Saturday, April 19, 2014 · 5:26 a.m.

The SEC Roundup: Week 13

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Missouri quarterback James Franklin (Photo: Missouri Athletics)

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 (10-0, 7-0 SEC)

Last week’s 20-7 win over Mississippi State was one of those games that makes you wonder if Alabama is somewhat vulnerable. It’s been mostly domination by the Tide this season, but there have been a few games that haven’t been Nick Saban-like perfection. They will need to be back in top form soon with the Iron Bowl (at Auburn) coming up after this week. But first they host Chattanooga, a team that has no doubt played well at the FCS level this year, but a squad that also faces a virtually impossible task on Saturday when it travels to Tuscaloosa.

Last week: Alabama 20, Mississippi State 7

This week: vs. Chattanooga

2. Auburn (10-1, 6-1)

Auburn's game-winning TD (via SECDigitalNetwork)

Call it luck, fortune or just crazy, but also call wide receiver Ricardo Louis’ 73-yard go-ahead touchdown catch the play of the year in the SEC. With the Tigers facing a last-ditch effort on fourth and 18, quarterback Nick Marshall heaved a pass in Louis’ general direction with under a minute to go. Two Georgia defenders went up to try and seal the win with an interception, but instead the ball was tipped in the air and Louis ran under it and took off for the game-winning score. That wild 43-38 win sets up a de facto SEC West title game next week when the Tigers and Tide square off at Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The Tigers have a week off to prepare for that enormous contest. 

Last week: Auburn 43, Georgia 38

This week: BYE

3. Missouri (9-1, 5-1)

The East-leading Tigers had a week off to prepare for the final two games that will decide if they can hang on to their division lead down the stretch. It’s pretty simple for coach Gary Pinkel’s squad. Win out and the Tigers win the East. But that’s easier said than done with a trip to Ole Miss and a home game against Texas A&M still to come. If the Tigers lose either remaining game, South Carolina, the only East team to beat Mizzou this year, will win the division. The journey to Atlanta begins this weekend in Oxford against an Ole Miss team that has won four straight. Missouri is expecting to have QB James Franklin (shoulder) back at the helm after backup Maty Mauk did a nice job in relief the past few weeks.

Last week: BYE

This week: at Ole Miss

4. Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2) 

Currently riding a three-game winning streak, the Aggies had last week off to prepare for a tough finish with games at LSU and at Missouri. Texas A&M is eliminated from SEC contention, but it can make a statement that it should be an at-large BCS team if it wins out this year. Its only two losses came against Alabama and Auburn and, if the Aggies can win out, they would have several quality wins on their resume. Expect a lot of points in Baton Rouge when A&M and LSU play this week. These two teams average a combined 87.1 points per contest.

Last week: BYE

This week: at LSU

5. South Carolina (8-2, 6-2)

The Old Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier) had quite a weekend. First, Auburn’s dramatic win over Georgia helped the Gamecocks in the standings, then South Carolina took care of business, holding off a depleted Florida team for a 19-14 win that puts them just one Missouri loss away from winning the SEC East. The Gamecocks can improve bowl positioning with non-conference wins over Coastal Carolina and Clemson in the last two weeks, but they’ll simply have to be fans of Missouri opponents Ole Miss and A&M if they want to have a shot at winning the SEC. Star running back Mike Davis (ankle) isn’t expected to start this week against a 10-1 (FCS) Coastal Carolina squad.

Last week: South Carolina 19, Florida 14

This week: vs. Coastal Carolina

6. LSU (7-3, 3-3)

After falling short at Alabama the previous week, LSU had a week off to regroup and get ready to host high-scoring Texas A&M this week. It’s undoubtedly been somewhat of a frustrating year for the Tigers, a team that came into the season with BCS aspirations, but now finds itself in fifth place in the West. A win over Johnny Manziel and the Aggies would bring some redemption, however. That would give the Tigers eight wins with a very winnable finale against Arkansas up next. That should be good enough for a respectable bowl appearance.

