Senior wide receiver Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis) was presented his honorary game jersey during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game at John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge, La. Tuesday. The event was part of the three-month selection tour for the Under Armour All-America Game.
Dupre, a three-sport star at John Curtis, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised all-star game spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“I want to thank all of y’all for supporting me today,” Dupre said. “Just thank you Under Armour for the opportunity to play in this game. I know there are so many high school players in the country that work hard, but being selected to play in this game is a huge honor and I’m appreciative for it. I’m blessed, and thank you Coach J.T. [Curtis] for teaching me so many life lessons and things.”
For Dupre, the road to be an Under Armour all-star selection wasn’t an easy one.
"It’s wasn’t the best road…I wasn’t the best player in football, basketball or track,” Dupre said. “I always could jump, I always was pretty fast and athletic, but I never had skills. I probably started developing skills my freshman or sophomore year. I know a lot of it is God just blessed with me the talents because I just grew so much.”
The nation’s top-ranked wide receiver is looking forward to measuring himself against the best prospects in his class in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
“I'm ready to compete and have fun with the guys during game week,” Dupre said. “The Under Armour All-American game is going to be the measuring stick for everyone going to play college football next year, because we're the best guys in the country right now."
Along with being the top wide receiver, the 6-foot-3, 187-pound Dupre is the No. 26 ranked prospect overall. He is considering LSU, UCLA, Alabama, Florida State, and others.
Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.
It's no secret that Southeastern Conference has been the top conference in the country as far as recruiting over the last several years. The league currently has six teams ranked in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings. Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters around the ultra-competitive conference.
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But the view? Maybe not so much. As a reporter, I've avoided buying binoculars for years. Those who know me would say "frugal" is too kind of a descriptor for my thriftiness. But if I covered that game, I might have to finally give in and purchase a pair to see the field.
- Speaking of football games at race tracks, don't expect to see either Auburn or Alabama at Talladega.
- Bret Bielema's message to his team after losing to South Carolina: Snap out of it.
- LSU is right in the thick of the title hunt, but the Tigers are still looking for a truly complete game.
- Hugh Freeze's animated response to a heckling fan after Saturday's loss to Texas A&M gained some traction over the weekend. On Monday, the Ole Miss' head coach addressed the matter and thankfully Parrish Alford transcribed it for us so we can all read what was a nearly pitch-perfect response, in this humble writer's estimation.
- South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton was out to prove his doubters wrong this past weekend. Against Arkansas, he did just that.
- Everything about James Franklin's injury at Georgia looked bad. What it meant for Missouri's title hopes looked even worse. But there may be a glimmer of hope as the quarterback's injury prognosis may be better than originally feared.
- Johnny Manziel is Rick Gosselin's front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy, but someone else is ahead of Texas A&M's star quarterback.
- At many schools in the SEC, there's a clamor among fans to see the next man up, the next big thing. Well, Florida fans are getting their wish at a cost now that Matt Jones is out for the season. With a staggering seven season-ending injuries, the Gators are getting used to it.
- An uptempo pace -- and an athletic quarterback -- have helped Mississippi State's offense.
- The bye week comes at the perfect time for Kentucky as coach Mark Stoops looks for his team to recuperate and refocus after a poor performance against Alabama.
- Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has stayed relatively mum about his struggling defense. Seth Emerson writes -- and provides some much needed perspective -- with what Grantham should be saying.
- It took a few more weeks than it probably should have, but LSU is finally getting the message about playing team defense.
The East looks more like a medical ward these days. However, no one will feel sorry for these teams as they attempt to limp into Atlanta for the SEC championship game in December.
Here's to a photo finish in the SEC East!
As for the West, three teams are still vying for that spot in Atlanta. Alabama remains the nation's top team, but LSU and Texas A&M are creeping up. The Crimson Tide control their own destiny, and their showdown with LSU on Nov. 9 will serve as one last major hurdle before they travel to Auburn for the regular-season finale.
LSU plays host to A&M in a game that could decide the West if the Tigers upset Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
We'll also be on bowl watch. It might be safe to say that the eight SEC teams currently sitting inside the AP poll will make bowls, but there are still teams teetering on the edge.
Vanderbilt has made back-to-back bowl games, but with an 0-3 SEC start the Commodores are in danger of missing out on the postseason for the first time under James Franklin.
Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee all have three wins right now, but challenging second halves could spoil postseason trips for all four.
