Based upon their performances on-the-field so far this season:
1. Alabama 8-0 (5-0)
It seems, ladies and gentlemen, that the Crimson Tide are "for real." Though Yew Tee fans may argue there was a turning point in a bad call by the officials (conspiracies afoot!), Alabama really never let the Vawls get close. The only challenges left are two Tiger teams (LSU, 6-2; Auburn, 4-4) that look significantly weaker than they did at the beginning of the season. If they can avoid Kentucky-style let down (i.e., their own "let down" against the Wildcats at Bryant-Denny), then they can finish undefeated. Last week: no. 1 (same).
2. Georgia 7-1 (4-1)
The Bulldogs get the number 2 spot mainly because of the quality fo the opponent to whom they lost (and I don't think anyone would argue that Ole Miss is better than 'Bama). At the same time, the Dawgs sure are catching the Gators at a bad time for the Cocktail Party. I mean, have you seen the margins on their last two games? They've won 114-26 (!) against two SEC teams. If I were the Georgia Bulldogs, I'd be seriously praying for some rain when I travelled to Jacksonville this year. Last week: no. 2 (same).
3. Florida 7-1 (4-1)
The Gators seem to be peaking at the right moment: just in time for the Cocktail Party. I guess Tebow's tears in the post-Ole Miss press conference really did get his team motivated. I dread the Gators' trip to Nashville in two weeks; there's a real possibility of a big ol' zero for the offense, if the Gators hold to form against Georgia. Last week: no. 3 (same).
4. LSU 6-2 (3-2)
Though the Tigers won't be world-beaters this year, they're still not bad enough to be ranked behind any of the teams below them. They still get a shot at 'Bama, though I don't think the Tide should struggle, and the rest of the way looks pretty favorable for a 9-3 rebuilding season and a nice bowl. Last week: no. 4 (same).
5. South Carolina 5-3 (2-3)
Though the Gamecocks were idle, that kept them from looking as horrible as Vanderbilt did against Duke. They were on the upswing when we last saw them (remember, only a key play here and there kept them from a big win over LSU at home), while the Commodores have decided to plummet into a black (and gold) hole of epic proportions. Besides: I think the Ol' Ball Coach will hand Phat Phil an ugly loss in Columbia this week. Last week: no. 6 (+1).
6. Vanderbilt 5-3 (3-2)
I briefly thought about dropping the Commodores down to no. 12, but I can't find an SEC team which, by my criteria ("performance thus far"), merits a higher ranking. I do believe, however, that unless the Black and Gold can muster some sort of offense, they're going to lose every single remaining game. Vanderbilt has to put points on the board if they want to have any chance of winning any of their remaining games (except, perhaps, against Yew Tee). There may still be hope for a non-losing season, but it's about as realistic as the chance that Phat Phil will keep his job. Last week: no. 5 (-1).
7. Ole Miss 4-4 (2-3)
The Rebels win over the Hawgs wasn't exactly pretty, but they did get another SEC road win -- not to mention revenge for the way Arkansas ran Houston Nutt out of Fayetteville. The Auburn game in Oxford should be pretty interesting, and I'd say it's a toss-up at this point. Last week: no. 8 (+1).
8. Kentucky 5-3 (1-3)
Talk about an ugly game. I can only imagine how the Kentucky faithful pitifully celebrated their safety, because I've been there, done that as a Vanderbilt fan. The only team whose season is crashing faster than UK's is Vanderbilt. Last week: no. 7 (-1).
9. Auburn 4-4 (2-3)
The rumblings for Tuberville's head are getting louder on the Plains. Now that BoJo's stock is falling in the Music City, maybe Clemson will look to their SEC twin Auburn for a new head coach. Looks like he may need a job. Last week: no. 10 (+1).
10. Arkansas 3-5 (1-4)
Once again, the Hawgs come up short against one of the bottom-half SEC schools. At the same time, they are showing improvement each week. It will be interesting to see how they finish out; if they can steal one from the Gamecocks in Columbia, they still make might bowl eligibility. I put them ahead of Yew Tee because the Hawgs' lone SEC win was on the road; Yew Tee's was in Knoxville. Last week: no. 11 (+1).
11. Tennessee 3-5 (1-4)
Who decided that a 2-4 team playing a 6-0 team merited national television, anyway? Anyway. Once we start getting down here, it's more of a guessing game as to who goes where. The Vawls' lone conference win was against Mississippi State in Knoxville, but it was, at least, a convincing win. Not so convincing are Big Arnge claims that they'll vanquish the Ol' Ball Coach this week. Last week: no. 9 (-2).
12. Mississippi State 3-5 (1-4)
Again, one could make a good argument that Yew Tee and State should flip-flop, but since Yew Tee beat the Dawgs, we'll let the Vawls avoid suicide for now. State has a winnable game against a fading Kentucky team in Starkville this week, and there's always a chance they could beat Arky and Ole Miss, too. Last week: no. 12 (same).