Last week: BYE

This week: vs. Texas A&M

7. Georgia (6-4, 4-3)

One simple technique issue might’ve cost the Bulldogs a win and a chance at the SEC East. On Auburn’s miraculous play, it appeared that the Georgia defenders were going for an interception and not trying to knock the pass down. That caused the bounce that eventually led to the win for the Tigers. The Bulldogs did get a last-gasp try as well, however. They moved it to around the Auburn 20, but couldn’t find any magic of their own on the final play of the game. With SEC hopes dashed, Georgia will finish up SEC play against Kentucky this weekend before taking on in-state rival Georgia Tech in Week 14.

Last week: Auburn 43, Georgia 38

This week: vs. Kentucky

8. Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3)

The Rebels took care of business against Troy, knocking off the Trojans by a final of 51-21. QB Bo Wallace threw for 272 yards and three TDs and added another score and 66 yards on the ground. Now on a four-game winning streak, the Rebels have a chance to finish the season strong. They host East-leading Missouri this week and then they will face in-state rival MSU on Thanksgiving Day in the Egg Bowl. Getting to eight or nine wins would be another great step for a program that is just two years removed from winning only two games the entire season.

Last week: Ole Miss 51, Troy 21

This week: vs. Missouri

9. Vanderbilt (6-4, 3-4)

Amazingly, the Commodores are bowl eligible for the third year in a row. After only playing in four postseason contests in school history before the arrival of coach James Franklin, the ‘Dores should make it three straight after the regular season concludes. A 22-6 win over Kentucky last week punched their ticket officially this year. They want more, though. Vandy has a chance to beat Tennessee for the second time in a row for the first time since the Calvin Coolidge administration (1925-26). Senior quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels returned to the starting role last week after missing a couple of games with a knee injury.

Last week: Vanderbilt 22, Kentucky 6

This week: at Tennessee

10. Florida (4-6, 3-4)

The injury-depleted Gators battled at South Carolina, but ultimately QB Skylar Mornhinweg, who started the season as the third-stringer, couldn’t engineer a game-winning drive against the Gamecocks in a five-point loss. Now they must win their last two games to avoid missing a bowl for the first time since 1990. They’ll likely knock off Georgia Southern this weekend in The Swamp, but doing the same against Florida State, a team likely headed to the national title game, seems unlikely at this point.

Last week: South Carolina 19, Florida 14

Tennessee left tackle Tiny Richardson. (Photo: David Johnston)

This week: vs. Georgia Southern

11. Tennessee (4-6, 1-5)

Coach Butch Jones has likened this week’s contest against in-state foe Vandy as a Game 7 for the Vols. It’s win-or-go-home time for Tennessee, which must knock off Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the last two weeks to make its first bowl since 2010. A series that has been historically dominated by UT has become much more competitive over the past few years. The Vols hope a week off and a little magic from their alternate gray uniforms can help push them over the top in this one.

Last week: BYE

This week: vs. Vanderbilt

12. Mississippi State (4-6, 1-5)

The Bulldogs have been hanging tough against some really good competition recently. They took it into the fourth quarter against Texas A&M two weeks ago and they played Alabama about as well as anybody this season outside of A&M in a 20-7 loss last week. They’re doing it with injury problems at QB as well. The Bulldogs were down to third-stringer Damian Williams in the fourth quarter against Alabama with Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell both out. Though they’ve played better recently, MSU is still looking for a signature win this year. Beating Arkansas this week might not count as that, but it would set up a meaningful Egg Bowl against Ole Miss on Thanksgiving.

Last week: Alabama 20, MSU 7

This week: at Arkansas  

13. Arkansas (3-7, 0-6)

The Razorbacks had a week off to temporarily stop the bleeding of a seven-game losing streak. They’ll be playing for pride for the rest of the season with their postseason chances ended. They’ll be underdogs against Mississippi State and LSU, but both teams are beatable with a great effort from Arkansas. Getting another win won’t necessarily salvage the season, but it would give the Hogs a touch of momentum heading into the offseason.

Last week: BYE

This week: vs. Mississippi State

14. Kentucky (2-8, 0-6)

The Wildcats battled into the fourth quarter at Vanderbilt, but the favored Commodores outscored them 13-0 in the final quarter to seal the win. The Wildcats will also be playing for pride and momentum over the last two weeks with a trip to Georgia and a home finale against Tennessee on the horizon. Coach Mark Stoops has improved recruiting and excitement in Lexington this season, but it will take some time for results to start showing on the field.

Last week: Vanderbilt 22, Kentucky 6

This week: at Georgia

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

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