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Kicking Off Week 10 With LSU-Alabama and the Gators

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GATOR HYPE-O-METER
On a scale of 1 to 100

Hypeometerweek10_medium
Moves up 25 points after the Gators annihilate Georgia and clinch the East while gaining ground in the polls.

UPS AND DOWNS
A look at who's going which way in college football 

Takeup_medium TENNESSEE
We said the win against Georgia was a fluke. Then the near-win at Alabama was a fluke. It might be time to stop saying that. Lord help us.

Takeup_medium SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Looks like it might be the marquee game that was predicted. Let's talk about the selection of officials, though ...

Takedown_medium SOUTHERN CAL
The Trojans didn't just loose, they got demolished by the upstart Ducks. Brent Musberger still hasn't recovered.

Takedown_medium MIDDLE OF THE SEC EAST
South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky all go down on Saturday, some of them in most ugly fashion. At least you'll get to a bowl ahead of Vanderbilt this year.

Takedown_medium MIKE SLIVE
A gag rule doesn't look as bad if you make sure there's nothing to complain about.

Takedown_medium HEISMAN AWARD
How much longer can interest survive without a front-runner emerging?

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
A few things to think about this week

Poll positions
This wasn't the best week for the SEC when it came to the polls; Alabama moved down in both the coaches and the AP surveys and both Ole Miss and South Carolina dropped from the ranks entirely. The league now has the nation's No. 1, No. 3 and No. 9 teams -- and no else until unofficial No. 28 Auburn in the AP voting, No. 29 for the coaches.

The big story in Alabama losing ground to Texas appears to actually be less about a contest between the Tide and the Longhorns; in fact, many of Alabama's first-place votes appear to have gone to Florida instead. For example, Florida had 30 first-place ballots last week to Alabama's 23 and Texas' 7. This time around, the Gators are at No. 1 on 38 ballots to Texas' 13 and Alabama's 8. In other words, Alabama appears to have lost eight votes to Florida and six to Texas. The pattern was even more pronounced on the coaches' ballots, where Alabama lost four votes to Florida and none to Texas but fell behind the Longhorns anyway.

Not that either margin is insurmountable for Alabama; they're down just 18 points in the AP voting and 5 in the coaches' survey. It's slightly larger in the always-farcical Harris Poll [PDF], though the glorified legends poll is not that far out of whack with the rest of the polls at this point.

The question going forward is whether any team beside Alabama, Florida and LSU can or will make a case for being ranked. Auburn might be the only team with a legitimate schedule and the winnable games to do it, but the Tigers haven't been consistent enough right now to bet anything on that.

We don't need Road to Atlanta this week
With the Gators wrapping up the SEC East and Ole Miss' loss to Auburn ending their longshot dreams of an SEC West title, this weekend's game between Alabama and LSU becomes almost a playoff game for the division crown. It won't end things in the West -- both the Tide and Tigers still have two SEC games left after this weekend, and a loss or two by the winner could allow the loser back in.

Of course, the game between Alabama and LSU also marks the annual Saban Bowl, and so far its been a close annual contest. LSU won the first edition in 2007 by a 41-34 score in Tuscaloosa; Alabama returned the favor last year by winning 27-21 in overtime in Baton Rouge. That game, you'll remember was decided in part when Jarrett Lee threw (what else?) an interception on LSU's overtime drive.

There are some intriguing undercards. South Carolina and Arkansas meet in Fayetteville to play for bowl position in what has developed into a kind of rivalry now that the teams play each other every year and Florida hosts Vanderbilt in a game where we'll find out just how heartless Urban Meyer wants to be. Aside from that, it's actually a pretty dull weekend.

SEC NEWS

They missed it. You know, asking the referees not to go overboard with personal fouls and the like doesn't mean you should just allow the players to kill each other out there.


(HT: Georgia Sports Blog)

Urban Meyer says he'll have a talk with the young man. I'm sure that will satisfy Georgia fans.

As long as he didn't gouge out Tebow's eyes ...
There was no "skirmish" between Brandon Spikes and the Golden Tebow, according to Urban Meyer. But there was a meeting.

Wouldn't you say if your starting quarterback is still your starting quarterback?
Mark Richt refuses to say whether Joe Cox will remain Georgia's starting quarterback -- which gives you a pretty good idea about which way he's leaning.

Richt did say that any decision will be based not on preparing a young player for the future -– but "100 percent" on what gives Georgia the best chance to win the four games remaining on this season's schedule.

When did the quarterback start playing defense?

Richt not worried about a bowl this year
After all, it's not like missing one would reflect on the program or anything.

We have four regular-season games left, and there’s no guarantee of a bowl game. We’re 4-4 this season. I don’t think that’s an indictment on the program. I think it’s an indictment on how we’ve played this year.

At the risk of sparking more anger from Georgia fans -- forgive me if I think that comment edges dangerously close to throwing the players under the bus.

Richt stands behind black helmets
But I wouldn't expect Georgia to wear them again any time soon.

Which raises this question
Who would pay $30 to watch Tennessee Tech-Georgia?

Maybe it's better when the players ask for uniform changes
Tennessee did much better in their black uniforms, defeating the Gamecocks 31-13.

This should really come as no surprise
Daniel Moore is preparing to paint "Maximum Block," commemorating Terrence Cody's play against Tennessee.

Mike Hartline ready to practice
Nothing more.

Then what does that make your team?
Ron English on the Razorbacks: "I don't think they're great, but they're OK."

Mystery at UK
John Calipari obviously did not decide which games John Wall will miss because of a compliance issue. He's as pure as the driven snow, Kentucky fans assure us, so this must be purely an interest in the young man's future. Yeah, that's it.

Injury Report

SS Zac Etheridge (Auburm)
Neck injury, season

DE Cliff Matthews (South Carolina)
Dislocated shoulder, out

RB Derrick Locke (Kentucky)
Knee injury, questionable to doubtful

LB Savion Frazier, LB LaMarcus Thompson, DE Gerald Williams, DT Marlon Walls, DE Chris Walker (Tennessee)
Assorted injuries, unclear

WR A.J. Green, OL Clint Boling (Georgia)
Knee, rib; unclear

RB Chris Rainey (Florida)
Shoulder, unclear

OTHER NEWS

Just when I was back to not hating them
Dr. Saturday says the Southern Cal dynasty is dead.

But clearly these are not the same Trojans, and it seems impossible to imagine going on pretending that they are. USC has enough talent to rebound and finish this season in dominating reminiscent of its recent, dominating past, and to come back strong enough to reassume its West Coast crown again next year. But the assumption is gone, the aura totally obliterated by a stumpy JUCO transfer with a somewhat suspect arm.

The numbers as the Doc recounts them are really staggering. It really was the worst loss of the Pete Carroll Era.

Pac-10 Commissioner to sit down with LeGarrette Blount
We would suggest he sit far away. Blount could be on track to return to the field.

Told you he picked his teeth with shattered tail lights
Ndamukong Suh hits three parked cars in a story that is, in all seriousness, a reminder that it doesn't take being "drunk" to cause damage.

Temple could go to bowl
No word on whether this is a sign of impending apocaplypse.

If you're not making personnel decisions anymore
Why bother staying on as head coach?