Webb: Missouri needs to move on from good guy/bad hire

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Missouri’s loss to Eastern Illinois was the latest in a string of embarrassing losses under third-year coach Kim Anderson, who has lost 49 games in two-and-a-half seasons.

“I feel bad for Kim Anderson. I really want this to work for him. I want him to win big at Missouri.”

That or some variation of if has been posted on Twitter, Facebook and message boards across the Internet. If you’re a Missouri fan, you want Anderson succeed.

It’s not happening.

If back-to-back 20-loss seasons weren’t enough to prove that, Saturday’s embarrassing home loss to another directional school, Eastern Illinois, should be plenty of evidence.

Two-and-a-half years into his tenure, Anderson is 24-49. Twenty-four and forty-nine. He’s winning less than one-third of his games, and he’s doing it in front of some of the smallest crowds in school history.

Anderson inherited a mess. Former director Mike Alden lit the atomic bomb by meddling with a successful coach (Mike Anderson) and hiring a career con man (Frank Haith). The latter nuked the program in just three years, leaving behind a slew of NCAA infractions and a depleted roster.

Alden ended up settling for Anderson, a True Son, national champion at the University of Central Missouri and a great man. Unfortunately, despite those enviable qualities, it was the worst hire Alden could have made.

It was obvious early on that Anderson was in over his head. In his first game, he lost to UMKC 69-61 at home. In less than three years, Anderson has lost to several mid-majors, including two this season in North Carolina Central and Eastern Illinois. Against power conference opponents, he is 6-44. Six and forty-four.

After two miserable seasons in which he went a combined 19-44, Anderson finally did what he should have in his first season with a complete overhaul, resulting in a roster that consists of 11 freshmen and sophomores.

With one of the youngest teams in the country, growing pains were and are expected. But Missouri should not lose to MEAC and Ohio Valley Conference teams at home. That points to a lack of talent and a lack of coaching said talent.

Anderson can no longer say he isn’t coaching his players. This roster is his. It’s also one of the reasons he needs to be replaced. If he can’t recruit high-major talent, he shouldn’t be coaching in a major conference.

At the very least, after two years, the program should show signs of progress. The most depressing thing about Missouri basketball is that the players are regressing. Whatever confidence they had after pushing national power Xavier a month ago is long gone.

Anderson came to Missouri needing a backhoe to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, he brought a spoon.

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Webb: Mrs. Webb on Mr. Webb, Part I

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If you didn’t know me before, you will now, as my wife talks about life with yours truly.

Shana and I have been married for three years now and a couple for going on six years. Who knows me better than her? Enjoy her insights on the “budding” author and life in general:

Ernie: I didn’t bring my phone out here. How do you feel about that?

Shana: Is this a serious question?

Ernie: There’s a Royals game going on, and I didn’t bring it.

Shana: I’m happy about the sentiment. You’re asking me questions about your blog, so of course you’re going to be involved. I mean, that’s the reality of it. Plus, you just had a soccer game on in there. The Royals game doesn’t seem to be that big a thing to you tonight.

[Hey, the United States national team was in the semifinals against the best team in the world (Argentina)]

Ernie: What was the first thing you noticed about me before we started dating?

Shana: Your intelligence, as shown through your posts on Facebook before we started dating.

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So it wasn’t my looks.

Ernie: So it wasn’t my looks?

Shana: No, but we’ve talked about that before. It’s never about looks. Well, I should never say never. Some people might be very attractive or odd-looking, but typically it’s not … it doesn’t mean anything.

Ernie: What did you think when you saw me for the first time on our first date?

Shana: You’re asking a lot of memory questions. That’s not my forte. I remember thinking that I was happy you were there and we were making this happen. I was nervous and excited.

Ernie: What do you remember about our first date?

Shana: We watched basketball. We ate soup from whole foods, I think. I don’t remember what kind, but I bet you do. [I had tomato, she had chicken tortilla] We played Battleship.

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Another round of Mario Golf, another win for Mr. Webb.

Ernie: How many of the games did you win that night?

Shana: Probably none, which was only because you like to cheat.

[I do, but this was just an ass-kicking]

Ernie: What do I do that annoys you?

