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News And Views: SEC, Week Nine

Each Monday, we try to kick off the week with a long wrap-up of the previous weekend’s action.  Unfortunately, I’ve spent a good chunk of my day buying and taking cold medications.  Therefore, below you’ll find our latest SEC power rankings — The MrSEC Hot List — and an abbreviated take on each team.

Thanks for your understanding…


The MrSEC Hot List

1.  Auburn — Cam Newton is now catching touchdown passes?  And that wasn’t an easy catch, either.  Just one more thing for opponents to worry about.  Another: AU’s defense seems to be getting a little better.  I said a little better.

2.  Alabama — It’s time for the Tide to prove their mettle.  The Tide will go to LSU, face Mississippi State at home, and then host Auburn over the next month.  Win those and Bama will be in the BCS title game mix.

3.  LSU — I can’t stand the Tigers’ offense, but that defense is stout.  Forget what Cam Newton did two weeks ago.  There’s only one Cam Newton.  And he won’t be in Baton Rouge on Saturday when Nick Saban returns.

4.  Florida – A week off and a hurry-up scheme seemed to do wonders for the Gator offense.  Facing Georgia’s defense probably helped a little, too.  Urban Meyer said the win over UGA was his biggest at Florida.  That’s a huge overstatement, but it did give Florida control of its own SEC East destiny.

5.  South Carolina — Even if South Carolina loses to Arkansas on Saturday and Florida beats Vanderbilt, the Cocks’ game in Gainesville will still be for all the East Division marbles.  Against the Hogs, Steve Spurrier (or whoever is calling plays) needs to make sure that Marcus Lattimore is the primary weapon with the passing game playing a complimentary role.

6.  Mississippi State — A six-game winning streak.  Seven wins on the season.  Another good defensive performance.  Even if the Bulldogs turn back into a bumpkin down the stretch, Dan Mullen and Manny Diaz have done some great work this season.

7.  Arkansas — I don’t expect the Hogs to miss receiver Greg Childs against USC’s horrible pass defense.  Bobby Petrino has one of those pass-happy systems that can plug in backups when starters go down.  Still, it was stupid for an already banged-up Childs to be playing in the fourth quarter of a blowout.

8.  Georgia — Aaron Murray finally looked like a freshman.  For a half.  His second half performance against Florida on Saturday should give seething Dawg fans hope for the future.  Murray’s going to be good.  Now about that defense…

9.  Kentucky – The one week their defense plays a little better, the Wildcats offense takes a step backward.  Now a “better bowl” is likely out of the mix and you have to wonder about this team’s motivation from here on out.  They’ve lost five of their last six games.

10.  Ole Miss — Sartorially speaking, I rather liked the grey jerseys UM wore against Auburn.  They didn’t really help a team that’s still porous on defense and inconsistent on offense, but they beat the heck out of the black jerseys that everyone else in the country seems to be trotting out.

11.  Tennessee — Derek Dooley already had a mess on his hands and now he’s made the mess worse.  Rather than stick with Matt Simms at quarterback, he opened the door for Tyler Bray.  And rather than turning to Bray full-time, he’s still going to give Simms some playing time.  Trouble’s brewing.

12.  Vanderbilt — The debut of Des Kitchings as play-caller was ruined by the pregame decision to flip-flop quarterbacks on the game’s third series.  Any momentum the Commodores had was lost — as was the game — when a interception from VU’s backup gave the Hogs the ball deep in Vandy territory.  Now take Warren Norman away with a season-ending injury.

 


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