Bold prediction: South Carolina will win the SEC East. That means the Gamecocks will need Georgia to lose at least one more conference game, while they win out. It can, and will, happen. Missouri and Florida pose threats, but South Carolina gets Florida at home and Mizzou is down its starting quarterback.
Looking forward to: The East race is going to be great, but what about the Heisman race? Quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray and even Zach Mettenberger could find themselves deep in the running as the season goes on. McCarron is the only one with less than 1,800 passing yards (1,407), but he's also on the No. 1 team in the country.
Top five games:
1. LSU at Alabama, Nov. 9: This continues to be college football's best rivalry. Two sledgehammers will meet in a game that could decide who represents the West in the SEC championship and could basically serve as a quarterfinal for the national championship. Les Miles versus Nick Saban? Yes, please!
2. Texas A&M at LSU, Nov. 23: If the Tigers do beat Alabama earlier in the month and the Aggies continue their winning ways, then consider this the new semifinal for the SEC championship game. Two great offenses could light up the scoreboard inside Tiger Stadium.
3. Florida vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville, Fla.), Nov. 2: Even with all the craziness in the SEC East, this game could still decide the East champion. No matter how either team is playing, this game is always exciting, and something crazy always seems to happen.
4. Florida at South Carolina, Nov. 16: Another game that could decide the East. South Carolina is probably still steaming after its turnover-filled slopfest inside the Swamp last year. Now the Gamecocks get a wounded Florida team at home.
5. Alabama at Auburn, Nov. 30: This game could be very interesting on the Plains. Auburn is a team on the rise, while Alabama hasn't been perfect. The Tide's defense is getting better, but expect an amazing atmosphere and a few tricks up Gus Malzahn's sleeves.
It was a changeup from the usual LSU narrative, which typically has the Tigers winning games with a dominant defense. For the first six games of the season, the talk was more about the offense, while the defense didn't quite resemble what Tigers fans have become accustomed to. The point totals looked more like something you'd expect from Oregon or Texas A&M: 37, 56, 45, 35, 41, 59.
But in Saturday’s win over Florida, the Tigers showed they still can win the old-fashioned way, their old-fashioned way. Against the Gators, the offense wasn't nearly as explosive as it had been but the defense was physical and dominating, staying in Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy's face virtually all day en route to a 17-6 victory.
So the Tigers, it appears, can win multiple ways. And that can only bode well for the future.
There are weapons all over the place on offense, from quarterback Zach Mettenberger, to running back Jeremy Hill to perhaps the SEC's best receiving tandem of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has employed them beautifully.
On defense, there were struggles, and the improvement is ongoing. The defensive line and linebacker Lamin Barrow had impactful performances against the Gators. In recent weeks, Kwon Alexander continued to show why he's considered to be special. Defensive coordinator John Chavis showed pride in the way his unit responded against the Gators.
At 6-1 (3-1 in the SEC), and with No. 1 Alabama and No. 7 Texas A&M still on the schedule, LSU still controls its own destiny in the SEC West. Win and the Tigers can get where they want to go.
But now, the Tigers at least know there is more than one way that they can win football games.
Offensive MVP: Zach Mettenberger
If you were told before the season that Mettenberger would be leading the SEC in passing yards this deep into the year, would you have believed it? Mettenberger leads the league in not only that category, but in yards per attempt and passing efficiency. He's completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,890 yards, 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions and has been the lynchpin in the emergence of LSU's offense.
Defensive MVP: Anthony Johnson
It's hard to single out one player because A) the Tigers haven't played up to their defensive standards until recently and B) once they have, several players have shined. But we'll give the nod to Johnson who had strong performances against Mississippi State and Florida. Johnson leads the team in tackles for loss (5.5) and tied for the lead in sacks (two) and has a memorable interception in the first half of the loss to Georgia.
Georgia handed director of on-campus football recruiting Daryl Jones a five-day suspension over a number of minor recruiting violations it reported to the SEC. According to a report in the Athens Banner-Herald, the suspension was a result of violations with a number of mailings to high school juniors. The violations occurred after recruiting staffers mailed letters to prospects two days before the Sept. 1 date when NCAA rules say juniors may receive first mailings and because some mailings featured Georgia’s new secondary logo, the Nike swoosh and labels promoting the upcoming South Carolina game. I reached out to a few folks in the same position of Jones at another schools in the SEC to gauge reaction from his peers. Based on the reports, everybody I visited with agreed Jones did violate NCAA rules but all were quick to defend him. “Rules are rules,” one SEC West on-campus recruiting coordinator said. “However, it’s crazy to think you can’t put a sticker on an envelope, but it’s OK to send 100, 200 letters a day to a kid if you want to. Something’s wrong with this picture.”
