With the final month of the regular season approaching, the SEC is taking shape. Here’s a look at our latest power rankings:
1. LSU (7-0): Western Kentucky hung tough with the Tigers for a little more than a half, but LSU pulled away late in the third quarter and went on to secure a 48-20 victory to remain undefeated. The Tigers are off until their Nov. 7 showdown with Alabama.
2. Alabama (7-1): The Crimson Tide’s latest victory required a fight, as they trailed Tennessee by a point with fewer than six minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Alabama pulled out its fifth straight win, 19-14. As with LSU, the Tide are off until their clash with the SEC West-leading Tigers.
3. Florida (6-1): The Gators, who remain atop the SEC East, were off Saturday but meet rival Georgia on Halloween in Jacksonville, Florida.
4. Ole Miss (6-2): The Rebels earned a much-needed win Saturday, dominating Texas A&M 23-3. By rebounding from their loss to Memphis the previous week, the Rebels remain in control of their destiny in the SEC West. With one conference loss, Ole Miss still has to play LSU (which won’t be until Nov. 21) but holds a tiebreaker over Alabama by virtue of its victory over the Tide.
5. Mississippi State (6-2): The Bulldogs’ 42-16 win over Kentucky is their third in a row and the third straight game Mississippi State scored at least 40 points. The Bulldogs evened up their conference record (2-2) and get next weekend off before a Thursday-night battle at Missouri on Nov. 5.
6. Texas A&M (5-2): The Aggies look like a mess after their 20-point loss at Ole Miss. The quarterback play was poor and the offense was inept. If not for a solid defensive performance, Saturday’s loss would have been worse. Back-to-back defeats to Alabama and Ole Miss make this team look nothing like the squad that started 5-0. They beat Mississippi State three weeks ago, but the way the Aggies look now, they wouldn’t beat very many SEC teams.
7. Tennessee (3-4): All four of the Volunteers’ losses have come by seven points or fewer. Three have come when they held a fourth-quarter lead, the latest being Saturday, when they led Alabama in the fourth. Three missed field goal attempts hurt. Progress is being made with the Vols, but they haven’t proved to be a true SEC East title contender as some thought they would be in the preseason.
8. Georgia (5-2): The Bulldogs were off this weekend and face Florida next weekend.
9. Arkansas (3-4): The Razorbacks were the winners of the SEC’s most thrilling game Saturday, outlasting Auburn 54-46 in four overtimes. After losing three consecutive games in September, the Hogs have now won two of their past three and are beginning to gain some momentum heading into the season’s final month.
10. Auburn (4-3): The Tigers lost a heartbreaker in four overtimes to Arkansas. Auburn fought back from a 14-0 deficit and got an admirable effort from running back Peyton Barber, but weren't able to pull it out. The defense wasn't able to get a stop in overtime, which was costly. Auburn is now 1-3 in league play, leaving it last in the SEC West.
11. Kentucky (4-3): The Wildcats have dropped two straight after starting 4-1 and didn’t look good in their blowout loss to Mississippi State. The defense struggled, the offense turned it over and quarterback play wasn’t good. If they want to be bowl-eligible, the Wildcats must find a way to get back on track.
12. South Carolina (3-4): The Gamecocks were off this weekend and travel to Texas A&M next weekend.
13. Vanderbilt (3-4): Finally, the Commodores earn an SEC win. Almost two years in coming, Saturday's 10-3 victory marked the first conference win of the Derek Mason era. With victories in three of their past five games, the Dores have something to build on heading into the season's final month.
14. Missouri (4-4): The Tigers have lost four of their past five, and there aren’t signs it’s going to get better soon. The Tigers have scored a combined nine points in their past two games, emerging empty-handed despite the defense allowing only a combined 19 points in those two weeks. Until the offense can get on track with true freshman QB Drew Lock leading the way, the Tigers will find wins hard to come by.