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Alabama (barely) maintains No. 1 spot; Georgia moves to No. 2
We almost had a change at the top in the SEC, but Alabama rallied to beat LSU in Baton Rouge and hold on to the No. 1 spot in the power rankings. LSU dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 with the loss, while Georgia climbs to from No. 3 to No. 2.
Post-Week 10 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. AJ McCarron, Alabama — McCarron remains No. 1 on the list despite struggling for most of the night vs. LSU. The junior quarterback, however, came through in the clutch, directing the Tide on a five-play, 72-yard touchdown drive to take the lead in the final minutes. McCarron still has not thrown an interception in 204 attempts this season.
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M — Manziel and the Aggies’ offense made a respected Mississippi State defense look helpless in a 38–13 win in Starkville. Manziel completed 30-of-36 passes for 311 yards and added 129 yards rushing to lead the Aggies to their fifth road win of the season.
3. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama — The true freshman doesn’t have the gaudiest stats, but he is clearly one of the SEC’s elite players. Saturday night, Yeldon scored the biggest touchdown of Alabama’s 2012 season, taking a screen pass from A.J. McCarron 28 yards for the go-ahead score with under one minute remaining in Baton Rouge. He now has 739 yards rushing (on a 7.1-yard average) and 122 yards receiving.
Post-Week 10 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina — South Carolina was off on Saturday. Clowney has 40 total tackles, including 15 for a loss with 8.5 sacks.
2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia — Jones had three tackles, including one for a loss in the Bulldogs 37–10 win over Ole Miss. Jones, in only seven games (he missed two with an injury), has 52 total tackles, including 15 for a loss with 8.5 sacks. He also has one interception, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries
3. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M — The junior defensive end had four tackles and one sack in the Aggies’ 38–13 win at Mississippi State. Moore leads the team with 65 total tackles and leads the SEC in both tackles for a loss (18.0) and sacks (10.5).
Post-Week 10 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Nick Saban, Alabama — It wasn’t easy, but Saban’s team remained undefeated with a 21–17 win over LSU in Baton Rouge. Alabama, the No. 1 team in the nation, is 9–0 overall and 6–0 in the SEC.
2. Will Muschamp, Florida — The Gators completed their SEC slate with a 7–1 record, the only blemish coming two weeks ago vs. Georgia in Jacksonville. Last season, Florida went 3–5 in the league, its first losing SEC record since 1986.
3. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M — The Aggies have made a smooth transition to their new league under the leadership of Sumlin, who is in his first season as the boss in College Station. Texas A&M is averaging an astounding 550.8 yards of offense in SEC games.
Post-Week 10 SEC Power Rankings
1. Alabama (9–0, 6–0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 9 result: Beat LSU 21–17
They gave up 435 total yards — by far the most this season. They lost the turnover battle 2-to-0. Their quarterback completed one of his first seven passes in the second half. But the Alabama Crimson Tide won the game because they made the big plays when it mattered most. Trailing 17–14 with 1:34 to play, AJ McCarron led Alabama on a five-play, 72-yard drive that lasted less than a minute and ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Yeldon. McCarron went 3-of-4 on the decisive drive with completions of 18, 15, 11 and 28 yards. He only completed 11 of his other 23 attempts for 93 yards. While the Tide struggled for much of the night in the passing game, their top two tailbacks, Eddie Lacy and Yeldon, combined to rush for 159 yards on 22 carries.
Next week: Texas A&M
2. Georgia (8–1, 6–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 9 result: Beat Ole Miss 37–10
Georgia is now one win away from clinching its second straight SEC East title after rallying from a 10–0 deficit to beat the much-improved Ole Miss Rebels 37–10. The Bulldogs took the lead for good on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Tavarres King in the final seconds of the first half and then seized control of the game by scoring touchdowns on drives of 79 yards and 77 yards to open the third quarter. Georgia outgained Ole Miss 533-to-234 thanks in large part to a defense that shut down the Rebels’ running attack. Ole Miss tailback Jeff Scott netted 21 yards on 13 carries. The Georgia offense was led by Murray (21-of-28 for 384 with four TDs, no INTs) and tailback Todd Gurley (18 for 117).
