14. Kentucky (1-3, 0-1 SEC): Changing the culture of a losing program is no easy task as Mark Stoops has found out. Stoops told the media today that his team will continue to get steamrolled if the finger pointing he saw during a 24-7 loss to Florida doesn’t stop. Wildcat fans should buckle up for a bumpy couple of weeks with a trip to No. 12 South Carolina this weekend followed by a visit from No. 1 Alabama.
13. Mississippi State (2-2, 0-1 SEC): The Bulldogs had a week off to prepare for this weekend’s tilt with LSU. Mississippi State has had success on offense lately so it will be interesting to see if they can keep it up against a team with the caliber of athletes that LSU has. Dual-threat QB Dak Prescott could give State fans hope for the future, but it’s doubtful he can pull of an upset of this magnitude.
12. Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2 SEC): If James Franklin is going to make it two straight bowls for Vandy then Saturday is a must-win game at home against Missouri. The Commodores cruised by UAB 52-24 last weekend. Running back Jerron Seymour was impressive with 107 yards and two touchdowns, but the defense allowed the Blazers to average 5.4 yards per carry with its own rushing attack.
11. Tennessee (3-2, 0-1 SEC): The Volunteers were anything but impressive in their 31-24 win over South Alabama. It’s obvious they were looking ahead to this weekend’s match-up with Georgia, but there’s still no way USA should be within seven points of an SEC team on the road. Junior quarterback Justin Worley threw three picks in the game. If he turns it over that often this weekend it will be a long day for the Vols in front of a national TV audience.
10. Missouri (4-0, 0-0 SEC): Missouri improved to 4-0 over the weekend with a 41-19 win over Arkansas State. Yet due to the fact that the Tigers have so readily adopted the SEC out-of-conference scheduling approach they received just 21 votes in this week’s coaches poll. A win this weekend at Vanderbilt wouldn’t get them in the top 25, but it would at least get the ball rolling.
9. Auburn (3-1, 1-1 SEC): Auburn had the week off to prepare for a visit from Ole Miss this weekend. Alabama laid out the gameplan to stop the Rebels offensive attack. Quarterback Nick Marshall has thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions so far this season. I think the BYE week could be big for him to review the turnovers and his decision making as he adjust to playing quarterback at this level.
8. Arkansas (3-2, 0-1 SEC): The Razorbacks put up a good fight in a 45-33 shootout with Texas A&M last weekend. Freshman Alex Collins rushed for over 100 yards for the fourth time this season and quarterback Bradnon Allen threw three touchdown passes. Allen also threw a pair of picks and the defense gave up 523 yards of total offense. Arkansas travels to No. 19 Florida this weekend for the second of its four-game SEC gauntlet.
7. Ole Miss (3-1, 1-1 SEC): Well it appears that Ole Miss should have just let sleeping dogs lie. Quarterback Bo Wallace boasted that his team could, and would, score on Alabama because they had better receivers than Texas A&M. Ole Miss fell 25-0 to the Crimson Tide. The Rebels turned it over twice and Wallace completed just 54 percent of his passes. A trip to Auburn this weekend would allow Ole Miss to regain the momentum it gained with a 3-0 start to the season.
6. South Carolina (3-1, 1-1 SEC): Despite a slow start the Gamecocks escaped Orlando with a 28-25 win over Central Florida this weekend. Quarterback Connor Shaw was injured early the game, but according to reports he will start this weekend against Kentucky. That’s good news because Dylan Thompson looked shaky when he was handed the keys to the offense, completing 15 of 32 pass attempts for 261 yards and an interception. Running back Mike Davis should be the focal point of the offense, he ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries Saturday.
5. Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1 SEC): The ninth-ranked Aggies can’t stop anybody on defense, but it doesn’t matter because no one can stop Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M offense either. In win at Arkansas Saturday the Aggies showed a new dimension to the offense as sophomores Trey Williams (83 yards and a touchdown) and Tra Carson (64 yards) took the load off Manziel in the second half with a running game. Texas A&M has a BYE this weekend.
4. Florida (3-1, 2-0 SEC): For the first time this season, Florida’s offense didn’t look eons behind its defense on Saturday in a 24-7 win over Kentucky. In his first-career start Tyler Murphy completed 15 of 18 pass attempts for 156 yards and a touchdown, and added 36 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Sophomore running back Matt Jones rumbled for 176 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Meanwhile the defense continued its dominance, allowing just 173 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. The defense gets a good test this weekend from Arkansas’ rushing attack.
3. LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC): The Tigers gave Georgia everything they had on Saturday as they came up short in a 44-41 instant-classic. Zach Mettenberger was sensational as he threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Jeremy Hill had to grind for 86 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Ultimately the defense just couldn’t get Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense off the field. LSU need a win this weekend over Mississippi State to get its confidence back before a big stretch to end the season in SEC play.
2. Georgia (2-1, 1-0 SEC): It really is remarkable what Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs have done this season. After a loss to Clemson, the Dawgs have taken down both South Carolina and LSU to remain firmly in the national championship picture. Aaron Murray has shed the big-game failure label in each of those wins. This time he threw for 298 yards with four touchdowns and an interception, while also scoring on a one-yard TD run. Making it even more impressive was that he did it with tailback Todd Gurley in street clothes for the second half thanks to a sprained ankle. Gurley is listed day-to-day, but with game a trip to Tennessee this weekend, followed by games against Missouri and Vanderbilt, it may be prudent to let Gurley rest up for the Cocktail Party.
1. Alabama (4-0, 2-0 SEC): Alabama dominated Ole Miss on Saturday in a 25-0 shutout. It was the best the Crimson Tide’s defense has looked all season long. ‘Bama allowed just 205 yards of total offense, forced two turnovers, and gave up just 4 of 14 third-down conversions. Perhaps the best bit of news was that the running game got back on track. T.J. Yeldon rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown, while Kenyan Drake added 99 yards and a touchdown. The Crimson Tide will host an open practice against Georgia State on Saturday.