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- Alabama's defense garnered its fair share of criticism after surrendering a school record 628 yards to Texas A&M. But that seems like long ago as the Tide defense suddenly ranks among the best in the SEC and the nation, statistically speaking.
- Nick Marshall wasn't healthy enough to go against Western Carolina, but he was available in case of emergency. Twenty-four hours later, Auburn's starting quarterback is back to full speed with Texas A&M on the horizon.
- There was nothing pretty about Arkansas' homecoming loss to South Carolina this weekend. The Razorbacks are reeling and coach Bret Bielema is asking his team to remember what happened so they never let it happen again.
- It has taken a while, but LSU's young defense looks to be finding the right combinations after holding down Florida's offense Saturday.
- Remember when all we could talk about was Johnny Manziel's troubling off-the-field antics? That seems like a distant memory as Texas A&M's quarterback is thrilling on the football field again.
- Drake in a Johnny Manziel jersey? Drake in a Johnny Manziel jersey.
- Tennessee is out to show that its close call against Georgia wasn't a fluke.
- Ole Miss linebacker Serderius Bryant appears to have suffered a concussion this past weekend against Texas A&M. And according to Rebels coach Hugh Freeze, "things look good."
- There was nothing pretty about Kentucky's 48-7 loss to Alabama on Saturday. But the second half of the season should be easier for the Wildcats.
There’s a lot of projection involved, and there are always players who come out of the woodwork and others who simply don't live up to their billing.
But as we reach the midway point of the season, at least now we have some real performances to evaluate. So we’re taking a second shot at reranking our top 10 based on what the players have done to this point.
Again, this is not a ranking of where players sit on NFL draft boards. Rather, it’s a ranking reflecting how they have played during the first part of this season and their impact on their teams.
We took injuries into consideration. For instance, Florida’s Dominique Easley was playing better than any defensive lineman in the league, but only played in the first three games. The same goes for Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who’s missed most of the last three games. Both are great players, but they didn't play in enough games to be included in our midseason list.
Here’s what we came up with:
2. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (preseason: No. 5): With all the injuries the Dawgs have incurred on offense, Murray is carrying that team and playing the best football of his career against a killer schedule. He did have a costly interception late against Missouri last week, but he threw eight touchdown passes and only one interception in the two wins over LSU and South Carolina. He's accounted for 20 touchdowns, which leads the SEC, and is right behind Manziel in passing with 304 yards per game.
3. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU (preseason: unranked): One of the most improved players in college football, Mettenberger has blossomed under first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and is a big reason the Tigers are lighting up scoreboards like never before under Les Miles. Mettenberger leads the SEC in passing efficiency, is completing 66.7 percent of his passes, and has thrown 15 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. In LSU's only loss (to Georgia), Mettenberger threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns.
4. Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina (preseason: unranked): The Gamecocks had a good feeling coming out of the summer that Davis was primed for a big season. But he's been even better than anybody expected and has set the pace among a star-studded group of running backs in this league. Davis leads the league in rushing with 742 yards (an average of 123.7 yards per game) and has rushed for more than 100 yards in five of his six games. He also has nine touchdowns and has shown the ability to hit the big play with three runs of 50 yards or longer.
5. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (preseason: No. 6): The move from right tackle to left tackle for Matthews has been a snap, and he's playing as well as any tackle in America right now. The Aggies' offensive line, period, is playing lights out, and having a player with Matthews' expertise, talent and experience anchored on that left side is invaluable. The Aggies have given up only seven sacks in six games and are averaging nearly 600 yards of total offense per game.
6. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (preseason: No. 8): Mosley's sheer numbers on defense aren't going to blow you away. But turn on the tape and watch everything he does for that Alabama defense, from making the calls to getting everybody lined up to always being in the right place at the right time. Mosley leads the Tide with 48 total tackles and is one of the surest tacklers in the league. He's also excellent in coverage and is one of those guys who's always making key stops or pass breakups when Alabama needs it most.
7. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU (preseason: unranked): After a rocky offseason that nearly cost Hill the rest of his career at LSU, he's bounced back with a vengeance. Hill is second in the league in rushing with 715 yards (an average of 119.2 yards per game) and really didn't get started until the third game. He was suspended for the opener and carried it only six times in the second game. But he's rushed for more than 100 yards in four of his last five games and was a straight-up man running the ball last week against that vaunted Florida defense.
8. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (preseason: No. 17): He's the one-on-one matchup no defensive coordinator wants to think about. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Evans was held in check last week against Ole Miss, but that was the exception. He leads the SEC with an average of 122.8 receiving yards per game and has caught five touchdown passes. Nobody goes up and gets the ball like Evans, who pulled in seven passes for a remarkable 279 yards against Alabama. He's averaging 23 yards per catch.
9. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (preseason: No. 14): The Commodores' record-breaking senior leads the SEC with 47 catches and is second to Evans in receiving yards per game (118.2). With Chris Boyd dismissed from the team and not playing this season, opposing defenses have shadowed Matthews at every turn, but he's continued to produce. He has five touchdown catches and is averaging 15.1 yards per catch. His consistency is what sets him apart. In his last 15 SEC contests, he's averaging more than 120 receiving yards per game.
10. James Franklin, QB, Missouri (preseason: unranked): It's a shame that Franklin separated his throwing shoulder last week in the win over Georgia and will now be sidelined for the foreseeable future. In the year of the quarterback in the SEC, Franklin was playing as well as anybody. He'd accounted for 17 touchdowns and was one of three quarterbacks in the SEC (along with Manziel and Murray) averaging more than 300 yards per game in total offense. Franklin's command of the Tigers' offense had been outstanding.
Missouri: Who knew? Prognosticators, both professional and amateur, are surely coming out of the woodwork by now, telling anyone who will listen how they had Missouri atop the SEC East before the start of the season. But tell those people to politely remove their tinfoil hats and drift slowly back to earth. No one had Missouri competing for a chance at the SEC championship. James Franklin hadn't even won the starting quarterback job entering fall camp. And the defense, without its best player in Sheldon Richardson, looked like a significant question mark. Sure, Gary Pinkel's bunch had to get better after all the injuries a year ago, but this? Pinkel's bunch is playing great football and we're only now starting to take notice after the way the Tigers throttled Georgia on the road 41-26. Missouri is in the top three in the SEC in scoring, passing and rushing offense, and most importantly the Tigers are leading the league in turnover margin.
SEC in the polls: The SEC set a record on Sunday for the most schools (eight) in The Associated Press college football poll. Though just Alabama remains in the top five, having so many teams scattered throughout the poll says something about the depth of the league. LSU and Texas A&M are both title contenders despite having one loss, and South Carolina isn't far behind at all. Florida, despite losing its starting quarterback, has maintained course, and Georgia, while seriously decimated by injuries, should remain in the top 25 this season. The surprises, though, are what make the league so special. No one had Missouri in the top 15 and very few thought Gus Malzahn could turn around Auburn so quickly, getting it back into the top 25 for the first time since November 2011.
Ole Miss: One team that would have made nine SEC schools in the AP Top 25, Ole Miss, dropped from the rankings two weeks ago when it lost to Auburn on the road. That defeat was bad enough. Losing at home to Texas A&M on a last-minute field Saturday night made it even worse. Sure, Ole Miss wasn't favored to win the game, but that didn't dull the sting of seeing another win slip away. Hugh Freeze told anyone who'd listen this offseason to expect some bumps in the road, that his team couldn't live up to the sky-high expectations being forced upon it. But Freeze couldn't help going 3-0 and beating Vanderbilt and Texas on the road. Now his team has come down from its early-season high and the holes we all expected -- offensive line, depth on defense, etc. -- are once again glaring. And with No. 6 LSU up next, things aren't getting any easier for the Rebels.
The Mad Hatter: Was Florida's defense that good? Was LSU's offense that bad? Did any of that matter? Nitpick all you want at LSU's 17-6 win at home over Florida, but the fact remains Les Miles' bunch won the game, improved to 6-1 on the season and remains right in the thick of the championship race. Yes, we all expected Zach Mettenberger, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry to do more through the air, but like a pitcher on the mound without his best stuff, LSU found a way to survive the day with a W. Jeremy Hill proved once again why he's one of the best running backs in the country, and we may have seen LSU's embattled young defense take an important step forward.