Next week: at Auburn
3. Florida (8–1, 7–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 9 result: Beat Missouri 14–7
Florida’s formula for success — defense, turnovers and more defense — isn’t overly exciting, but it produced a 7–1 SEC record in Will Muschamp’s second season in Gainesville. The Gators gained 276 yards and converted only 2-of-13 on third down but won for the seventh time in eight SEC games thanks to a defense that allowed only one touchdown and forced four turnovers. Quarterback Jeff Driskel completed 12-of-23 passes for 106 yards — his fourth SEC game with fewer than 110 yards — and tailback Mike Gillislee was held to under 100 yards rushing (he had 68) for the fourth straight game. Still, the Gators did enough to win, with a 45-yard Driskel-to-Gillislee touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter providing the final margin. The Gators will win the SEC East if Georgia loses at Auburn week.
Next week: UL-Lafayette
4. LSU (7–2, 3–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 9 result: Lost to Alabama 21–17
There were so many bright spots for LSU, but in the end the final score — Alabama 21, LSU 17 — is all that really matters. Despite rolling up 435 total yards on the nation’s best defense and despite getting by far the best game of quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s career, the Tigers lost to Alabama for the second straight time. Mettenberger, who came into the game completing only 46.2 percent against SEC competition, was 24-of-35 for 298 yards and one touchdown. He made several key throws to keep drives alive and was a big reason the Tigers converted 10-of-20 on third down — an amazing stat against a defense as strong as Alabama’s. LSU is now 3–2 in the SEC and all but eliminated from both the SEC and national title chase.
Next week: Mississippi State
5. South Carolina (7–2, 5–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 9 result: Bye
South Carolina had the week off to regroup after losing star tailback Marcus Lattimore to a devastating knee injury. The Gamecocks won’t be heading to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, but they still have two very attainable goals — a 10-win regular season (only has happened twice before) and a six-win SEC season (only once).
Next week: Arkansas
6. Texas A&M (7–2, 4–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 9 result: Beat Mississippi State 38–13
In a huge swing game in the SEC West, Texas A&M made a big statement, pounding Mississippi State 38–13 with surprising ease in Starkville. The Aggies jumped out to a 21–0 lead early in the second quarter and were never threatened. A&M recorded 693 yards of offense, including 311 through the air against one of the SEC’s most respected pass defenses. Quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose legend grows with each week, completed 30-of-36 for 311 yards and rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts. Ben Malena chipped in with 112 yards for an A&M offense that is averaging 550.8 yards in SEC games.
Next week: at Alabama
7. Mississippi State (7–2, 3–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 9 result: Lost to Texas A&M 38–13
Just two weeks ago, Mississippi State was 7–0 and dreaming of a special season. Now, after two losses by a combined score of 76–20, the Bulldogs are 7–2 with trips to LSU and improved Ole Miss still on the schedule. MSU was outgained 693-to-310 and has given up 1,107 yards in the past two games. Tyler Russell was decent at quarterback, completing 19-of-30 for 212 yards, but the usually reliable Bulldog running game was limited to 98 yards on 27 attempts. Mississippi State only ran 57 offensive plays, compared to 97 by Texas A&M. “That’s as bad of a performance as I think we’ve had here,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said.
Next week: at LSU
8. Ole Miss (5–4, 2–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 9 result: Lost to Georgia 37–10
The Rebels jumped on top of Georgia 10–0 in Athens but were outscored 37–0 over the game’s 45 minutes. Ole Miss had success early on offense, with three of its first four drives going for 50 yards or more. But the Rebels struggled the rest of the way; their final 11 drives went for 20 yards or fewer. The final tally was a season-low 234 yards with only 12 first downs. Tailback Jeff Scott, who had back-to-back 100-yard games against Texas A&M and Auburn, was held to 21 yards and only has 71 yards on 34 carries in the last two games. Ole Miss is still one win away from becoming bowl-eligible, with games remaining Vanderbilt, LSU and Mississippi State.
