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SEC Power Rankings - Week 5

Ole Miss is hurtin’, Mississippi State is a-risin’, and all eyes are on A&M and Auburn

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Memphis
Mike, Mike, Mike ... calm down, brah! Your defense is actually decent and you’re ranked! You don’t need to throw the ball 70 times, but we know you still will.

GEORGIA - Georgia’s four remaining opponents, a combined 14-17, offer literally no chance at a quality win, so don’t expect the ‘Dawgs to let off the gas at any point in an effort to retain the No. 1 ranking in the newly-minted College Football Playoff rankings, where style points matter to the nth degree.

ALABAMA - The Tide has won 9 of the previous 10 meetings against LSU in a series that is much more lopsided than you might have assumed. Does ‘Bama retain the upper hand in the West with a win, or does complacency seep in while overlooking a four-touchdown dog with a lame duck coach?

KENTUCKY - Losses like the one Kentucky slogged its way through at Mississippi State last week are almost always season-killers in some fashion. Perhaps more surprising than the two-touchdown defeat itself was the manner in which the Wildcats were thoroughly dominated in the ball-control department, allowing the Bulldog offense, which will never be confused as deliberate, to use up more than 41 minutes of clock.

FLORIDA - The Gators haven’t won consecutive games since early September. Starting a new streak with a win at The Other Columbia on Saturday may be hard to come by, unless Dan Mullen and the bunch don’t get too caught up looking ahead to next week … against Samford.

OLE MISS - Lane Kiffin failed a major legitimacy test last week against Auburn. The offensive meeting room looks like an infirmary. But Liberty and good ol’ Hugh Freeze is visiting this weekend, which is good. Maybe.

TEXAS A&M - National pundits are absolutely torn on this one, the only matchup between two ranked teams on Saturday. They’re pundits, so they know more than I. The only thing I do know is what the pundits say has a 50/50 chance of happening: the road team will win for the ninth time in 10 meetings since A&M joined the league in 2012.

ARKANSAS - The Pigs are 5-point favorites at home to Mississippi State, who landed at No. 17 in the initial CFP rankings Tuesday. It’s an opportunity for Sam Pittman’s team to rekindle that flame that burned so brightly during the early part of the schedule.

TENNESSEE - Eons ago, Josh Heupel once worked with Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops while the two were part of the staff of Stoops’ brother, Mike, back in 2005 at Arizona. The two have had nothing but pleasant things to say about each other this week during pressers. Coachspeak, blah, blah, yada, yada … this game sucks.

AUBURN - The Tigers face a Saturday reckoning for the second consecutive weekend. The win over Ole Miss spoke volumes, but any chance of a West title and shot at the Playoff will all but fade from view a loss at No. 14 A&M.

MISSISSIPPI STATE - Up is down. Black is white. Mississippi States ranks considerably better nationally on defense than offense. The Bulldogs have already taken down two Top 15 opponents (A&M and Kentucky), and by season’s end, the total could be up to four (Auburn and Ole Miss). That would surpass the mark set by the Dak Prescott-led 2014 team, which beat three ranked opponents — albeit all Top 10 teams — and is regarded as one of the best in program history. Weird.

LSU - With Ed Orgeron on his way out the door, he can look back fondly on LSU’s last win at Alabama, punctuated by a locker room tirade that deserves credit alone for the perfectly-timed fiddlestix-bomb. Because it ain’t happenin’ this weekend.

SOUTH CAROLINA - Albeit against a Florida team that has been nearly ground to a pulp during a touch October stretch, a win for the Gamecocks Saturday would be a nice feather in the cap of Shane Beamer, I think. I don’t really know.

MISSOURI - Gulp...

VANDERBILT - Clark Lea and his staff lost two of their highest-rated recruits in as many days this week. The faithful in Nashville do not believe in coincidences.