'Uncle Mo' poll after Week 12 has Tide on top, Mississippi rivals ahead of Florida
From a momentum perspective, the two intra-division SEC West games in Week 12 were the most meaningful. The Mississippi teams are moving in the right direction and have plenty to play for in this year’s Egg Bowl. Alabama still looks like the SEC’s most-likely playoff team, while SEC East champion Florida fails to impress against weak competition.
Uncle Mo watched the games, checked out the polls before and after, and read all the beat-writer breakdowns to figure out which SEC teams have the most momentum going for them right now.
Let’s see where everyone stands:
- Alabama: The Crimson Tide didn’t gain any noteworthy momentum from a 56-6 win over FCS opponent Charleston Southern, but Nick Saban’s squad is still the most likely SEC team to make the College Football Playoff and compete for a national title. But before Alabama starts thinking about its playoff run, it must win the Iron Bowl against Auburn.
- Ole Miss: Toward the end of an up-and-down season, Ole Miss is climbing the momentum poll, trending toward a potential Sugar Bowl bid. With a new ranking of No. 18 after the 38-17 win over division rival LSU, the Rebels become fans of the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles this week. Mississippi has two possible paths to the Sugar Bowl: win the SEC Championship, or finish ranked above Florida team (currently No. 12 with a 10-1 record). Any help from the Tigers and Noles is for naught if Ole Miss doesn’t win the Egg Bowl over Mississippi State.
- Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are back in the playoff committee’s top-25, and in the Sugar Bowl picture, after a 51-50 win over Arkansas. Similar to Ole Miss, No. 21 MSU is hoping to see the Gators stumble against FSU and the SEC West champion.
- Florida: UF coach Jim McElwain compared his team to “dead fish on ice” after a 20-14 overtime win over Florida Atlantic (2-9). After falling to No. 12 in the playoff poll, the same could be said about Florida’s momentum. A win over in-state rival No. 13 FSU would give the Gators some life heading into the SEC Championship Game.
- Tennessee: The Volunteers extended their winning streak to four games with a 19-8 win at Missouri. At 7-4, UT can finish no worse than last season (7-6). A win over Vanderbilt on Saturday would get Tennessee to its highest win total since 2007, when it posted a 10-4 record.
- Texas A&M: The Aggies beat Vanderbilt 25-0, giving them back-to-back victories for the first time since Oct. 3. TAMU will face an LSU team motivated to play for its embattled coach, Les Miles, in the regular-season finale.
- Georgia: RB Sony Michel probably saved Coach Mark Richt’s job (for another week at least) with his game-winning touchdown in overtime against Georgia Southern. UGA will be looking for revenge against in-state rival Georgia Tech after last year’s 30-24 upset by the Yellow Jackets.
- Auburn: The Tigers secured bowl eligibility with a 56-34 win over Idaho. A lot has gone wrong in the first GusChamp season, but if AU could upset Alabama, (almost) all would be forgiven on the Plains.
- Kentucky: UK improved to 5-6 with a 58-10 win over Charlotte. There is talk of 5-7 teams making a bowl game due to lack of eligible six-win teams, but the Wildcats probably need to defeat Louisville to secure certain bowl eligibility. Coach Mark Stoops, in his third year, is trying to get Kentucky to its first bowl game since the 2010 season.
- Arkansas: The Razorbacks’ winning streak ended at four games on a blocked field goal against Mississippi State. Arkansas, which has scored 134 points in its last three games, will finish the season against a Missouri team that has scored 160 points all season (11 games).
- LSU: The Bayou Bengals are out of the Sugar Bowl picture and Les Miles might be out of a job by this weekend. Over a three-week period, LSU has gone from No. 2 in the playoff poll to a possible coaching vacancy. The Tigers can take some positive momentum into a bowl game with a bounce-back win over Texas A&M.
- Missouri: Coach Gary Pinkel’s home finale was spoiled by a 19-8 loss to Tennessee. Mizzou has been talked about as a potential candidate for a 5-7 bowl invite, but the Tigers would rather get bowl eligibility the traditional way – by defeating Arkansas for a sixth win.
- Vanderbilt: The Commodores are out of the bowl picture following a 25-0 loss to Texas A&M. Vanderbilt could end the season on a high note by going to Neyland Stadium and upsetting Tennessee.
- South Carolina: There are disappointing seasons. There are losing seasons. And then there are seasons in which a team loses to its in-state FCS little brother. USC’s 23-22 loss to The Citadel is certainly the low point of a 3-8 season in Columbia. South Carolina faces No. 1 Clemson next week, and could ruin another ACC team’s season with an upset of epic proportions.