One of our top teams lost over the weekend, but no way we're making a change after that defensive slug fest. But one team has cemented itself in the third spot:
1. LSU (9-0, 6-0): The Tigers were the survivors of "The Game" and should now officially be No. 1 on everyone's list. LSU's defense was absolutely ferocious against Alabama over the weekend. The speed that the Tigers have on defense is almost unmatched. Some will say that LSU's offense was hard to look at, but that's only because LSU had to deal with an equally tough sledgehammer on the other side of the ball. The bottom line is that LSU runs a near-perfect game plan each week. Coach Les Miles just finds ways to win and that's exactly what LSU did against a team that could have easily been slotted at No. 1 entering Saturday.
2. Alabama (8-1, 5-1): If not for an awful kicking game, Alabama might be No. 1 here. The Crimson Tide made mistakes we didn't think Alabama was capable of making against LSU. There will be a lot of second-guessing around Alabama's program after some questionable calls Saturday. But don't think this counts Alabama out of achieving its goals. There's a slight chance the Tide could end up in the SEC title game and even the national championship. As long as Alabama takes care of its own business and gets some help, everything can still be achieved by this team.
3. Arkansas (8-1, 4-1): While most of college football's eyes were on Tuscaloosa, Ala., Arkansas was busy taking care of things in Fayetteville, Ark. The Razorbacks had struggled with slow starts, but scored first for the first time since the Troy game Saturday before defeating South Carolina 44-28. The win over the ninth-ranked Gamecocks was as complete a win as Arkansas has had this season. There was some bend in the defense, but when the Hogs needed a stop it was made, and when they needed the ball back, the got it ... four times. Arkansas is right back in the SEC West race and is clearly in the third slot in the SEC.
4. Georgia (7-2, 5-1): From left for dead to at the top of the East, Georgia finally controls its own destiny to Atlanta. Georgia put up 63 points over the weekend, scoring 42 in the second quarter, without three of its running backs. It was against New Mexico State, but in a game where the Bulldogs could have played down to their competition, Georgia came out hot. Now, a win over Auburn this coming weekend all but locks up the East for the Bulldogs.
5. South Carolina (7-2, 5-2): At the beginning of the year, South Carolina was the overwhelming favorite to win the East, but now the Gamecocks are on the outside looking in. South Carolina must beat Florida and hope for another conference loss by Georgia if the Gamecocks want to get back to the Georgia Dome. It's been an up-and-down season for South Carolina, and even when the offense finally found ways to get into the end zone against Arkansas, the defense broke down. If the Gamecocks don't make it to the title game, they'll look back at a handful of chances that got away from them this season.
6. Auburn (6-3, 4-2): The Tigers were off this week, but Auburn has a chance to play spoiler for Georgia this weekend. That extra time should make for a much more refreshed Auburn team. We've seen the growing pains that the Tigers have struggled through this season, but we've also seen great resiliency from this team. For such a young team, the Tigers have played like vets out there at times and that's why Auburn has six wins after losing a slew of talent from last year's national championship team. The future looks bright on the Plains.
7. Florida (5-4, 3-4): It looks like all Florida needed was to get out of the month of October and get back home. After dropping all four October games, the Gators pulled a close one out against Vanderbilt at home, but they still have major issues on both sides of the ball. The win had to instill some confidence back in this team, but now might be the time for the Gators to just let loose. Having that nothing-to-lose attitude might be what this team needs to end the regular season on a high note. Florida is a win away from being bowl eligible, but losses to South Carolina and Florida State will make Will Muschamp's first year hard to look at.
8. Mississippi State (5-4, 1-4): The Bulldogs have now won two games in a row for the first time all season. This certainly isn't the season those in Starkville, Miss., envisioned, but that struggling offense that plagued this team for most of the season was shelved over the weekend. Against Tennessee-Martin, the Bulldogs got 570 yards of offense. It wasn't against an SEC team, but coach Dan Mullen had to feel much better about Saturday's performance. Mississippi State is still a win away from being bowl eligible. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Alabama and Arkansas are next on the list.
9. Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-5): Coach James Franklin keeps telling us that this isn't the same old Vanderbilt, and he's right. However, this team still finds ways to come up short in the big games. The Commodores have lost their last three conference games by a combined 13 points and might have gotten their first win in Gainesville, Fla., since 1945 if not for Jordan Reed's clutch catch on Vanderbilt's onside kick late in the fourth. But before that, silly penalties and miscues on offense hurt the Dores in the first half. The energy, confidence and play is certainly different for this program, but the outcomes against conference opponents remains the same.
10. Tennessee (4-5, 0-5): True freshman Justin Worley made his second start of the season over the weekend and guided the Vols to a 24-0 win over Middle Tennessee, completing 23 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown. The win means Tennessee is two wins away from becoming bowl eligible, but it won't be easy for the Vols to get to that number. The youth of this team has to keep from wearing down this late in the season in order for the Vols to get to six wins. Tennessee has to travel to Arkansas this week and finishes the season against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. We'll learn just how much fight is left in this team from here on out.
11. Kentucky (4-5, 1-4): The Wildcats got their first conference win and looked dominant in the process. Kentucky blew out Ole Miss 30-13 over the weekend. Maxwell Smith took over the quarterbacking duties and had quite the day against the Rebels' defense. It looked like this would be the year that the bowl streak would end for the Wildcats, but Kentucky can't be counted out just yet. There also might be a little controversy brewing in Lexington, Ky., after Smith's performance while Morgan Newton was out. It might be time for coach Joker Phillips to take a hard look at his quarterback situation.
12. Ole Miss (2-7, 0-6): Things can't get much worse for the Rebels this year. This was supposed to be a season of improvement for Ole Miss and it looks as if reaching last year's four-win mark could be a stretch, with LSU and Mississippi State still on the schedule. If Houston Nutt wasn't close to being pushed out of the door before Saturday, he might have at least one foot out after losing by nearly 20 to a Kentucky team that had topped the 30-point mark just once before the weekend. Things are not getting better in Oxford, Miss., and changes in the near future would be far from surprising.