SEC ratings: September report cards

SEC ratings: September report cards

October 3rd, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - College

In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, LSU coach Les Miles, right, shakes hands with Florida coach Will Muschamp before their NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La. No. 10 Florida has talked for months about its offensive line being the strength of the team. Now the Gators get to prove it in the toughest of matchups, lining up against No. 4 LSU's formidable front.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

All times p.m. and Eastern

Florida -- A-plus

Will Muschamp is the front-runner for SEC coach of the year. And with a fast start fueled by defense and forged by early road wins at Texas A&M and Tennessee, the No. 10-ranked Gators are at least one year ahead of schedule in their return to the national scene.

Saturday: vs. LSU, 3:30 (CBS)

Alabama -- A

Other than injuries -- running backs Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart and starting receiver DeAndrew White are out for the year with knee injuries -- the Tide have been the nation's best team. Considering how well Nick Saban has recruited -- Alabama is more stocked than Wal-Mart -- the Tide are the nation's premier program until further notice.

Saturday: Open

South Carolina -- A

We had A-plus down at first but then remembered South Carolina was a preseason top-10 team, so its excellent start was somewhat expected. That said, how about that Connor Shaw, the Gamecocks quarterback who has completed 35 of 39 passes in his last two games.

Saturday: vs. Georgia, 7 (ESPN)

LSU -- A-minus

Not sure why all the LSU angst considering the Tigers are unbeaten and among the top five teams in the country despite a new quarterback, losing their best player and team leader three weeks before the season and replacing five guys picked in the first four rounds of the NFL draft. They may not have played great, but those folks looking to drop the Tigers in the polls for winning closer-than-expected games best keep their pie holes shut about teams "running up the score."

Saturday: at Florida, 3:30 (CBS)

Georgia -- A-minus

The Bulldogs have impressed, even dazzled, at times, but there is a glass-half-full, glass-half-empty vibe in Athens. Is this the team that made Vandy look like a middle school team or the team that struggled to put away Tennessee and allowed Buffalo and Florida Atlantic each to score more than 20 points? With the bevy of preseason suspensions, this veteran defense is still trying to find its stride.

Saturday: at South Carolina, 7 (ESPN)

Mississippi State -- B

Coach Dan Mullen removed the King King-sized monkey from his back by beating Auburn for his first win over an SEC West school not located in Oxford, Miss. The bulk of the Bulldogs' test still awaits, and there is a season-defining game against Tennessee on Oct. 13. Let's see how MSU does when it doesn't have the opponent's signals. Allegedly.

Saturday: at Kentucky, 12:21 (WDSI)

Texas A&M -- B

The Aggies are building a stout foundation -- redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel is going to be a headache for SEC defensive coordinators for the next few years.

Saturday: at Ole Miss, 7 (ESPNU)

Tennessee -- B-minus

Johnny Vols Fans are antsy -- and understandably so -- but the first month of the season has been above average, right? Tennessee is 1-2 in games that before the season could be viewed as toss-ups. Sure, the second-half struggles against Florida and late at Georgia are painful, but the positives outweigh the negatives right now, especially considering the best player in Knoxville as of Aug. 2 is now the best player ever in Cookeville.

Saturday: Open

Missouri -- B-minus

Even with controversy at quarterback -- James Franklin has been injured and struggled at times -- the Tigers are 3-2 despite being outscored 33 points in their four FBS games. There is room for improvement ahead since the Tigers do not play a road game in October.

Saturday: vs. Vandy, 7 (FSS)

Ole Miss -- B-minus

The Rebels were a dumpster fire in the final 20 games of Houston Nutt's tenure. First-year coach Hugh Freeze has jumpstarted the offense as the Rebels have scored at least 28 points against every foe not named Alabama. Ole Miss has three wins -- and the teeth of its schedule ahead -- but if Freeze can get this bunch to a bowl game, he deserves coach of the year consideration.

Saturday: vs. Texas A&M, 7 (ESPNU)

Auburn -- D

Auburn is last in the SEC in scoring (17.5 points per game) and sophomore Kiehl Frazier is ranked outside of the top 15 passers in the SEC, meaning that at least two teams have two quarterbacks who are more efficient. Granted, the 1-3 Tigers have faced a difficult early schedule -- all three losses are to ranked teams -- but a season of promise has been left with flickering bowl hopes.

Saturday: vs. Arkansas, noon (ESPN2)

Vanderbilt -- D-minus

This was poised to be a big year for the Commodores. Now, at 1-3 they stare at a schedule filled with games they have to have to reach the postseason. It's doable, of course, considering that Vandy has only one ranked team (Florida, which visits Nashville on Oct. 13) left on the schedule.

Saturday: at Missouri, 7 (FSS)

Kentucky -- F

Last week's season-ending injury to quarterback Max Smith hurt but not as badly as the overtime loss to Western Kentucky.

Saturday: vs. Mississippi State, 12:21 (WDSI)

Arkansas -- F-minus

What's lower than F? These Razorbacks deserve an H or even a K. Preseason top-10 with a Heisman candidate at quarterback, the departure of world-class scum bucket Bobby Petrino tumbled Arkansas' house of offensive cards to the point that interim coach John L. Smith is the league's biggest cartoon character, senior quarterback Tyler Wilson called his teammates quitters and the fan base seriously wants Petrino back, morality, ethics and plain-old decency be danged.

Saturday: at Auburn, noon (ESPN2)