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Sea of Blue SEC Power Rankings: Week 6

A scheduling issue has pushed our weekly ranking of the league's teams back a few days, and we apologize. let's get to it, as parity has come to the SEC East (sort of), and this week's SEC Power Rankings for Week 6 (Ending Wednesday, Feb. 14).

February 16 SEC Power Rankings
(1) #1 (AP/ESPN), 24-2 (11-0 SEC): Those of us that wondered whether the Florida Gators had the mettle to make it unscathed through the supposedly tougher, better SEC have to start sweating it. The Gators survived Rupp Arena, then rallied past a determined Bama and are now eyeing a clean run through the rest of the slate. With an NCAA #1 seed looking likely, it's all about posturing and avoiding overconfidence now.
Up Next: Vanderbilt (R, Sat.)
(2) NR, 18-8 (6-5): While Ole Miss is winning out West, the hottest team in the league is the revamped Tennessee Volunteers. Chris Lofton's return gave the stumbling Vols the jolt they needed, and his absence for a few games looks to have given young UT a chance to find itself at the right time. Stomping rival Vandy and then tripping up visiting Kentucky leaves the Orange in much better shape for the stretch run.
Up Next: South Carolina (R, Sat.)
(3) #18 (ESPN)/#20 (AP), 18-7, (7-4): Last weekend, it looked like the margin between the SEC's best team and its supposed second-best team was razor thin. Now? Hard to say the Kentucky Wildcats are even the league's number two. A whiff at Tennessee this week made doubters of many who had watched the Cats push Florida to the brink. But the SchizoCats lose to Bama on the road this weekend and anxieties come calling.
Up Next: Alabama (R, Sat.)
(4) NR, 17-8 (6-5): No one nationally is talking about the Ole Miss Rebels, but us SEC followers sure are. Heck, the Rebs have won four straight, including over LSU and Bama. Andy Kennedy's bunch are the only West team over .500 in the league, and while there aren't a lot of big wins on the tourney resume, folks will have to pay attention if the Rebels are plus-two or -three in the league come Selection Sunday.
Up Next: Alabama (H, Sat.)
(5) NR, 17-8 (7-4): Understandably, the surprising Vanderbilt Commodores were exposed as a good, but not SEC title-winning team in games against Florida and rampaging Tennessee recently. However, Derrick Byars and the 'Dores are still on the inside looking out if the NCAAs were today. Nothing in this league is certain, except that a win over Florida in Saturday's rematch would seal the deal for Vandy.
Up Next: Florida (R, Sat.)
(6) #25 (AP), 18-7 (5-6): There's a temptation to give the Alabama Crimson Tide more credit than several of the East's middle-pack teams, but it's hard to know why. Despite possessing better talent, the Tide has managed one big mediocre-a-thon all season, winning unimpressively and losing even moreso. But most figure Alabama has the resume to coast in with a reasonable SEC mark. Beating Kentucky would help.
Up Next: Kentucky (H, Sat.)
(7) NR, 15-9 (6-5): It remains to be seen just how bad losing Mike Mercer's athletic scoring will hurt the Georgia Bulldogs. Dennis Felton's boys have a fairly favorable schedule down the stretch, but hardly looked like world-beaters in topping Kennesaw State. Still, the 'Dawgs are on the good side of .500 in the conference. Will 8-8 be enough? A lot depends on who the wins and losses are to, and who else is bubble-fied.
Up Next: Auburn (H, Sat.)
(8) NR, 14-10 (5-6): Just when I began to count the Mississippi St. Bulldogs out, they put together a modest win streak. In a West division screaming for some stability, the Bulldogs have managed to win of late, including pounding Arkansas. The most surprising key to the spark? Offense. The young wings and shooters have finally started to feel comfortable, and MSU now leads the conference in league scoring.
Up Next: LSU (R, Sat.)
(9) NR, 15-10 (4-7): One is tempted, based on the play of the Arkansas Razorbacks of late, to consider them finished as far as NCAA play goes. The Hogs simply missed too many opportunities. Stan Heath, who entered the season with some buzz despite losing several key players, has done a typically underwhelming job getting his talented team to play top 25 caliber ball consistently. That lack of game-in, game-out performance will be his doom.
Up Next: Ole Miss (H, Sat.)
(10) NR, 14-12 (4-7): Leading the SEC West must seem like some time ago for the Auburn Tigers. An inability to close the deal in a few close games turned into a full-fledged spiral as the Tigers lost three straight. Coach Jeff Lebo has the right attitude, if not the right makeup in his players. Things have to improve, and quickly, if the Tigers want to see postseason basketball.
Up Next: Georgia (R, Sat.)
(11) #NR, 14-11 (3-8): Breaking a six-game winning streak with a win over Arkansas was nice, but just to show you the LSU Tigers are actually as bad as their record suggests, the new Ole Miss Machine put the onetime West favorites back in the L column this week. Even NIT visions are beginning to look doubtful for a team that never replaced the pieces it lost from last year's Final Four team. It's unlikely Glen Davis suits up for a senior year.
Up Next: Mississippi St. (H, Sat.)
(12) NR, 12-12 (2-9): Memories of a brief two-game winning streak are long passed for the South Carolina Gamecocks and their fans. Senior Tre' Kelley's travelling one-man show has run out of steam, understandably. Head coach Dave Odom has got to be hearing the calls for his job, as the best USC fans have is back-to-back NIT titles to show for his tenure. With a slew of D-I transfers coming in, he'll probably get one more year.
Up Next: Tennessee (H, Sat.)