Wednesday, September 3, 2014 · 12:41 a.m.

The SEC Roundup: Week 10

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Georgia coach Mark Richt. (Photo: David Johnston)

Welcome to the SEC roundup. Nooga.com will look back, look ahead and rank all the SEC teams each Thursday as they prepare for the upcoming week of SEC action.

1. Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC)

Even a relatively hot Tennessee squad was no match for the Tide. Alabama jumped out to a 35-0 lead and cruised to a 45-10 win over one of its biggest rivals. Since its 49-42 win over Texas A&M in Week 2, nobody has come close to the nation’s top-ranked team. Alabama has outscored its last eight opponents 246 to 26. The Tide will have a week off before preparing for a four-game stretch against LSU, Mississippi State, UTC and Auburn. Quarterback AJ McCarron is quietly putting together a nice Heisman campaign. 

Last week: Alabama 45, Tennessee 10

This week: BYE

2. Auburn (7-1, 3-1)

The Tigers faced little resistance last week against Florida Atlantic in a 45-10 win. They remain one of the best rushing teams in the nation, now averaging over 315 yards per game. Auburn should be the favorite in its next three games – Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia – potentially setting up the game of the year against Alabama in the Iron Bowl. But the Tigers will need to stay focused on a week-to-week basis. They are talented, but still young, and the defense has been inconsistent at times this season.

Last week: Auburn 45, Florida Atlantic 10

This week: at Arkansas

3. Missouri (7-1, 3-1)

With a 17-0 lead over South Carolina heading into the fourth quarter, Missouri looked to be well on it way to virtually wrapping up the SEC East. South Carolina wouldn’t be denied, though. The Gamecocks scored 17 in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard field goal attempt in the second frame of OT, ending the Tigers perfect season. Missouri still has a lot to play for, though. The Tigers control their own destiny in the SEC East. If they win out, including the SEC championship, they could still be a dark horse in the national title race as well.

Last week: South Carolina 27, Missouri 24  (2OT)

This week: vs. Tennessee

4. Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2) 

The Aggies got back on track after throttling Vanderbilt 56-24. A 28-17 halftime edge turned into a blowout after Texas A&M outscored the Commodores 21-0 in the third quarter. Quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was questionable with a shoulder injury, proved he was healthy enough by throwing for 305 yards and four touchdowns. The Aggies should be fine against 1-6 UTEP this week, but late-season tests against LSU and Missouri are looming.

Last week: Texas A&M 56, Vanderbilt 24

This week: vs. UTEP

5. LSU (6-2, 3-2)

LSU’s game against Furman was uncomfortably close at halftime with the Tigers only leading 20-16 at the break. But 28 unanswered points in the second half gave LSU the 48-16 edge and the expected blowout over the SoCon squad. The Tigers got big offensive performances from running back Jeremy Hill (14 carries, 143 yards, 2 TDs) and receiver Odell Beckham (6 catches, 204 yards, 2 TDs). LSU is off this week with a trip to No. 1 Alabama looming the following week.

Last week: LSU 48, Furman 16

This week: BYE

6. South Carolina (5-2, 3-2)

The Gamecocks might’ve pulled off the comeback win of the season at Missouri. In doing so, they kept themselves alive in the SEC East race as well. Down 17 in the fourth quarter, a gimpy Connor Shaw, who didn’t start due to injury, engineered the comeback that ended in a double-overtime win for South Carolina. Despite playing less than a full half, Shaw still threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns in relief of Dylan Thompson. A Tennessee win over Missouri combined with a Florida win over Georgia would put the Gamecocks back in control of their own destiny in the SEC East.

Last week: South Carolina 27, Missouri 24 (2OT)

This week: vs. Mississippi State

7. Ole Miss (5-3, 2-3)

After facing some brutal competition earlier in the season, the Rebels get to enjoy an easier stretch of the schedule now. They easily knocked off Idaho 59-14 last weekend and now they get a week off before facing Arkansas and Troy the following two weeks. Getting injured running back Jeff Scott back to 100 percent will be one of the goals of the off week, though backups I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton have done a good job in his absence.

