Sports

Florida nearing conference cellar after Week 11


Florida had an embarrassing performance against FCS Samford this week, and the Gators find themselves near the bottom of the conference in this week’s power rankings because of it.

Vanderbilt spared Florida from falling to the very bottom of the Southeastern Conference by taking a loss to Kentucky, albeit a less inspiring win than expected for the Wildcats. Mississippi State continued to play spoiler by upsetting No. 17 Auburn, and No. 15 Ole Miss beat No. 11 Texas A&M to shake up the upper half of the conference rankings.

No. 25 Arkansas barely left LSU with a win, but top-ranked Georgia rolled through Tennessee on the road. Alabama barely broke a sweat against New Mexico State and firmly controls the No. 2 spot in the SEC, and maybe in the country.

Missouri narrowly beat South Carolina which should give them the edge over Florida in Week 12. Here’s how all 14 SEC teams stack up following Week 11.

14

Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6 SEC)

George Walker IV/Tennessean.com/USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week’s rank: 14

This week’s game: Kentucky 34, Vanderbilt 17

Next week: Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2 SEC)

Scoring 17 points isn’t bad for Vanderbilt, especially against Kentucky. Ken Seals was back after missing three games, but Mike Wright took over in the second half and capped off two drives with touchdown passes. The Commodores may have already missed their chance to finish anywhere but last in the conference, but the future doesn’t look so bleak for Clark Lea’s team.

13

Florida (5-5, 2-5 SEC)

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 12

This week’s game: Florida 70, Samford 52

Next week: Missouri (5-5, 2-4 SEC)

Things are bad in Florida right now. Dan Mullen may be celebrating a win, but 52 points against FCS Samford made the Gators the biggest laughing stock in all of college football this week. Does this team have a chance at beating Missouri next week? Not if they play like they have the past two weeks.

12

South Carolina (5-5, 2-5 SEC)

Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 11

This week’s game: Missouri 31, South Carolina 28

Next week: Auburn (6-4, 3-3 SEC)

South Carolina didn’t look nearly as good against Missouri as it did against Florida. Auburn shouldn’t be any easier, so it looks like the Gamecocks will finish 2-6 in conference play. They could stay at No. 12 if Florida loses to Missouri as South Carolina obviously has the tiebreaker over the Gators.

11

Missouri (5-5, 2-4 SEC)

Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 13

This week’s game: Missouri 31, South Carolina 28

Next week: Florida (5-5, 2-5 SEC)

Missouri beat the team that beat Florida last week so the Tigers jump from No. 13 to No. 11 this week. That makes the Florida game on Saturday a much bigger deal than anyone expected. Both teams are desperate for wins, but Missouri is better at sticking to its strengths (i.e. giving the ball to Tyler Badie).

10

LSU (4-6, 2-5 SEC)

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 10

This week’s game: No. 25 Arkansas 16, LSU 13

Next week: Lousiana-Monroe (4-6)

The record might not show it but LSU is one of the toughest teams in college football this year. The Tigers had no business competing with a ranked SEC team this late year in the year with all the injuries that have mounted up, but it took overtime for Arkansas to leave Death Valley with a win. I’d bet on LSU against any of the teams below it right now.

9

Tennessee (5-5, 4-5 SEC)

Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week’s rank: 8

This week’s game: No. 1 Georgia  41, Tennessee 17

Next week: Southern Alabama (5-5)

The magic wasn’t there for Tennessee to complete its second straight upset against a ranked SEC team, but the Vols still have a chance to move up the power rankings in the final two games of the season against Southern Alabama and Vanderbilt. Tennessee’s drop this week is more about Mississippi State’s solid performance than it is about losing the Volunteers to Georgia.

8

Kentucky (7-3, 5-3 SEC)

George Walker IV/Tennessean.com/USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week’s rank: 6

This week’s game: Kentucky 34, Vanderbilt 17

Next week: New Mexico State (1-9)

Yes, Kentucky got the win but it was far from the most impressive victory we’ve seen from the Wildcats. The Cats took the proverbial foot off the gas pedal in the second half, allowing Vanderbilt to score 14 points. NMSU is yet another chance for Kentucky to impress, but things haven’t quite been the same after losing to Georgia.

