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Georgia moves to No. 2; Arkansas is last
There was some movement in this week’s SEC power rankings. Georgia jumped LSU and is now the No. 2 team in our rankings, but that had more to do with LSU than Georgia. The Tigers remain undefeated but have not played well in recent weeks. Arkansas plummeted to No. 14 after losing 58–10 at Texas A&M. The Razorbacks will have time to move up in coming weeks, but right now it’s hard to argue that Arkansas is not the worst team in the league.
Post-Week 5 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Aaron Murray, Georgia — The junior quarterback continues to shine for the surging Georgia Bulldogs. He completed 19-of-25 passes for 278 yards and two scores in Georgia’s 51–44 win over Tennessee. Murray ranks first in the SEC and third in the nation in passing efficiency and has completed 70.2 percent of his passes in three SEC games.
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M — Manziel threw for a school-record 453 yards and added 104 yards on the ground to lead the Aggies to an easy 58–10 win over Arkansas. The redshirt freshman from Kerrville, Texas, is completing over 70 percent of his passes and has 124 attempts without throwing an interception.
3. Todd Gurley, Georgia — One-half of the Bulldogs’ dynamic duo of freshman tailbacks, Gurley rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in the win vs. Tennessee. Gurley has rushed for 100-plus yards in all but one game and is averaging 7.9 yards per carry for the season.
Post-Week 5 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia — It was not a banner day for the Georgia defense, but Jones did his part. The junior outside linebacker recorded eight tackles to increase his four-game total to 32. He leads the Dawgs in both tackles for a loss (8.0) and sacks (4.5).
2. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina — Clowney was a key cog in a South Carolina defense that limited Kentucky to 70 yards in the second half. The sophomore only had four tackles, but 2.5 were for a loss (including one sack.). He is one of the top defensive players — at any position — in the nation.
3. Dee Milliner, Alabama — It’s time to recognize another Alabama defensive players. After having C.J. Mosley in the spot in recent weeks, we thought Milliner deserved a mention. One of the nation’s elite cornerbacks, Milliner had 3.5 tackles (with a half of a sack) and four pass break-ups in the Tide’s win over Ole Miss.
Post-Week 5 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Nick Saban, Alabama — The Crimson Tide improved to 5–0 with a workman-like 33–17 win over Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa. It’s hard to find a weakness on this team.
2. Will Muschamp, Florida — The Gators, 3–0 in the SEC with two of the wins on the road, were off this past weekend. They host LSU in a huge East vs. West showdown next Saturday.
3. Mark Richt, Georgia — The Bulldogs have made the move from very good to elite, but there has to be some concern about the defense. If the Bulldogs win at South Carolina on Saturday, an undefeated regular season becomes a strong possibility.
Post-Week 5 SEC Power Rankings
1. Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 5 result: Beat Ole Miss 33–14
It wasn’t as dominating as we might have expected, but Alabama improved to 5–0 with a 33¬–14 win over Ole Miss in a game that was never really in doubt. The Alabama defense continues to shine; the Crimson Tide have given up less than 300 yards in all five games this season. Offensively, the numbers (305 yards) weren’t great for Nick Saban’s club, but there were a few bright spots: Quarterback AJ McCarron once again did not throw an interception (he has no picks in five games this season) and freshman receiver Amari Cooper caught eight passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Also, senior placekicker Jeremy Shelly converted all four of his field goal attempts and is now 7-of-7 in 2012.
Next week: Bye
2. Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 5 result: Beat Tennessee 51-44
First the good news: The Bulldogs scored 51 points and moved the ball with ease (both on the ground and through the air) on their way to their third SEC win of the year. True freshman tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley combined for 295 yards and five touchdowns on 34 carries. The bad news: The Georgia defense isn’t quite elite. Tennessee countered with 44 points and 478 yards and had surprising success on the ground (197 yards). Georgia also lacked the killer instinct you’d like to see from a true national championship contender. The Dawgs led 27–10 early in the second quarter but allowed UT to take a temporary lead by scoring 20 straight points in a five-minute stretch.
Next week: at South Carolina
3. LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 5 result: Beat Towson 38–22
LSU is perfect in record only. After struggling to beat Auburn last week and stumbling through a 38–22 win over FCS foe Towson — which lost to Kent State 41–21 earlier this season — it’s clear that LSU isn’t in championship form. “To say that we made improvement — I can’t t say that,” coach Les Miles said in Miles-like fashion. “I’d have to say it was the same style of football that we played last week.” That style has been good enough to keep the Tigers undefeated to date, but LSU is about to embark on a tough four-game stretch that features road trips to Florida and Texas A&M and home games with South Carolina and Alabama.
Next week: at Florida
4. South Carolina (5-0, 3-0, SEC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 5 result: Beat Kentucky 38–17
The Gamecocks looked disinterested in the first half. They looked like a legitimate SEC title contender in the second half. The result: A 38–17 win in Lexington vs. a Kentucky team that played all but a few plays with a true freshman at quarterback. South Carolina turned a 17–7 deficit into a 21-point win by scoring on five of its six possessions in the second half. The Gamecocks’ defense limited UK to 70 total yards in the final two quarters, including only seven on the ground. Connor Shaw was once again efficient at quarterback for Carolina, completing 15-of-18 for 148 yards and two scores. In the last two games, Shaw has completed 35-of-39 for 397 yards.
