabama 332-291 and outrushed the Tide151-73 but fell victim to two turnovers and eight penalties in a 26-21 loss to the Tide.

8. SOUTH CAROLINA (7.5): The Gamecocks (7-5, 3-5) gave up an 88-yard C.J. Spiller touchdown return of the opening kickoff, then rallied to thump Clemson 34-17. Stephen Garcia completed just 10 of 21 passes but made the completions count by throwing for three TDs. Carolina's defense limited the heralded Spiller to 18 rushing yards on nine carries.

9. KENTUCKY (7.0): The Wildcats (7-5, 3-5) grabbed a quick 7-0 lead on Sam Maxwell's 56-yard interception-return TD but still saw the NCAA's longest losing streak stretch to 25 games in a 30-24 overtime loss to Tennessee.

10. GEORGIA (7.0): Mark Richt's Bulldogs (7-5, 4-4) salvaged some of their dignity by upsetting Georgia Tech 30-24 in the regular-season finale. Georgia beat Tech at its own game, outrushing the Yellow Jackets 339 yards to 205. Washaun Ealey (183 yards) and Caleb King (166) spearheaded the Dawgs' ground attack.

11. MISSISSIPPI STATE (7.0): Dan Mullen's Bulldogs (5-7, 3-5) finished with a flourish by knocking off nationally ranked Ole Miss 41-27 in the Egg Bowl. Backup QB Chris Relf came off the bench to rush for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also passed for 43 yards and two more TDs. So, where has this guy been all year? Tailback Anthony Dixon (29 carries, 133 yards) was his usual dependable self.

12. VANDERBILT (5.5): The Commodores (2-10, 0-8) mercifully finished their 2009 season a week earlier than everyone else.


Related Stories
Hardesty, Tebow share SEC award
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Nov 30, 2009
UK-UT game notes
 -by AllWildcats.com   Nov 29, 2009

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