the RATING GAME
1. ALABAMA (7-0, 4-0 SEC)
The Crimson Tide has trailed for 15 seconds this entire season.
2. FLORIDA (7-0, 6-0)
Gators make reservations for Atlanta with a win over Georgia.
3. LSU (7-1, 3-1)
Under Miles, LSU is 5-2 after open dates, 3-0 vs. Alabama.
4. MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-0, 3-0)
Bama by 24? Someone in Vegas trying to even up the betting.
5. GEORGIA (6-1, 4-1)
Snarling among Dogs’ D is making UF RB Mike Gillislee smile.
6. SOUTH CAROLINA (6-2, 4-2)
After two painful losses, what will Gamecocks play for now?
7. TEXAS A&M (5-2, 2-2)
Aggies’ offense 0-2 against two best SEC defenses it’s faced.
8. OLE MISS (4-3, 1-2)
Have Rebels won their last?: at Ark., at Ga., Vandy, at LSU, State.
9. ARKANSAS (3-4, 2-2)
Wacky John L. aside, the Hogs have impressed with their heart.
10. VANDERBILT (3-4, 2-3)
Commodores are 15th in Rivals recruiting rankings. No, really.
11. TENNESSEE (3-4, 0-4)
They actually gave Dooley a hot seat from which to coach.
12. MISSOURI (3-4, 0-4)
UK-Mizzou will be great hoops, but in football, Rating Game ...
13. KENTUCKY (1-7, 0-5)
... calls this the Crummy Game of the Year in the SEC. P.U.
14. AUBURN (1-6, 0-5)
Chizik may need to beat Aggies or become a high plains drifter.
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Kentucky at Missouri, 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Ole Miss at Arkansas, 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
No. 3 Florida vs. No. 12 Georgia, at Jacksonville, Fla. 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
No. 22 Texas A&M at Auburn, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
UMass at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m. (FSN)
No. 13 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
IDLE: No. 6 LSU
All times Central
GAME OF THE WEEK
Mississippi State at Alabama
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (ESPN)
Most of the focus will be on the Georgia-Florida game Saturday. With good reason. The Gators wrap up the SEC East with a win, or the Bulldogs move into the driver’s seat in the division. But from a local perspective, the State-Bama showdown looms larger. These are the next two teams on LSU’s schedule, and what is essentially a three-team round robin the next three weeks should determine who wins the SEC West. Alabama has looked every bit the nation’s No. 1, but the Bulldogs have earned respect for their first 7-0 start since 1999. They are huge underdogs for what’s being billed as State’s biggest contest since losing to Tennessee in the 1998 SEC Championship Game, but they’ve carried the fight to the Tide before. Meanwhile, Alabama can’t look ahead to LSU, or it could find itself on upset alert.
AROUND THE SEC
Alabama QB AJ McCarron leads the nation in passing efficiency (183.6 rating), having thrown 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions in 154 attempts. Bama is one of two teams in the nation not to throw an interception this season — Louisiana Tech is the other. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger is 12th in the SEC in pass efficiency.
Aggies QB Johnny Manziel still leads the SEC in total offense, scoring and touchdowns scored despite not scoring in last week’s 24-19 loss to LSU and rushing for only 27 net yards. Manziel led the SEC in rushing but is now second with 100.4 ypg behind Mississippi State junior tailback Ladarius Perkins (103.4).