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Kentucky leaps into top three with win over Florida


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Another week of football in the Southeastern Conference has come and gone, and the power rankings look a lot different heading into Week 6 of the college football season.

Alabama and Georgia handled their business against Ole Miss and Arkansas, sending the latter two a bit further down the polls than they were before. Florida false-started its way to its first road loss in decades to Kentucky, and Texas A&M slipped again to Mississippi State.

Auburn managed to come back against LSU, and Tennessee beat up on a Mizzou team that has struggled so far. Vanderbilt and South Carolina took home victories against non-conference opponents to round things out, but neither faced any sort of real competition.

Here is how all 14 SEC teams stack up after five weeks of college football.

Vanderbilt (2-3 0-1 SEC)

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Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 14

This week’s game:

Next week: No. 20 Florida (3-2, 0-2 SEC)

It’s not often we get to celebrate a Vanderbilt win, but the Commodores faced some equal opposition in a bad UConn team. A last-minute kick isn’t going to move Vandy up the rankings this week, even with all of the losses, but it was good week for the Commodores nonetheless. Florida should be a much bigger challenge next week, especially after losing to Kentucky this week,

To no one’s surprise, Vandy stays at the bottom of the SEC power rankings and has little hope of moving up anytime soon.

South Carolina (3-2, 0-2 SEC)

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Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 13

This week’s game:

Next week: Tennessee (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

The Gamecocks picked up a nice win over Troy and might very well be better than the Missouri Tigers. South Carolina stays behind Mizzou for now, but putting up a better fight than the Tigers did against Tennessee next week should provide some more clarity on how the conference shakes out.

Missouri (2-3, 0-2 SEC)

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Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 11

This week’s game:

Next week: North Texas (1-3)

The Tigers’ struggles continued against Tennessee this week as Missouri suffered its second conference loss of the year. Once again Connor Bazelak’s 300 yards passing meant very little with the defense stopping almost nothing. Florida’s defense handled Hendon Hooker just fine a week ago, but he looked like a capable quarterback against Missouri. Things need to turn around quickly or Mizzou will find itself below South Carolina soon.

Tennessee (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

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Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 12

This week’s game:

Next week: South Carolina (3-2, 0-2 SEC)

It would be nice to reward Tennessee with a bigger bump after such a strong offensive showing, but the rest of the conference is too good for that to happen. Even more, Missouri isn’t shaping up to be any sort of threat this year, so the Vols move up just one spot in this week’s rankings. South Carolina should give Josh Heupel’s team another chance to get the offense going next week.

LSU (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

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Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Last week’s rank: 9

This week’s game: No. 22 Auburn 24, LSU 19

Next week: No. 16 Kentucky (5-0, 3-0 SEC)

LSU hasn’t taken the step forward this year that many expected, and Auburn came out of Death Valley with its first road win against LSU in two decades. The defense had no answers for Bo Nix a week after Georgia State forced him out of the game. Max Johnson has put up decent passing numbers for LSU, but it will take a lot more than that to save this team’s season.

Texas A&M (3-2, 0-2 SEC)

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Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 6

This week’s game: Mississippi State 26, No. 15 Texas A&M 22

Next week: No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

The Aggies were a top-five team to start the season, but consecutive losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State have Jimbo Fisher in the hot seat. The defense, which was thought to be Texas A&M’s strength, couldn’t contain the passing attack from Mississippi State. Quarterback Zach Calzada tried to will the team back to a win, but he was sacked for a safety late in the game.

Alabama should make it three straight losses for A&M next week.

Mississippi State (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

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Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 12

This week’s game: Mississippi State 26, No. 15 Texas A&M 22

Next week: BYE

The Bulldogs will get to soak in this win for two weeks before hosting top-ranked Alabama. It may be that Texas A&M is far worse than most imagined, but knocking a top-15 team out of the polls is nothing to scoff at. The Bulldogs are one of this week’s big risers after Will Rogers and company executed the Air Raid offense to perfection.

No. 18 Auburn (4-1, 1-0 SEC)

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Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 8

This week’s game: No. 22 Auburn 24, LSU 19

Next week: No. 2 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC)

Auburn might be 4-1, but narrowly beating LSU after a close one against Georgia State doesn’t exactly have Bryan Harsin’s crew at the top of the rankings. Bo Nix bounced back after being benched a week ago, and the Tigers will need him to keep it up if they have any hopes of scoring on Georgia’s stingy defense next week.

No. 17 Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1 SEC)

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Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 5

This week’s game: No. 1 Alabama 42, No. 12 Ole Miss 21

Next week: No. 2 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC)

Lane Kiffin confidently told viewers around the country to “get the popcorn” just before kickoff on Saturday before his team laid a goose egg in the first half. Matt Corrall is still one of the best quarterbacks in the country, but the Rebels aren’t good enough to hang with the best of the best yet. Ole Miss falls a bit here because they looked worse against ‘Bama than Florida did a few weeks ago.

No. 20 Florida (3-2, 1-2 SEC)

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Matt Stone/Courier Journal /USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week’s rank: 3

This week’s game: Kentucky 20, No. 10 Florida 13

Next week: Vanderbilt (2-3 0-1 SEC)

Oh, Florida. The Gators shot themselves in the foot one too many times on the road in Lexington and paid the price as a result. The offense took a step back and failed to finish off most of its drives thanks to non-stop penalties. Florida had a chance to remain in the conversation as one of the better teams in college football, but a sloppy loss puts the season’s goals that much further out of reach.

No. 13 Arkansas (4-1, 1-1 SEC)

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 4

This week’s game: No. 2 Georgia 37, No. 8 Arkansas 0

Next week: No. 17 Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1 SEC)

Arkansas has already had two nice upsets this year over Texas and Texas A&M., but Georgia brought the Razorbacks back to reality with a shut-out win Saturday. Arkansas only fell five spots in the following poll update, though. Georgia is on another level this year, but this was a dominant showing. Next week against Ole Miss should be more fun and competitive for Arkansas.

No. 16 Kentucky (5-0, 3-0 SEC)

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Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 7

This week’s game: Kentucky 20, No. 10 Florida 13

Next week: LSU (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

Kentucky pulled off the upset against Florida and remained perfect on the year. The Wildcats proved that its defense is strong enough to carry the team to a win, especially with the help of a raucous crowd. LSU will be next to visit Lexington before the Wildcats make a trip to Georgia. Kentucky will need more than a blocked field goal for a touchdown to beat the Bulldogs, though.

No. 2 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC)

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 2

This week’s game: No. 2 Georgia 37, No. 8 Arkansas 0

Next week: No. 18 Auburn (4-1, 1-0 SEC)

Georgia is looking scarier by the week, and that’s bad news for Florida fans. UGA held a good running team in Arkansas scoreless, and that is Florida’s biggest strength. It’s not often that another SEC team is threatening to take the top spot from Alabama so early in the year, but Kirby Smart has built something special in Athens.

As mentioned a few weeks ago, Georgia will stay at No. 2 in these ratings until they beat Alabama or the Crimson Tide falls.

No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

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Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s rank: 1

This week’s game: No. 1 Alabama 42, No. 12 Ole Miss 21

Next week: Texas A&M (3-2, 0-2 SEC)

Alabama won its second game of the year against an SEC team ranked in the top 12, but that’s just business as usual for Nick Saban’s crew. What’s more concerning is that Georgia has closed the gap between itself and ‘Bama every week of the season so far. If this matchup is destined for the SEC Championship, it might serve as a preview to the national championship.

Alabama should be fine against a faltering Texas A&M squad next week.

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