Clowney the villain: I'm reminded of the Jay-Z song "Can I Live," and no, it's not because of the rumor that the rap mogul tried to sign Jadeveon Clowney before the start of the season. Instead, you have to look at South Carolina's embattled defensive end as a point of over-speculation. Let's just let the man live. No, he's not having the Heisman Trophy campaign many hoped for, but so what? How many defensive players win the trophy, anyway? Forget the missed snaps and missed practices and all of the talk that surrounds Clowney and just appreciate his talent. Remember, he'll be gone to the NFL soon. Maybe after weeks and weeks of harping on the negative with very little to show for it, we can just let him play the game and watch him like we would any other player.
Alabama's defense: It took two defenders literally running into each other for Alabama to finally surrender an offensive touchdown. Against Kentucky, cornerbacks John Fulton and Jarrick Williams collided in coverage and both fell to the turf. UK wideout Javess Blue gladly caught the wide-open pass and trotted untouched into the end zone. And thus ended Alabama's streak of 14 quarters without allowing a single offensive touchdown. Alabama's defense, which garnered its fair share of criticism after being lit up by Texas A&M -- what defense hasn't? -- has played lights out since.
Kentucky's offense: The Air Raid 2.0 didn't get an inch off the ground Saturday in Lexington. Kentucky's young offense was dominated by Alabama, held to under 200 yards. It took a fluke play for the Wildcats to even score (see above). Converting on 2 of 12 third downs is bad no matter how you slice it. And to make matters worse, UK starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow looks like he'll miss some time after injuring his ankle. The good news is nothing was broken, but for a player who relies heavily on his mobility, coming back early isn't an option. Give Mark Stoops credit for what he has done on defense, but he has some work to do on the other side of the ball. You're not going to score many points in this league when you're starting a walk-on at wide receiver as UK did on Saturday night.
Homecoming disaster: Steve Spurrier's words after the game said it all. "I do feel badly for Arkansas," the South Carolina coach explained. "That's not fun getting your butt beat at home, homecoming and all." Why Arkansas scheduled the Gamecocks for its homecoming game is anyone's guess. But whoever did it should be second-guessing himself or herself today. In front of alumni and fans, the Hogs jumped out to a 7-0 lead, only to see South Carolina score 52 unanswered points and win going away. The Gamecocks threw for 260 yards to Arkansas' 30 and held the football 43:25 to Arkansas' 16:35. Watching, it felt like there was barely enough time to throw a parade, let alone name a homecoming queen.
1. Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC; last week: 1): Twitter was ablaze with tweets concerning Alabama's slow start at Kentucky. That worry quickly left after the Crimson Tide scored 31 consecutive points in the first half and cruised to a 48-7 win. Alabama isn't perfect, but it still has a hold on the SEC and is still the country's top team.
2. Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC; LW: 3): The Aggies certainly don't have much of a defense, but it doesn't really matter with Johnny Manziel running the show. For the second consecutive year, Manziel led a come-from-behind, game-winning drive against Ole Miss in Oxford. Not even a freak knee injury could slow him down. As long as he's making defenses look silly, the Aggies are a title contender.
3. LSU (6-1, 3-1 SEC; LW: 4): So there's that LSU defense we know and love. After some questionable early play, the Tigers defense held Florida to six points and just 240 yards of offense. With relentless pressure from the LSU defense, Florida's offense wilted inside of Tiger Stadium. LSU's offense wasn't great, but running back Jeremy Hill rushed for 121 yards against the nation's No. 1 rush defense.
4. Missouri (6-0, 2-0 SEC; LW: 7): Yeah, we all saw this one coming. These Tigers are undefeated and have the SEC's second-hottest offense behind Texas A&M. Mizzou strutted into Athens over the weekend and walked out with a win and their chests puffed out after a 41-26 win. The question now is if the Tigers can keep their momentum with quarterback James Franklin sidelined with a shoulder injury. It's Maty Mauk time in Columbia.
5. Georgia (4-2, 3-1 SEC; LW: 2): The Bulldogs defense struggled in the first half against Mizzou, but offensive mistakes really cost Georgia against the Tigers. Georgia was banged up on both sides of the ball and just didn't have the offensive star power around Aaron Murray to make a run late. It has been a rough week for the state of Georgia in the world of sports, and an unhealthy Bulldogs team is really hurting heading into its trip to Vanderbilt.
