Based upon their performances on-the-field so far this season:
1. Alabama 9-0 (5-0)
The Crimson Tide put an appropriate smackdown on Arkansas State, and maintained perfection for another week. That LSU game may be the "marquee" game, but it sure doesn't have the luster that we thought it would at the beginning of the year. Last week: no. 1 (same).
2. Florida 7-1 (4-1)
Any time a team is averaging victory by a margin of 54-12 over three games, you know they're good. But when they're doing that against SEC defenses? You know they're awesome. Apparently, that loss to Ole Miss was a fluke. Too bad the Commodores couldn't have caught the Gators that week. In Nashville this Saturday, it may get very, very ugly. Last week: no. 3 (+1).
3. Georgia 7-2 (4-2)
I realize that it won't come as consolation to the folks in Athens, but nobody in Red and Black should be hanging their head when they think about their team this year. Yes, these were supposed to be national championship Bulldogs, but who would have suspected that both Florida and Alabama would turn out to be literal juggernauts this year? The Dawgs will win out, and end the season with a very respectable 10-2 (6-2). Last week: no. 2 (-1).
4. LSU 7-2 (3-2)
The Bayou Bengals have certainly not lived up to the high expectations they were holding out for themselves at the start of the season. This week against Alabama is not going to help their case, either. It should be exciting, but I think the Crimson Tide should be able to hold off the Cajuns for another year. Is LSU the fourth-best team in the league? Maybe. But maybe not. A loss to 'Bama means 0.500 in conference play. Yikes. Last week: no. 4 (same).
5. South Carolina 6-3 (3-3)
The Gamecocks certainly had to have enjoyed being the cause of Fulmer's retreat from Tennessee. You know Steve Spurrier is loving life right now. Though their trip to Florida will not be pretty, the Sporting Male Roosters should finish the year with a handsome 7-4 (4-4). I know, not commensurate with their pre-season hopes, but still: a bowl's a bowl, Gamecocks. Last week: no. 5 (same).
6. Ole Miss 5-4 (3-3)
Though the Commodores had an open date this week, Mississippi looks like the team on the rise, and after Vanderbilt loses to Florida in Nashville on Saturday (giving the teams the same record), the Rebels will definitely be on top. Actually, ol' Houston Nutt has a chance to win all three of his remaining games (La. Monroe, LSU, and Miss. State), and at the very least finish 2-1. I think the folks in Oxford will gladly take 7-5. Last week: no. 7 (+1).
7. Kentucky 6-3 (2-3)
Though the record hides it well, the Wildcats are not nearly in as good of shape as the casual observer might suspect. After their schellacking in Gainesville two weeks ago, Big Blue struggled with atrocious Missisippi State. Now I'll grant that Starkville is apparently becoming a hard place to play (the 'Dores certainly were intimidated, weren't they), but still: UK can lose all 3 of its remaining games (though 2-1 is probably more realistic). Of course, no one in Lexington probably cares since the Wildcats are going bowling! Last week: no. 8 (+1).
8. Vanderbilt 5-3 (3-2)
Though the Commodores' record in the SEC places them in better position than both UK and Ole Miss, I'm still licking my wounds from the Duke Debacle, and I can see this season truly ending in the freefall we all feared but were afraid to talk about out loud. I'm also getting myself into the mental state necessary to deal with the game that's coming up this week, as the Florida Gators come to Nashville. A friend who was reading my thoughts on this week's game against the Orange and Blue put it this way: "Well, that was depressing." Exactly. Last week: no. 6 (-2).
9. Arkansas 4-5 (1-4)
Again, I recognize that putting the Hawgs ahead of Auburn when the Burnt Orange and Blue people have a better SEC record may violate my rankings rationale, I believe that Arky is the team on the rise. Just like that, they've positioned themselves for the possibility -- if remote -- of finishing with a non-losing season. And they've got a schedule that could help. If they're lucky, 2-1 is not impossible. Last week: no. 10 (+1).
10. Auburn 4-5 (2-4)
Is it just me, or does no one on the Plains seem to care about the rest of this football season? It's as though they're just showing up in their uniforms, running around on the field, and then going home. I like Tuberville, but I can't imagine that the Auburn people are going to be satisfied with just shuffling assistants and coordinators around at the end of (or in the middle of) this season. Fulmer may not be the only SEC coach hunting for a job in December. Last week: no. 9 (-1).
11. Mississippi State 3-6 (1-5)
Though Yew Tee and State both lost this week, the team that looked like it still had at least some life left in it was the one playing at home in Starkville. The Junior Dawgs still have another shot at an SEC victory when Arky comes to town before Thanksgiving. The question is, though, how will Croom placate the mob with another losing season? Last week: no. 12 (+1).
12. Tennessee 3-6 (1-5)
The freefall is complete, with the Vawls hitting rock bottom as they announce the end of the Fulmer Regime in Knoxville. It's hard to believe that this is the same coach and team that won the National Championship with a 13-0 season in 1998 isn't it? C'mon Vawls: your season is over, but you can still help Vanderbilt make bowl eligibility on November 22. I mean, you don't really have anything left to fight for -- so just mail it in. Please? Pretty please? Last week: no. 11 (-1).