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The contenders are starting to separate themselves in the West, but the East is still a long way from over. Things should begin to clear up this weekend, where two SEC East matchups will essentially eliminate the losers from contention.

SEC Power Ratings
(Oct. 23)

1. LSU (Last week, 1) beat Auburn, 30-24
LSU is living on the edge, but managed to squeak out another close win.  At this point, you'd have to say the loss to Kentucky did not hurt their chances in either the SEC or BCS races. Win out, and they're in.  The biggest test remaining comes in two weeks at Alabama. Next week: Bye

2. Florida (2) beat Kentucky, 45-37
In a battle between two Heisman contenders, Tim Tebow came out on top, but Andre Woodson acquitted himself well.  Both of these guys may end up in New York for the ceremony. The Gators are back in control in the East, but there's no room for a slip-up.  Saturday is an elimination game for the loser. Next week: at Georgia (Jacksonville, FL)

3. Kentucky (4) lost to Florida 45-37
By beating LSU and giving Florida all it could handle, the Wildcats have shown they're for real. That's why I moved them up in spite of the loss.  They'll get a couple of easy wins the next two weeks while hoping Florida and South Carolina drop one along the way. Next week: vs. Mississippi State

4. Auburn (6) lost to LSU, 30-24
Just like with Kentucky, the Tigers proved their mettle despite losing a close game to a top team, and get a boost up in the ratings. They're probably out of the SEC West race, but crazier things have happened.  Next week: vs. Ole Miss

5. Alabama (8) beat Tennessee, 41-17
The outcome wasn't terribly surprising, but the utter domination sure was. Hard to believe this is the same team that lost to a mediocre Florida State team and barely squeaked by Ole Miss.  Now, the Crimson Tide are positioned for a showdown with LSU for control of the SEC West. Next week: Bye

6. South Carolina (3) lost to Vanderbilt, 17-6
This one hurt. It not only was the first time Spurrier ever lost to Vanderbilt, but it knocked the Gamecocks from the SEC East lead and they now must beat the Vols or essentially be eliminated from contention.  Next week: at Tennessee

7. Arkansas (9) beat Ole Miss, 44-8
Considering how closely the Rebels played Alabama and Florida, this was an impressive win for the Razorbacks. But with three league losses, it's probably too little, too late.  Next week: vs. Florida International

8. Georgia (7) did not play
As usual, the loser of the Florida-Georgia game will have little chance to make it to Atlanta. As usual, the Bulldogs are prohibitive underdogs. Will the bye week make a difference? Maybe, if Tebow's sore shoulder turns out to be more than a minor injury.  Next week: vs. Florida (Jacksonville, FL)

9. Tennessee (5) lost to Alabama, 41-17
The Vols lost to Bama, who lost to Georgia, who lost to the Vols. Go figure. This schizophrenic Tennessee squad needs to show up Saturday or their SEC East hopes are gone, and Fulmer's job is in jeopardy. Next week: vs. South Carolina

10. Vanderbilt (10) beat South Carolina, 17-6
I wish I could move them up after the big win, but there's no room further up the list.  Still, you gotta love when a perennial last-place team rises to the occasion. Next week: vs. Miami (Ohio)

11. Mississippi State (11) lost to West Virginia, 38-13
They're playing out the string now, but the next opportunity for a win won't come until the finale against Ole Miss.   Next week: at Kentucky

12: Ole Miss (12) lost to Arkansas, 44-8
The Rebels are pretty much in the same boat as their cross-state rivals.  Not many chances left to pick up that first (and possibly only) SEC win. Next week: at Auburn

 

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