Based upon their performances on-the-field so far this season:
1. Alabama 6-0 (3-0)
The Crimson Tide continued their undefeated season, despite a tough battle from hungry Kentucky. To me, one of the ways you can figure out which teams are legitimate championship contenders is to watch how they handle adversity. 'Bama got the win, even in a letdown/trap game. I can't wait to see them take on LSU.
2. LSU 5-0 (2-0)
LSU can still beat any of the other top teams in the conference, including Florida and Georgia. The question is, how will they handle Alabama? I think the Tide is a better team, but I also think that Les Miles may out-coach Nick Saban when the Elephants take on the Tigers Nov. 8.
3. Georgia 4-1 (1-1)
I may have the 'Dawgs too high, but I don't think so. They're loss to 'Bama was ugly, but their win against Arizona State was quality. They should handle Yew Tee just fine this weekend, and then they'll have an interesting game against the Commodores -- and yes, it's homecoming again (remember what happened the last time Georgia royalty took the field with the Black and Gold?).
4. Vanderbilt 5-0 (3-0)
I seriously thought about putting the 'Dores in third, because I think VU has better wins than Georgia does (beating Auburn, South Carolina, and Ole Miss is certainly more "quality" than just South Carolina and Arizona State -- and yes, I think either Auburn or Ole Miss could probably beat ASU right now, despite both their offensive troubles). At the same time, we won't see whether Vanderbilt is truly better until October 18, and the ASU win was on the road.
5. Florida 4-1 (2-1)
The Gators struggled in Arkansas until the Hogs ran out of steam toward the end of the game. Yes, it was on the road, but Fayetteville wasn't exactly intimidating (Reynolds-Razorback looked about as full as a Vanderbilt-Eastern Kentucky game). UF's wins include Hawaii, Miami (Fla.), Yew Tee, and the Hogs, and they've only traveled twice. And let's not forget that they couldn't beat Ole Miss (even if they had made the extra point, recall that VU held the Rebels to just 17 points and it was in Oxford). Again, we'll get a direct match-up soon enough, but if the 'Dores keep winning, I think I'm justified.
6. South Carolina 4-2 (1-2)
With their win in Oxford, the Warchickens are looking a lot better (losses on the road to a suprisingly strong Vanderbilt team and a close scrape with Georgia in Columbia). Also, people keep talking about Spurrier losing his mojo, but consider this: the Gamecocks are outscoring their opponents (despite two losses) 138-88. Not too bad for Darth Visor. This game in Lexington, however, may be exciting. And not in a good way for the Ole Ball Coach.
7. Auburn 4-2 (2-2)
I cannot believe that Tuberville fired Tony Franklin. Nor do I believe that it's going to do much for Auburn's struggling offense. And who fires coaches after losses to No. 6 and No. 19? I think the delusion-factor that's prevalent in the atmosphere and water throughout the State of Alabama (which often manifests itself in acute Bear Bryant Syndrome in Tuscaloosa), may be spreading to the Plains.
8. Kentucky 4-1 (0-1)
The 'Cats had the Bammers worried, and I think that if they'd had a little extra time, they could have pulled off the upset (that 40-second clock is both helping, see VU, and hurting, see this game, lesser teams this season). Big Blue is still 4-1, but their wins are a bit shaky. Their big win was against Louisville on the road, but they struggled with Middle Teasy at home (of course, we won't talk about the Games Of Which We Do Not Speak that include the Blue Raiders and Commodores). All things considered, I think South Carolina and Auburn are better teams, despite UK's better record.
9. Ole Miss 3-3 (1-2)
I thought the Rebels had something going after the big win in Gainesville. I have to agree with PhilipVU94, though: if Houston Nutt could just get the Rebs to hold on to the ball, they'd be in a very different situation right now. Nonetheless, they've still got a shot at their first bowl in 5 years, at 3-3, with winnable games still on the schedule: in Fayetteville against the struggling Hogs, an Auburn Tigers team at Vaught-Hemingway less one offensive coordinator (not to mention an offense of which to speak), Louisiana Monroe in Oxford, and Sylvester Croom's Bulldogs in Oxford for the Egg Bowl. I think 6-6 is almost a lock, and 7-5 is a legitimate possibility.
10. Tennessee 2-3 (0-2)
I thoroughly enjoyed the 12-9 score against Northern Illinois this weekend. Though I didn't get to go to the Vanderbilt-Auburn game in Nashville, I have been told that a general cheer went up when the 0-3 NIU lead was announced at Vanderbilt Stadium. In some ways, too, I think I'm getting more schadenfreude from watching the Vawls celebrate their win over NIU than I would have had if they'd loss. After all, if the Commodores beat Yew Tee now, there's still a good chance that we can knock them out of a bowl. Again.
11. Mississippi State 1-4 (0-2)
What's going on down in Starkville? Coach of the Year Sylvester Croom's Bulldogs have been up and down all season, starting with that embarassing loss to Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La. They looked to rebound with their win over S.E. La. State and a moral victory of sorts against the Auburn Tigers. But then came that schellacking by Georgia Tech. And then another close loss, when State hung tough with LSU. Hopefully, they're due for a "down" game against the Commodores at Davis-Wade Stadium this week.
12. Arkansas 2-3 (0-2)
While they're still struggling mightily, the Hogs actually have a better record than State. If Ole Miss doesn't watch out, the Hogs could pick up an SEC win there. They probably won't, but the Razorbacks can still go 4-8 (wins over Tulsa and Miss. State).