6. South Carolina (5-1, 3-1 SEC; LW: 6): Like LSU, we finally saw a balanced, solid defensive performance in a big game from the Gamecocks. Arkansas' running game churned out more than 200 yards, but the Gamecocks shut down the Hogs passing game, allowing just 30 yards on 4-of-13 passing. Connor Shaw continues to prove that he's made out of titanium and Mike Davis has rushed for 100-plus yards in five of six games.
7. Florida (4-2, 3-1 SEC; LW: 5): The Gators just couldn't get anything going on offense in Baton Rouge. Quarterback Tyler Murphy looked bewildered against LSU's blitz, and the offensive line crumbled under pressure. The offense averaged just 3.5 yards per play. The defense gave up some big plays, but held Zach Mettenberger to just 152 yards and a QBR of 46.7. No one would have blamed Florida's defense if it didn't allow the offense on the plane home Saturday.
8. Auburn (5-1, 2-1 SEC; LW: 8): No, the Tigers weren't playing hefty competition over the weekend, but this team is getting pretty fun to watch. Even without starting quarterback Nick Marshall, the Tigers registered 712 yards behind Jeremy Johnson in their 62-3 win over Western Carolina. Also, 511 of those yards came on the ground. Watch out for these Tigers.
9. Ole Miss (3-3, 1-3 SEC; LW: 9): How do you not run the ball on your final possession with Johnny Football standing on the other sideline? You can't give Manziel time to work with, and after the Rebels threw three straight incomplete passes on their last drive, Manziel was given 2:33 seconds to drive and win the game. He did, and the Rebels, who had their defense gashed, lost their third straight game.
10. Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3 SEC; LW: 10): The Commodores were off this weekend, so this team got an extra week to work out some of those defensive kinks. They'll need everything to be ironed out with a frustrated Georgia team heading to town. Keep an eye on receiver Jordan Matthews. He has had a stellar start to the year and leads the SEC with 47 receptions and is third with 709 yards.
11. Tennessee (3-3, 0-2 SEC; LW: 12): The Vols were off, but they moved up because of what happened while they were hanging out on the couch this weekend. Plus, almost beating Georgia two weeks ago was pretty impressive. This team still has a long way to go before it's truly competitive in the SEC, but the performance against Georgia might give the Vols some nice momentum for the rest of the season.
12. Mississippi State (3-3, 0-2 SEC; LW: 13): The Bulldogs got quite the scare at home against Bowling Green. With a two-headed quarterback attack of Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott, Mississippi State slipped by the Falcons 21-20. It certainly wasn't pretty, but it was a must-win for the Bulldogs as they look to make it to the postseason. The Bulldogs are off this week, which is probably a good thing, as this team looks to regroup after an up-and-down first half of the season.
13. Arkansas (3-4, 0-3 SEC; LW: 11): Picking the Razorbacks to pull the upset over South Carolina was a major mental lapse on my part. The passing game was nonexistent against the Gamecocks and the defense was trampled on. This team can run the ball, but it just doesn't have an adequate passing game right now to make a real push in Bret Bielema's first season.
14. Kentucky (1-5, 0-3 SEC; LW: 14): The Wildcats had some fight early against Alabama, but then the talent difference put the Wildcats back in their place. Coach Mark Stoops said his team doesn't plan to cave and will be competitive from here on out. It has been a rough first year for Stoops, but attitude is everything when it comes to building.
Biggest commitment: ESPN 300 offensive tackle Donell Stanley (Latta, S.C./Latta) committed to South Carolina on Friday. The 197th-ranked player in the nation chose the Gamecocks over rival Clemson, Alabama, USC and UNC. South Carolina now has 13 commitments including 5 if the ESPN 300.
Thanks to all the #Gamecock love I received yesterday feels great to b apart of the family #WeCocky #GamecockNation
— Donell Stanley (@DonellStanley72) October 12, 2013
Auburn picked up a commitment from three-star athlete Myron Burton Jr. (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge). Though listed as an athlete, Auburn is recruiting Burton as a wide receiver. He announced his decision on Twitter on Saturday after visiting the Tigers for their win over Western Carolina:
Officially committed to Auburn University! Thanks to everyone that supported me along the way. #Blessed #WDE #WarEagleBest weekend performances: Many SEC commits were in action this weekend. Here's a look at some of the top performances:
— Myron Burton (@myronburton3) October 12, 2013
- RB Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy), Alabama commit: Ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 13 rushes in a 49-3 win.
