Week 12 SEC Football Power Rankings

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Week 12 SEC Team Power Rankings

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Only one game featuring ranked opponents was on the SEC schedule in Week 11, but it was a big one with LSU traveling to Alabama to take on their nemesis in the western division and former Tiger’s head coach, Nick Saban.

With a win in Tuscaloosa, the Tigers could salvage their season after two early losses, in the process spoiling the BCS National Championship aspirations of the Crimson Tide. That was a nice plan in theory but not in practice as Alabama thoroughly dominated LSU in the trenches, showing that they have clearly separated themselves from the No. 2 team in the conference.

Alabama has been in the top spot since the completion of spring practice when the first rankings were unveiled, and why wouldn’t they be after back-to-back titles? The spots immediately behind Saban’s team have fluctuated throughout the season with a handful of teams laying claim to the runner-up spot this season.

This jockeying for position in the second tier of the conference has been the biggest drama on a weekly basis as some surprise teams (Auburn, Missouri and Ole Miss) have continued to play at a high level. Earlier in the season, it was easy to discount them as having an easy schedule and not having staying power.

As we enter Week 12 with only three regular season weeks remaining, these teams have established themselves as having staying power as some preseason darlings have turned into pretenders.

Here are your Week 12 SEC Power Rankings and as always, sound off in the comments section and let me know who you think is ranked too high or too low.

Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and add him to your Google network.

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14. Kentucky

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky has two wins on the season: one against a winless Miami (OH) team and another against Alabama State from the SWAC. A couple more recruiting classes like the one Mark Stoops has lined up could make the Wildcats much more competitive.

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13. Arkansas

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Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas has dropped seven straight after starting 3-0 and have been eliminated from bowl contention, but could there be hope at the end of the rainbow? The Hogs are idle this week before hosting a Mississippi State team who will be one week removed from playing Alabama, and will then travel to LSU to take on the Tigers, who could be deflated after a potential back-breaking fourth loss on the season vs. Texas A&M. A win over the Bulldogs will be expected and a win over LSU would provide much-needed momentum heading into the offseason.

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12. Tennessee

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The string of top-11 opponents is now in the rear view mirror for the Vols after going 1-4 in those last five games. The defense has been poor and the offense hasn't fared much better, but they have two weeks to prepare for a home game vs. Vanderbilt and a road date at Kentucky. Win out and they're bowling.

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11. Mississippi State

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Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs sure did play Texas A&M tough and you have to tip your cap at the performance of Dak Prescott, who played and did so exceptionally well three days after burying his mother who lost her battle with colon cancer. He has a fan for life in me after his inspiring performance.

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10. Florida

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for Florida this season in a year that the Gators would like to forget. The 2013 season bottomed out with a loss to Vanderbilt at home, and barring a win at South Carolina or vs. Florida State, Florida will have a losing season and miss a bowl. All that may be enough for Will Muschamp to enter the unemployment line.

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9. Vanderbilt

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Dores picked up their first win over Florida since 1988 and their first win in Gainesville since 1945, doing so with backup QB Patton Robinette. If they can get past Tennessee, they should have an eight-win season and a third straight bowl berth.

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8. LSU

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

LSU had their chances at Alabama, but two fumbles resulted in a 10-point swing in favor of the Crimson Tide. A fake punt by Alabama in the third quarter swung momentum heavily in favor of the two-time defending champs as LSU had no answer for T.J. Yeldon in the run game.

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7. Georgia

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia is 2-0 since Todd Gurley returned to the lineup, and you have to wonder where this team would be had they had him healthy all season. This week's game at Auburn would be an opportune time to regain some of the momentum the 'Dawgs had in late September.

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6. Ole Miss

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

He is overshadowed by some other great quarterbacks in the SEC, but Bo Wallace is having an underrated season and his performance vs. Arkansas helped propel Ole Miss to bowl-eligibility. This team is on a roll, and their game in two weeks vs. Missouri is going to be awfully fun.

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5. South Carolina

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Winners in six of their last seven games, the Gamecocks are hoping Missouri stumbles down the stretch to get atop the SEC east standings. Mike Davis leads the SEC in rushing, Connor Shaw is fourth in passer rating and Kelcy Quarles leads the team in sacks (not Jadeveon Clowney), good for fourth in the SEC.

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4. Texas A&M

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Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Another game, another historic performance by Johnny Manziel as he is the first SEC quarterback in the last 10 years with four consecutive games with at least 400 yards passing. He matched his career-high with five touchdowns, but did throw three interceptions in what was likely his final game at Kyle Field.

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3. Missouri

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

How many teams would love to have Maty Mauk as their starting quarterback? The backup to James Franklin has been heating up with eight passing touchdowns -- five to Dorial Green-Beckham -- and an average of 252 yards of offense in the past two starts. However, Franklin will start after the bye week at Ole Miss and hopes to pick up where he left off. Missouri is 6-0 when Franklin starts.

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2. Auburn

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The running game of Auburn is as dominant as any in recent memory as the Tigers average 320 yards per game and exploded for 444 at Tennessee, with 214 coming from quarterback Nick Marshall. No SEC running back has eclipsed that number this season, and if that wasn't enough, they have Tre Mason, who is second in yards in the SEC and leads in touchdowns.

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1. Alabama

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama dominated LSU on both sides of the ball and finished the game vs. one of their SEC west rivals with 21 unanswered points, putting on a clinic at running the football and stopping the run. LSU was held to minus-16 yards in the second half as Alabama rolled up north of 100. I believe there is a huge gap between no. 1 and no. 2 in these rankings -- more so than between any other two teams -- but we will see how wide it is in a couple weeks in the best Iron Bowl matchup since Cam Newton was on the Plains.

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