7

Auburn (6-4, 3-3 SEC)

Jake Crandall/USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week’s rank: 5

This week’s game: Mississippi State 43, No. 17 Auburn 34

Next week:  South Carolina (5-5, 2-5)

Auburn collapsed in the second half and blew an 18-point lead to Mississippi State on Saturday. To make things worse, quarterback Bo Nix will miss the rest of the Tigers’ season after sustaining an ankle injury the requires surgery to repair it. Auburn controlled its own destiny a few weeks ago, but key losses since then have changed the narrative for the Tigers.

Beating South Carolina next week must happen next week, even without Nix, because the Iron Bowl doesn’t look too promising right now.

6

Arkansas (7-3, 3-3 SEC)

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 7

This week’s game: No. 25 Arkansas 16, LSU 13

Next week: Alabama (9-1, 5-1 SEC)

Sam Pittman opted to go for two against Ole Miss instead of kicking the point after for overtime, but things went a little differently against LSU. The Razorbacks went into overtime, forced a turnover and scored the game-winning field goal. With his team now 7-3, Pittman’s decision in the Ole Miss game might go down as one of the biggest “what ifs” of the season.

5

Mississippi State (6-4, 4-3 SEC)

Jake Crandall/USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week’s rank: 9

This week’s game: Mississippi State 43, No. 17 Auburn 34

Next week: Tennessee State (5-5)

It’s been a wild year for Mississippi State. The season started with a massive comeback against Lousiana Tech, the Bulldogs handled a now 16th-ranked NC State team and lost on a bad penalty call in Memphis. Then, MSU lost to LSU before upsetting NO. 15 Texas A&M. They couldn’t get it done against No. 5 Alabama, but Mississippi State handled Vanderbilt the next week easily. Two more wins over ranked opponents (No. 12 Kentucky and No. 17 Auburn) and a loss to Arkansas have the Bulldogs primed to finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2018.

This is a good team and one more upset against Ole Miss could make them a great team.

4

Texas A&M (7-3, 4-3 SEC)

Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 3

This week’s game: No. 15 Ole Miss 29, No. 11 Texas A&M 19

Next week: Prairie View A&M (7-2)

A late interception ended the Aggies’ comeback hopes, but Texas A&M had something brewing in the final minutes of the first and half and opening minutes of the second half. With three losses, the Aggies are likely out of the SEC West race but they’ve played far better in the second half of the year.

3

Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2 SEC)

Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 4

This week’s game: No. 15 Ole Miss 29, No. 11 Texas A&M 19

Next week: Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6 SEC)

Ole Miss’ defense delivered against Texas A&M and Matt Corral was stellar as usual on offense. Corral had 247 yards and a touchdown while not being at 100%. A.J. Finley ran back an interception 52 yards for the game-sealing touchdown, and the Rebels should have a shot at finishing inside the top 10 once again with the win. Vanderbilt should be a breeze next week.

2

Alabama (9-1, 6-0 SEC)

Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 2

This week’s game: No. 2 Alabama 59, New Mexico State 3

Next week: Arkansas (7-3, 3-3 SEC)

Nick Saban refused to ridicule his team for giving up a field goal to New Mexico State in his post-game press conference and instead took the opportunity to bring up Samford’s score against Florida. As the kids say, I “don’t want that smoke,” so I won’t say anything bad about an obviously dominant team. Are they good enough to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, though? I’m not sure yet.

1

Georgia (10-0, 8-0 SEC)

Bryan Lynn/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 1

This week’s game: No. 1 Georgia 41, Tennessee 17

Next week: Charleston Southern (4-5)

Georgia is still the best team in college football, but the Bulldogs did give up a season-high 17 points to Tennessee this week. It’s not cause to sound the alarms just yet, but with Alabama presumably ahead in the SEC Championship, Georgia can’t afford to slip up at all. Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech shouldn’t pose any threat to the undefeated season, and it’s a good chance to rest up any banged-up players before the conference championship.

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