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SEC power rankings

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The first official BCS standings were released Sunday, and Florida was on top, followed by No. 2 Alabama.

But in this week’s SEC power rankings, that order was reversed. The Crimson Tide remain on top for the fourth straight week.

If you really want a difficult task, try ranking the teams in this league after the first two. There's not a lot of separation between the third best team and ninth best team:

1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0) have gone eight straight quarters without allowing a touchdown and have turned Mark Ingram loose on offense. The sophomore running back rushed for 246 yards in the 20-6 win over South Carolina, the most yards ever in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide haven’t been perfect, but they have been the most complete team in the league.

2. Florida: Tim Tebow and a couple of generous penalties saved the Gators (6-0, 4-0) in their 23-20 escape at home against Arkansas. There are some warning signs on offense, and Tebow was sacked six times. But given the chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, Tebow got it done … again.

3. LSU: Everybody’s sort of forgotten about the Tigers (5-1, 3-1) after their home loss to Florida two weeks ago. But coming off an open date, they still control their own destiny in the Western Division. If they win out, they will play in the SEC championship game. That quest starts Saturday at home against a reeling Auburn team.

4. South Carolina: The Gamecocks (5-2, 2-2) and Stephen Garcia would love to have that pass in the first 62 seconds of the game back, the one Mark Barron took back for a touchdown. Otherwise, South Carolina played Alabama straight up, although the Gamecocks’ tackling could stand to be a little crisper. Now they have to prove they can finish a season.

5. Ole Miss: Jevan Snead responded with the big game everybody had been waiting for in the 48-13 win over UAB. Snead and the Rebels (4-2, 1-2) are still searching for their first quality win, though, and face an improving Arkansas team on Saturday in Oxford. It’s a game Ole Miss has to win if it wants to have any chance of making this season a successful one after a disappointing start.

6. Arkansas: The Hogs (3-3, 1-3) don’t have a glistening record, but two of their losses were to the top two-ranked teams in the country, most recently Florida. Arkansas’ defense has made tremendous improvement, which makes this a dangerous club the rest of the way. The Hogs probably deserved better at the Swamp and were the victim of a couple of bad calls.

7. Tennessee: When last heard from, the Vols (3-3, 1-2) were in the process of destroying Georgia. They were off last week and should be pretty healthy going to Alabama on Saturday. Monte Kiffin has been watching a ton of film on the Crimson Tide. The Vols will need a memorable day from the defense to have a chance in this game.

8. Georgia: After two straight losses, the Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2) can breathe a little easier this week after pulling away from Vanderbilt for a 34-10 win. But there’s still plenty to prove. They get a week off before squaring off with Florida Oct. 31. One way or another, that game will dictate how this season is remembered in Dawg Land.

9. Kentucky: The Wildcats (3-3, 1-3) aren’t dead after all. They reached down deep despite missing starting quarterback Mike Hartline and starting cornerback Trevard Lindley and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 21-14 win at Auburn. In doing so, Kentucky kept alive its hopes of getting to a bowl for a fourth straight year.

10. Auburn: How different does this Auburn team look now as compared to three weeks ago? The Tigers (5-2, 2-2) have lost two in a row, including the 21-14 setback to Kentucky at home last week. Defense has been the major stumbling block. The Tigers can’t stop anybody, but their offense also let them down in the loss to the Wildcats.

11. Mississippi State: After coming so close to breaking through in the previous three weeks, the Bulldogs (3-4, 1-2) went on the road to Middle Tennessee and won 27-6 behind another strong rushing performance from Anthony Dixon. This is a team that’s improved probably more than its record says. Dan Mullen goes up against his mentor, Urban Meyer, this Saturday.

12. Vanderbilt: It’s hard to imagine it getting much worse for the Commodores (2-5, 0-3) on offense. They’ve lost five of their last six games and haven’t scored more than 13 points in any of those five losses. Any chances of going to a second straight bowl game are quickly disappearing. They get South Carolina this Saturday and have won the last two against the Gamecocks.