Next week: Georgia
5. Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 5 result: Bye
Florida has passed two huge tests this season, winning at Texas A&M and Tennessee. Next week, the Gators will have an opportunity to prove themselves in their first big home game of the 2012 season when LSU visits the Swamp.
Next week: LSU
6. Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 5 result: Bye
The Bulldog faithful are anxiously awaiting the visit from Tennessee in two weeks, but Mississippi State must first take care of business next week at Kentucky. MSU struggled in it only road game this season, allowing 572 yards in a 30–24 win at Troy on Sept. 15.
Next week: at Kentucky
7. Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 5 result: Beat Arkansas 58-10
It’s safe to say that Kevin Sumlin made the right call when he tabbed Johnny Manziel as the starting quarterback at Texas A&M prior to the season. The redshirt freshman, who was once committed to play at Oregon, threw for a school-record 453 yards and added 104 yards rushing in the Aggies’ 58–10 win over Arkansas. In the last three games — wins over SMU, South Carolina State and Arkansas by a combined 176–27 — Manziel has accounted for 15 touchdowns. Texas A&M, which claimed its first-ever SEC victory, rolled up 716 yards of offense, averaging 9.1 yards on it 79 snaps.
Next week: at Ole Miss
8. Missouri (3-2, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 5 result: Beat UCF 21-16
It was a bit of a struggle, but Missouri snapped a two-game losing streak by escaping Orlando with a 21¬–16 win over UCF. The Tigers were outgained 395 to 346 and only converted 1-of-11 on third down but won the game thanks to two huge plays. Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2012, scored on an 80-yard touchdown reception (the first of his career) in the second quarter, and Marcus Murphy returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown to give Mizzou the lead for good in the third. James Franklin threw for 257 yards with one touchdown and one interceptions, and Kendial Lawrence rushed for 104 yards on 19 carries.
Next week: Vanderbilt
9. Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 9
Week 5 result: Lost to Georgia 51-44
There was were a lot of positive signs for Tennessee, but it’s nearly impossible to win in the SEC when the other team gains an average of 8.8 yards per snap. The Tennessee defense gave up more than 275 yards passing and rushing en route to the school’s ninth loss in its last 10 SEC games. On a positive note, Rajion Neal had another productive day running the ball, gaining 104 yards on 23 carries. The junior now has a total of 191 yards in two SEC games this season. Tyler Bray threw for 281 yards but completed only 53.3 percent of his passes and was intercepted three times. In two SEC games, Bray has four touchdowns and five interceptions.
Next week: Bye
10. Auburn (1-3, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 5 result: Bye
Auburn needs to find some answers on offense coming off the bye week. The Tigers have scored 19 points or fewer in three games vs. AQ conference teams. They rank 113th in the nation in offense, averaging 297.8 yards per game.
Next week: Arkansas
11. Ole Miss (3-2, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 13
Week 5 result: Lost to Alabama 33-14
Ole Miss took a step in the right direction — even in a 19-point defeat. The Rebels, who were torched by Texas for 676 yards and 66 points in Oxford two weeks ago, held No. 1 Alabama to season lows in both yards (304) and points (33). Ole Miss only gained 215 yards, though the Rebels did have two touchdown drives that went for 75 yards or longer. Bo Wallace received the majority of the playing time — he completed 15-of-26 for 123 yards and two interceptions — but Barry Brunetti and Randall Mackey also took snaps at quarterback. Mackey’s only pass was intercepted, but he did rush for 33 yards and one touchdown on four carries.
Next week: Texas A&M
12. Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 12
Week 5 Result: Bye
Vanderbilt took the week off after its humbling 48–3 loss at Georgia. Vanderbilt is 0–3 vs. FBS opponents, but it’s worth noting that those three teams (South Carolina, Northwestern and Georgia) are a combined 15–0.
Next week: at Missouri
13. Kentucky (1-4, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 14
Week 5 Result: Lost to South Carolina 38–17
Kentucky played its finest half of the season — and did so with a true freshman (Jalen Whitlow) at quarterback for all but the first series. The Wildcats led South Carolina 17–7 at the break but were overwhelmed in the final two quarters on their way to a 38–17 defeat. Kentucky gained a total of 243 yards and did not have a drive that went for longer than 25 yards in the second half. South Carolina put the game out of reach by scoring a touchdown on all three possessions of the third quarter with drives of 74, 57 and 79 yards.
Whitlow, who replaced the injured Maxwell Smith in the first quarter, completed 12-of-23 for 116 yards and two interceptions.
Next week: Mississippi State
14. Arkansas (1-4, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 5 result: Lost to Texas A&M 58–10
Yes, the same Arkansas team that was ranked in the top 15 in every preseason poll is now ranked 14th in the SEC power poll. The Razorbacks, who have yet to beat an FBS team, dropped to 1–4 overall with a 58–10 loss at Texas A&M in their first game outside of the state. The Hogs led 10–7 after one quarter but got outscored 51–0 over the final 45 minutes. Texas A&M took advantage of the weak Arkansas secondary by throwing for 499 yards — including a school-record 454 by redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel — and three touchdowns. Knile Davis continued his relative struggles, gaining only 54 yards on 18 carries. The preseason All-SEC pick now has 273 yards on 82 attempts in 2012.
Next week: At Auburn
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