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SEC Power Rankings - Week 8

Ole Miss makes history, Josh Paschal channels his inner office linebacker, Bo Nix is sour, and Florida’s a trainwreck

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Mississippi State

GEORGIA - The only question that remains for Georgia is how damaging the fall would be with a loss to ‘Bama in the SEC title game. The answer could well be provided this weekend in the Iron Bowl, where unranked Auburn could throw the current playoff picture into utter chaos.

ALABAMA - Say what you will about the formidable SP+ ranking, but the D has looked awfully pedestrian on many occasions this season. It nearly cost the Tide against Arky; it undeniably cost them in the latest CFB Playoff poll.

OLE MISS - The Egg Bowl wasn’t a contest Thanksgiving night, and lo and behold the Rebels have their first 10-win regular season in school history — which is sorta hard to believe — and a ticket to a New Year’s Six bowl.

TEXAS A&M - Whatever chance the Aggies had at a NY6 berth evaporated in Oxford two weeks ago. They’ll still be playing in January, with the Citrus Bowl the likely destination, but there’s something hollow about it all for a team that was knocking on the door of the Top 10 and much more a week prior to that Ole Miss game.

ARKANSAS - What is arguably the nation’s roughest schedule comes to an end with a 6-5 opponent. Bugaboo alert: That opponent has owned you in excruciating fashion of late, winning five straight, including three by four points for fewer.

KENTUCKY - Josh Paschal is no Terry Tate … let’s be frank. But let’s also give the All-SEC defensive end some credit for using humor to maximize his earnings on the NIL gravy train.

MISSISSIPPI STATE - Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be birthed squarely in the middle of the Egg Bowl rivalry and have to spend your early youth asking yourself the tough questions, determining what parent you want to piss off with your choice of allegiance. Me neither. If you think you ever will, bookmark this link.

AUBURN - Bo Nix alleging that the zebras show favoritism toward ‘Bama isn’t the best look, especially considering he’s not even playing this week to help test his theory. Nor will he get the chance to help stop the bleeding of what would be, with a loss in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers’ longest losing streak since their title defense in 2012.

TENNESSEE - Josh Heupel will finish his first regular season in Knoxville with seven wins, something that can’t be said for each of his three predecessors. A bowl win puts him in rarefied air with Philip Fulmer, who is currently the only Tennessee head coach since 1970 (Bill Battle) to have won eight or more games in his first season.

MISSOURI - The choice to go for two against Florida required some stones. Bowl eligibility renders the ugly moments of September and October more palatable, but the Tax Slayer Bowl (or whatever) won’t fill the emptiness of what would be a missed opportunity to topple a ranked Arkansas team to end the regular season.

SOUTH CAROLINA - The Gamecocks peeled themselves off the deck last week against Auburn to rebound from the Mizzou loss. That’s a credit to Shane Beamer and his staff. The bowl berth has helped set a tone for next season, which will only get better with a win in the finale — albeit against a Clemson team that’s not so Clemson-like.

LSU - Former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda seems to have emerged as the frontrunner to replace his old boss. Or maybe he hasn’t. It doesn’t matter. Ultimately, what’s more intriguing to me is how quickly following the A&M game AD Scott Woodward pulls the trigger on announcing whomever he has chosen among an intriguing list of candidates.

FLORIDA - Dan Mullen’s fate was sealed in Columbia, and so the all-too-familiar hunt for a leader of the program begins anew in Gainesville. The lucky winner will be the fourth Gators head coach since 2010, when Urban Meyer’s short-lived medical retirement kick-started what has become an era defined by dysfunction.

VANDERBILT - With what should be a defeat against the Vols, Vandy will have lost 10 games in a season for the first time since 2010, a year prior to the arrival of James Franklin. The ceiling for Clark Lea is emulating the exploits of Franklin, who has no equal when it comes to maximizing the limited resources in Nashville.