Next week: Vanderbilt
9. Vanderbilt (5–4, 3–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 9 result: Beat Kentucky 40–0
Vanderbilt won its third straight game — and did so in convincing fashion. The Commodores jumped on Kentucky early, scoring touchdowns on four of five first half possessions and cruised to a 40–0 win in Lexington. Vanderbilt outgained the Cats 447 to 260 and converted 11-of-17 on third down (including 8-of-10 in the first half). The shutout was the first in SEC play for Vanderbilt since blanking Kentucky 6–0 in 1968, and the 40-point margin of victory was the largest in league play for the Dores since beating LSU 48–7 in 1948.
Next week: at Ole Miss
10. Tennessee (4–5, 0–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 9
Week 9 result: Beat Troy 55–48
The good news: Tennessee gained a school-record 718 yards. The bad news: Tennessee gave up a school-record 721 yards. The bottom line: The Volunteers beat Troy 55–48 in one of the craziest games of the 2012 season. Tyler Bray threw for a school-record 530 yards and five touchdowns and now has 898 yards with nine scores and one pick in his last two games. Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter each caught nine of Bray’s 29 completions, with Patterson gaining 219 yards with one touchdown and Hunter 181 yards with three scores. The big story, however, was a Tennessee defense that gave up 721 yards to a Troy team that gained 381 the previous week in a loss to FAU. “Well, it’s a bad defense,” UT coach Derek Dooley said after the game. “Just didn’t really have an answer for anything.”
Next week: Missouri
11. Arkansas (4–5, 2–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 9 result: Beat Tulsa 19–15
Arkansas kept its bowl hopes alive with a 19–15 come-from-behind win over a Tulsa team that had won seven straight games. The Hogs were led by tailback Dennis Johnson, who gained 109 yards and scored two touchdowns on 22 carries, and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, who had had 177 yards on 11 receptions. With at least three games remaining, Hamilton has a single-season school-record 69 catches for 1,077 yards. Arkansas jumped on the Golden Hurricane early and held a 10–0 lead at the end of the first quarter. But Tulsa kept things tight and took a 15–13 lead midway through the third quarter on a 29-yard field goal. After their next two drives stalled, the Hogs reclaimed the lead early in the fourth quarter when Johnson capped a four-pay 76-yard drive with a one-yard run touchdown run up the middle. Arkansas now needs to win two of its final three games to become bowl-eligible. The Hogs play at South Carolina and Mississippi State and host LSU.
Next week: at South Carolina
12. Missouri (4–5, 1–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 12
Week 9 result: Lost to Florida
Missouri ended its stay in the Big 12 with seven straight non-losing conference seasons but is already guaranteed of a losing record in its first year in the SEC. The Tigers dropped to 1–5 in the league with a 14–7 loss at Florida on Saturday. Missouri outgained the Gators 335-to-276 but was undone by four interceptions tossed by quarterback James Franklin. Making his first start since Oct. 6 (knee injury), Franklin completed 24-of-51 passes for 236 yards but was held to 29 yards rushing on 11 carries. The Missouri offense has a total of 590 yards and 17 points in two SEC road games.
Next week: at Tennessee
13. Auburn (2–7, 0–6 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 13
Week 9 result: Beat New Mexico State 42–7
Auburn overcome a slow start — the Tigers only led 7–0 at the half — and buried New Mexico State (which has yet to beat an FBS team this season) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Making his first career start, quarterback Jonathan Wallace completed 9-of-16 passes for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Tigers did most of their work on the ground, with Tre Mason (152 yards) and Onterio McCalebb (113) both topping the 100-yard mark. Auburn’s final two SEC games are against the two teams who will likely meet in the league title game — Georgia and Alabama.
Next week: Georgia
14. Kentucky (1–9, 0–7 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 14
Week 9 result: Lost to Vanderbilt 40–0
Kentucky was held to 260 yards of offense in a 40–0 loss at home to Vanderbilt. Quarterbacks Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles, both true freshmen, combined to complete 13-of-35 passes for 159 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Cats’ defense was manhandled by a balanced Vanderbilt attack that had 200-plus yards rushing and passing. The Commodores scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions. Kentucky has lost two straight to Vanderbilt (for the first times since the mid-1990s) by a combined score of 78–8.
Next week: Samford