- RB Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), Georgia commit: Chubb accounted for 355 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 42-34 win on Friday.
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Each week during the college football season, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay kick off the week by settling a debate, and then look at emerging NFL prospects and peek ahead to next week.
The discussion: Which one-loss team is most likely to get back in the BCS title race?
Mel Kiper: There are two common themes for the best one-loss teams that remain:
1. They all have a pretty clear flaw.
2. They all have at least a shot to control their destiny and play for a title.
Start with the best one-loss team:
LSU: The Tigers are talented on the defensive side of the ball, but even after a great effort in holding Florida to only six points, the reality is they're still relying on a lot of youth, and haven't proved they can shut down a capable offense. The Florida offense hasn't been an efficient unit all season, and I expected the Tigers to hold them in check. But Georgia was able to move the ball at will, and even Mississippi State and TCU looked good against this defense for long stretches. Still, LSU controls its destiny, and growth from a young defense could make the Tigers BCS title contenders. If they won out, they'd have beaten Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Alabama, and that's before an SEC championship game. That easily puts them in title contention.
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The Southeastern Conference set a record Sunday for most schools in The Associated Press college football poll with eight ranked teams.
The Top 25 was shaken Sunday after seven ranked teams lost, including five to teams that were unranked or lower ranked. Stanford dropped eight spots and Michigan fell from the poll.
The top four was unchanged, with No. 1 Alabama receiving 55 of 60 first-place votes. No. 2 is Oregon, followed by Clemson and Ohio State. Florida State moved up to No. 5 to set up a top-five matchup at Clemson next week.
Stanford, which had been top-five all season, lost 27-20 at Utah and dropped eight spots to No. 13. The Cardinal's Pac-12 and national title hopes took a serious hit, though they'll be able to get right back in the conversation next week by beating No. 9 UCLA at home.
No. 24 Auburn moved into the rankings for the first time this season to join No. 6 LSU, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 11 South Carolina, No. 14 Missouri, No. 15 Georgia and No. 22 Florida from the SEC.
Missouri (6-0) jumped 11 spots with its first statement victory since joining the SEC, a 41-26 win against banged-up Georgia. But the Tigers lost quarterback James Franklin to a separated throwing shoulder. The senior will miss the rest of the regular season, a source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy on Saturday. Franklin's replacement is Maty Mauk, a redshirt freshman and big-time recruit.
The record for most teams from one conference in a regular-season poll had been seven, done many times, including this season by the SEC. The ACC and Big Ten have also reached seven ranked teams in season.
The SEC also had eight teams ranked in the 2011 preseason poll.
Missouri went into Athens, Ga., and proved that it is for real by beating Georgia. But the Tigers lost their starting quarterback, James Franklin, to a shoulder injury in the process. If he is out the rest of the regular season, that means the Tigers would have to face three Top 25 teams (Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M) with a freshman quarterback (Maty Mauk). The fortunate part of that is that all three of those games are at home. But figuring out where they're going to fall in at the end of this thing is tough. They have Florida and South Carolina the next two weeks, so that will be telling.
Georgia took its second loss of the season and its first SEC loss, so it no longer controls its own destiny. But with Missouri defeating the Bulldogs, we put Georgia below the Tigers in the pecking order ... for now. The toughest part of Georgia's schedule is behind it, and it has just one ranked team -- the showdown with Florida on Nov. 2 -- left on its schedule. If the Bulldogs can get healthy, they have the chance for a strong end-of-season run.
Florida struggled offensively in its loss at LSU on Saturday, and it still has a tough road ahead. After Missouri, Georgia is on deck, and there are still battles against South Carolina and a nonconference game against Florida State left. Meanwhile, South Carolina pounded Arkansas on the road and also has Missouri and a Clemson battle at the end of the season.
Alabama is still on top, and we gave LSU the other BCS nod from the SEC. But keep an eye on Texas A&M, which could move up in the rankings this week after its thrilling win and a couple of losses from other teams in the polls. The other questions remain at the bottom, where it might be a challenge for the SEC to fill its bowl tie-ins. Arkansas, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt all still need three more wins, and Ole Miss is the only one with a conference victory at this point.
VIZIO BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 6: Alabama
Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2: LSU
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: South Carolina
AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 3: Texas A&M
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Missouri
Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31: Georgia
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Florida
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30: Auburn
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31: Vanderbilt
BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 4: Ole Miss
AdvoCare V100 Bowl, Dec. 31: Arkansas