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SEC Football Power Poll: Week 8

1. LSU (7-0, 4-0 SEC, 1st last week): The Tigers got off to a slow start, not scoring until the second quarter, but dominated Tennessee 38-7 in Knoxville on Saturday. A long interception return by junior cornerback Morris Claiborne set up their first score early in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Jarrett Lee completed 13 of 17 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns while the running game gained 237 yards on 49 carries. Two weeks away from the Nov. 5 showdown with Alabama in Tuscaloosa, this Saturday’s game against Auburn is the definition of a trap game, particularly with the suspension of star sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and two other players.

This week: Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC), 2:30 p.m., CBS

2. Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC, 2nd last week): After Ole Miss scored on the opening drive of the game, it was all Alabama as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 52-7 blowout win in Oxford. Junior running back Trent Richardson ran for a career-high 183 yards and four touchdowns to lead the ground attack, which accounted for 389 yards on 42 carries. Sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron completed 19 of 24 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown. The defense held the Rebels to nine first downs and 141 yards of total offense, including just 28 rushing yards on 31 carries. Like LSU, they have a trap game against rival Tennessee this Saturday.

This week: Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC), 6:15 p.m., ESPN2

3. Arkansas (5-1, 1-1 SEC, 3rd last week): Last time out, junior quarterback Tyler Wilson completed 24 of 26 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns and the Razorbacks scored 31 unanswered points in a 38-14 win over Auburn. The Razorbacks are among the nation’s leaders in scoring offense, total offense and pass offense. Arkansas had two weeks to rest, rehab and prepare for a rivalry game at Ole Miss this Saturday. From there, the schedule sets up for a showdown with LSU at the end of the season with, perhaps, a return to the Sugar Bowl on the line for the Razorbacks.

This week: at Ole Miss (2-4, 0-3 SEC), 11:21 a.m., SEC Network

4. Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC, 4th last week): It was ugly, but special teams play lifted the Tigers to a 17-6 win over Florida Saturday night. Junior quarterback Barrett Trotter was benched after completing just two of eight passes for 33 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Clint Mosely, who was named the starter for this Saturday’s game at LSU, came on in relief and sparked the offense, completing four of seven passes for 90 yards. A third quarterback, freshman Kiehl Frazier, completed his only pass for no gain but also ran for 41 yards on eight carries. The Tigers took full advantage of the Gators’ three turnovers, including two muffed punts.

This week: at LSU (7-0, 4-0 SEC), 2:30 p.m., CBS

5. Georgia (5-2, 4-1 SEC, 6th last week): This ranking is a prediction more than anything that the Bulldogs will represent the SEC Eastern Division, especially after the loss of Lattimore for South Carolina. Georgia jumped out to a 23-7 lead and held off a furious second-half comeback in a 33-28 win at Vanderbilt on Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 326 yards on 22-of-38 passing, to go along with three touchdown passes while the defense forced four turnovers. Looking ahead, Georgia has two weeks to prepare for the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” against Florida in Jacksonville.

This week: Bye, Next week vs. Florida (4-3, 2-3 SEC), 2:30 p.m., CBS

6. South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC, 5th last week): The Gamecocks survived as sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw connected with junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for a four-yard touchdown with less than four minutes left in the game in a 14-12 win at Mississippi State Saturday. The bigger news from the game, however, is sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore’s season-ending knee injury, which he suffered in the fourth quarter. In his absence, there is more pressure on South Carolina to manufacture offense with Shaw, Jeffery, freshman running back Brandon Wilds and sophomore wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who also plays some “wildcat” quarterback.

This week: Bye, Next week: at Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC), 6:15, ESPN/ESPN2

7. Florida (4-3, 2-3 SEC, 7th last week): The Gators were a mess, to say the least, in Saturday’s 17-6 loss at Auburn. Freshman quarterbacks Jeff Driskel (9-18, 75 yards) and Jacoby Brissett (5-10, 45 yards) both struggled. On special teams, returners muffed two punts. With senior running back Jeff Demps out with an injury, senior running back Chris Rainey (16 carries for 33 yards) and the Florida running game was shut down (30 carries for 66 yards). The Gators hope to have both Brantley and Demps back for Georgia in two weeks and get back in the SEC Eastern Division race or, at least, play spoiler down the stretch.

This week: Bye, Next week: vs. Georgia (5-2, 4-1 SEC), 2:30 p.m., CBS

8. Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC, 8th last week): With a depleted roster after injuries to sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray and sophomore wide receiver Justin Hunter, the Volunteers hung in for the first quarter before LSU routed Tennessee 38-7 Saturday in Knoxville. The murderer’s row continues this Saturday with a visit to Alabama, followed by a home game with South Carolina. In the loss, the Volunteers ran for 111 yards on 29 carries, led by senior running back Tauren Poole (19 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown). Senior quarterback Matt Simms struggled, completing six of 20 passes for 128 yards with two interceptions.

This week: at Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC), 6:15, ESPN2

9. Vanderbilt (3-3, 1-3 SEC, 9th last week): The Commodores nearly overcame four turnovers with trick plays and special teams play but couldn’t come back and pull the upset in a 33-28 loss to Georgia. Vanderbilt scored on a halfback pass from junior running back Zac Stacy, a 96-yard kickoff return and then a blocked punt with seven seconds left in the game gave the Commodores one more chance at the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line. For the second straight game, junior quarterback Jordan Rodgers (4-19, 47 yards, INT) came on in relief for senior quarterback Larry Smith (5-10, 24 yards, 2 INT).

This week: Army (2-4), 6 p.m., ESPNU

10. Mississippi State (3-4, 0-4 SEC, 10th last week): The Bulldogs scored first and then regained the lead with a short field goal early in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough in a 14-12 loss to the Gamecocks of South Carolina. Mississippi State outgained South Carolina 296-289, but the defense couldn’t get a stop on the Gamecocks’ game-winning drive. In place of benched senior quarterback Chris Relf, sophomore Tyler Russell completed 11 of 29 passes for 165 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The Bulldogs have two weeks to settle on a quarterback and regroup to try to be bowl eligible this season.

This week: Bye, Next week: at Kentucky (2-4, 0-3 SEC), Fox Sports Net

11. Ole Miss (2-4, 0-3 SEC, 11th last week): The Rebels got off to a great start, scoring on the opening drive but couldn’t keep the momentum going as Alabama dominated Ole Miss 52-7 Saturday. The Crimson Tide outgained the Rebels 615-141 yards, including 389-28 on the ground. In his first SEC start, junior quarterback Randall Mackey completed 10 of 21 passes for 113 yards. Ole Miss also lost two senior defensive captains for the season in cornerback Marcus Temple and defensive end Wayne Dorsey. It is with all this turmoil that head coach Houston Nutt welcomes his old team to Oxford this Saturday.

This week: Arkansas (5-1, 1-1 SEC), 11:21 a.m., SEC Network

12. Kentucky (2-4, 0-3 SEC, 12th last week): The Wildcats’ offense was brutal in a 54-3 blowout loss at South Carolina two weeks ago. Kentucky managed only six first downs and 96 yards of total offense. Junior quarterback Morgan Newton, who will remain the starter, completed only four of 20 passes for 17 yards with an interception in a fumble. The defense, meanwhile, gave up 32 first downs and 639 yards of total offense. The Wildcats had two weeks to regroup and prepare for Jacksonville State. Yes, the Jacksonville State that is currently No. 8 in the FCS rankings and defeated Ole Miss 49-48 in double-overtime last season.

This week: Jacksonville State (5-1), 11 a.m., ESPNU