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VOL. 129 | NO. 205 | Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SEC Finds Dominance at Top of Associated Press Poll

By Don Wade

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Another week, another first in the Associated Press college football poll. For the first time, one conference – yes, the SEC – has placed four teams in the top five. Mississippi State remained No. 1 after its bye week. Florida State of the ACC stayed No. 2 after defeating Notre Dame. Ole Miss held at No. 3 after beating Tennessee, Alabama moved up three spots to No. 4 after blasting Texas A&M 59-0, and Auburn moved up a spot to fifth after its bye week.

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace’s Rebels are one of five SEC West teams ranked in the top 5 in the A.P. poll.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

None of the four SEC teams play each other next weekend, leaving open the possibility they will all still be in the top five again next week. Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott said being No. 1 didn’t make their bye week anything out of the ordinary.

“It’s not any different around here,” Prescott said. “Nothing really changes. We have to do the same things we have been doing and even do them better.”

The Bulldogs travel to Kentucky next Saturday. The Wildcats are coming off a 41-3 loss to LSU in Death Valley.

“I think we were a little bit (rattled) actually,” said Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles.

Quarterback Jameis Winston and FSU survived for a 31-27 victory over Notre Dame to remain unbeaten. Winston, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, has made much off-the-field news – from his walk-away crab legs incident to the current investigation into signing autographs for money. And that’s just the short list.

“Jameis is not a dumb kid,” Seminoles defensive end Mario Edwards told ESPN.com. “He just makes poor decisions at times, just like everybody his age does. Things get blown up a lot bigger because he’s Jameis Winston and he won the Heisman, and it’s not fair to him and it’s not fair to us.”

Ole Miss and Tennessee look to be universes apart after the Rebels (7-0, 4-0) defeated the Vols (3-4, 0-3) by a score of 34-3 and recorded seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss and stopped UT’s running game cold: 0 rushing yards on 28 attempts.

The Rebels are first in the nation at points against at 10.6 per game and coach Hugh Freeze said, “You have to figure if we can score 17 to 20 points then we have a chance to win a lot of games with the way we’re playing (defense).”

Meantime, Vols coach Butch Jones didn’t just see a game that got away from them, though it did, but a rather large gap between where UT is and where it needs to be.

“All week long we talked about having to earn every yard we get, that this game would be a battle of field possession,” Jones said. “I thought that was extremely evident in the first half and we did not cash in on that.

“I think the overall lack of depth is apparent. I am a realist and the only way to fix this is recruitment.”

The Arkansas Razorbacks’ SEC losing streak is now 16 games, 12 under second-year coach Bret Bielema. The Hogs are 3-4 and 0-4 after losing 45-32 to Georgia. It was a clear case of regression after holding fourth-quarter leads before falling to Texas A&M and Alabama.

Georgia led 38-6 at half. Said Bielema: “The first half, we weren’t ourselves. And the only person responsible for that is me.”

Florida didn’t just lose to Missouri 42-13; the Gators did several things that seemed impossible. For one, they gave up touchdowns on a punt return, a kick return, a fumble return and an interception return. They also committed six turnovers.

All that sounds like you should lose. On the other hand, Missouri only had seven first down and 20 yards passing. How do you not win with those numbers?

The Gators are now 3-3 and 2-3 and if you don’t have your own website calling for Will Muschamp’s job or for the purposes of recruiting Mullen or Freeze to Gainesville, than you’re a Florida fan who just isn’t trying hard enough. The Missouri game also was homecoming.

“It was 20-0 before the second half,” said Gators senior offensive lineman Max Garcia. “Honestly, it could have been a lot worse.”

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