LSU bounced back in a big way this week by handling Texas A&M at Tiger Stadium.
The biggest changes are coming this week, though, when we find out just how good five of the top six teams on this list really are. A week from today we’ll have a much clearer idea on who will be competing in the the 2013 SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome.
Here are your Week 13 SEC Power Rankings:
1. Alabama (11-0, 7-0) – Last Week: 1; Beat Chattanooga, 49-0
Everything is on the line this week when top-ranked Alabama travels to play rival and No. 4 Auburn. The winner advances to the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide enter as heavy favorites to leave Auburn with the victory and with its hopes of a third consecutive BCS National Championship still intact.
2. Missouri (10-1, 6-1) – Last Week: 2; Won at Ole Miss, 24-10
The Tigers didn’t hit on all cylinders in QB James Franklin’s return from injury. A gutsy defensive performance helped Mizzou stave off Ole Miss, though. Now Gary Pinkel’s team finds itself one win away from clinching the SEC East.
3. Auburn (10-1, 6-1) – Last Week: 3; Bye Week
Nationally, the Tigers aren’t getting much of a chance to take down top-ranked Alabama. The Iron Bowl hasn’t provided many upsets in recent years, but the scene in Jordan-Hare Stadium – with the SEC West division crown on the line – should be electric.
4. South Carolina (9-2, 6-2) – Last Week: 4; Beat Coastal Carolina, 70-10
Coastal Carolina proved to be no more than a tune-up for the Gamecocks before they square off with rival Clemson in an in-state, top-10 matchup. South Carolina could still ultimately win the SEC East if Texas A&M beats Missouri.
5. LSU (8-3, 4-3) – Last Week: 8; Beat Texas A&M, 34-10
There might be no team with a more vastly different home/road split than that of LSU. The Tigers have dominant home wins over Auburn and Texas A&M at Tiger Stadium. On the road, however, LSU has lost all three game – including two by a total of six points at Georgia and Ole Miss. Saturday marked easily LSU’s strongest defensive performance of the season.
6. Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3) – Last Week: 5; Lost at LSU, 34-10
Sooner or later, it seemed like A&M’s offense would fail to show up and its woeful, non-improving defense would have no chance to keep it in a game. That bill came due Saturday at Tiger Stadium where LSU dismantled the Aggies. QB Johnny Manziel looked shockingly ordinary, leaving his Heisman chances in the ICU.
7. Georgia (7-4, 5-3) – Last Week: 6; Beat Kentucky, 59-17
A season full of injuries saw yet another one – and perhaps the most damaging – when QB Aaron Murray tore his ACL. Murray’s season is over, meaning QB2 Hutson Mason takes his spot as the Bulldogs new starter two games early. This year started out with so much hope for Georgia, which now doesn’t even look good for a New Year’s Day bowl game.
8. Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4) – Last Week: 7; Lost to Missouri, 24-10
The Rebels certainly had their chances against Missouri, but managed just one field goal on three trips inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line. That simply won’t get it done against a top-5 team in the nation. Ole Miss must find consistent toughness on short-yardage situations to take the next step under coach Hugh Freeze. A win over rival Mississippi State would give the Rebels their first eight-win regular season since 2009.
9. Vanderbilt (7-4, 4-4) – Last Week: 9; Won at Tennessee, 14-10
There’s been nothing impressive about Vanderbilt’s offensive performances since QB Austyn Carta-Samuels initially got hurt. Still, the Commodores have found ways to win four of their last five. Coach James Franklin has done a remarkable job turning around a season that could have gone sideways.
10. Mississippi State (5-6, 2-5) – Last Week: 10; Won at Arkansas, 24-17 (OT)
The difference between State and the last-place team in the SEC West clearly wasn’t as wide a gap as Bulldogs fans would like to believe. It took overtime for State to escape Fayetteville with a win.
11. Tennessee (4-7, 1-6) – Last Week: 12; Lost to Vanderbilt, 14-10
An utter heartbreaker of a loss to rival Vanderbilt leaves Tennessee with no chance of reaching a bowl game. QB2 Patton Robinette’s touchdown with 16 seconds remaining in regulation allowed the Commodores to steal the win late and retain state bragging rights. The only good news is the Volunteers close the season against Kentucky.
12. Arkansas (3-8, 0-7) – Last Week: 13; Lost to Mississippi State, 24-17 (OT)
At least Arkansas was competitive against an SEC team this week – albeit a Mississippi State team without its starting QB. The Razorbacks need a win over LSU to avoid their first winless conference season since 1942. George Cole roamed the sidelines that season. It was his only year.
13. Florida (4-7, 3-5) – Last Week: 11; Lost to Georgia Southern, 26-20
It took a lot for someone to come close to supplanting Kentucky as the worst team in the SEC. Guess what: Losing to Georgia Southern qualifies as “a lot.” Ultimately, though, there was just no replacing the lowly Wildcats as the conference’s worst team. The Gators’ loss clinched their first losing season since 1979.
14. Kentucky (2-9, 0-7) – Last Week: 14; Lost to Georgia, 59-17
One game stands between the Wildcats and a winless conference season – something that has become too frequent of an occurrence in Lexington.
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