Last week: Ole Miss 59, Idaho 14

This week: BYE

8. Georgia (4-3, 3-2)

Perhaps no team in the nation needed a bye week as much as Georgia. The bruised and battered Bulldogs are hoping to get star running back Todd Gurley and receiver Michael Bennett back this week to face rival Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., in what is unofficially known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Missouri’s loss last week gave both Georgia and Florida hope in the SEC East, but the loser of this game will be virtually out of the hunt.

Last week: BYE

This week: vs. Florida (in Jacksonville, Fla.)

9. Florida (4-3, 3-2)

After two consecutive losses, the Gators needed a week off as well. Injuries have knocked out key contributors such as quarterback Jeff Driskel, defensive lineman Dominique Easley and running back Matt Jones, but despite that, the Gators are hanging on in the SEC East battle by a thread. Their matchup against Georgia will be interesting to watch – it’ll feature a good Georgia offense against a good Florida defense and a bad Florida offense against a bad UGA defense. Whoever can best mask their weakness could come out on top in this one.

Last week: BYE

This week: vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville, Fla.)

10. Tennessee (4-4, 1-3)

After upsetting South Carolina the week before, Alabama gave Tennessee a humbling reality check. The game was never really in doubt after the first quarter as Alabama rolled to a 35-0 lead by halftime. Quarterback Justin Worley (thumb) could miss the rest of the regular season, meaning true freshman Joshua Dobbs, who made his debut in the second half at Alabama, will start this week when the Vols travel to Missouri. Tennessee hasn’t defeated a ranked team on the road since 2006.

Last week: Alabama 45, Tennessee 10

This week: at Missouri

11. Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4)

Riding high after knocking off Georgia the week before, the Commodores were brought back to reality in a blowout loss at Texas A&M. Redshirt freshman quarterback Patton Robinette, starting in place of the injured Austyn Carta-Samuels, had a tough debut, throwing two interceptions and taking five sacks. The Commodores, however, remain in good position to land a third-straight bowl birth. They are off this week before taking on Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest. Vandy has a reasonable shot at winning at least two of those final four and returning to the postseason.

Last week: Texas A&M 56, Vanderbilt 24

This week: BYE

12. Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2)

The Bulldogs' narrow 28-22 win over Kentucky gave the program its first SEC victory since November of last season. It was perhaps closer than some experts picked, but the Bulldogs will gladly take the win at this point in the season. Now comes the challenge. MSU will face three teams currently ranked in the top 15 – South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama – over the next three weeks. The Bulldogs need just two more wins for bowl eligibility, but they’ll likely only be favored in one more game this season (at Arkansas, Nov. 23), so coach Dan Mullen will need to pull an upset at some point to go the postseason for the fourth straight season at MSU.

Last week: Mississippi State 28, Kentucky 22

This week: at South Carolina

13. Arkansas (3-5, 0-4)

The Razorbacks had a week off to regroup from a five-game losing streak. The Hogs have struggled to be competitive in recent weeks. They lost their last two games to South Carolina and Alabama by a combined total of 104-7. Few expected first-year coach Bret Bielema to completely turn this team around in one year, but fans were also hoping to be a little more competitive. It doesn’t get too much easier with Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU still on the schedule. If the Razorbacks don’t have a better effort against Auburn on Saturday, they could be looking at another 40-plus point defeat.

Last week: BYE

This week: vs. Auburn

14. Kentucky (1-6, 0-4)

The Wildcats went on the road and took Mississippi State down to the wire, but couldn’t pull out their first conference win since 2011. Nobody is happy with a 1-6 record, but at least Kentucky is keeping most games competitive. That, in addition to improved recruiting by first-year head coach Mark Stoops, could help the Wildcats move out of the SEC cellar in the coming seasons. The Wildcats have a good chance to get back in the win column this week with FCS opponent Alabama State coming to town.

Last week: Mississippi State 28, Kentucky 22

This week: vs. Alabama State

Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga

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