Shana: Two major things. One, which obviously you’re learning a lesson in, is pushing yourself too far. It affects you negatively and affects the rest of us. Two, sometimes you’re not in the moment, in your phone, not attached to the moment. Usually, it’s some Internet-based thing.

Ernie: Sorry, I’m on Twitter, what did you say?

Shana: Very funny.

Ernie: What about me do you adore?

Shana: I adore the way that you do little things to make me feel special, and I adore that doing that is really important to you. I adore the way that you love the children. You’re intelligent. It’s sexy to be intelligent. It’s sexy to have your shit together. It’s sexy to make financial goals and figure out ways to make it happen. Those things are important to me.

Ernie: What are some of those little things?

Shana: The way you make my coffee every morning, telling me we’ve been together 1,991 days before we go to sleep. The way you sometimes you look at me and tell me I look beautiful. I’m sure there are 1,000 other things.

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Fast and furious?

Ernie: What’s it like to be with me when I’m driving?

Shana: At least you’re not texting anymore; that’s a good thing. It’s not that you drive too fast for the speed limit, which you do. It’s that you drive too fast for the circumstances. You get very pissed off with people, but I do, too.

Ernie: How do you account for the fact that you’ve been in several wrecks and I have not been in any since we started dating?

Shana: Actually, every single accident has been due to someone else. But, that is ironic.

Ernie: Do you remember the moment when you realized you loved me?

Shana: No. What I do remember the battle going on in my mind on whether me getting involved in another committed relationship like that was a good idea.

Ernie: How did you get over that?

Shana: It was you. You just kind of kept showing up … I mean that in a good way. I mean physically in front of me, with your attention, your honesty, love for me, you kept being you, and after a while I thought “Well, why shouldn’t it be OK?”

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I’ve lost 60 pounds since we began dating, which is not a coincidence, and more than 120 overall.

Ernie: You’re very healthy, and I really was not when we started dating. Why did you ask me out anyway?

Shana: I don’t consider myself that healthy. I consider myself work in progress. You were making very determined steps to better yourself in a lot of different ways. That’s all I needed, was your sign of commitment. I knew everything else would fall in place.

Ernie: How did your mom (my mentor) and sister (a good friend) react when you told them we were dating?

Shana: They kind of both said something to the effect of “Ernie? Like Ernie Webb?” Like they were shocked. It wasn’t on anybody’s radar. I think they were shocked because they didn’t know how we became friends. I think my mom, of course, knew you best. One of the first things she said was “He’s a Republican, you know.” But you didn’t act like a Republican.

Ernie: What does a Republican act like?

Shana: I am quite liberal. My beliefs do not lie in politics; they lie in the believe that freedom is freedom for everyone. We all should have certain rights. People aren’t left out because of race, sexual preference, because they weren’t born in the United States. To answer your question, most Republicans are quite conservative. You didn’t strike me as that conservative.

Ernie: You know I’m moderate and conservative in some ways, though.

Shana: It’s clear to me we don’t see eye-to-eye on many things.

Ernie: You must really like that coffee I make every morning.

Shana: You have a loving heart, and that makes a difference. I can’t make you recycle, or make you want to take in teenagers who have been thrown out of house by parents. I can’t make you give your money or time to people who are down on their luck, but you do. You can call yourself moderate, but we hit a balance that works well. … I did not protest Pat Robertson like I said was going to when you worked at Washburn and he was there.

[We would have been living in a van down by the river if she had.]

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Missouri games aren’t always enjoyable for Mrs. Curtis Webb.

Ernie: What did you think the first time you watched a Missouri-Kansas basketball game with me?

Shana: That’s really specific. You’d warned me, so I was expecting it. They are cocky, so I halfway can’t blame you. I can’t say whether it was Kansas game or not, but letting a silly game ruin your whole day seems like a waste to me.

Ernie: Do I get more angry during Missouri games or Royals games?

Shana: It depends. If you have hopes and dreams set on a team, that’s one you get more aggravated about. Last year, you’d given up on Missouri, so you were chill. That was nice. This year, you got really pissed with the Royals. You’ve been a little bit better at just letting it ride, though. The worst I’ve ever seen you act was after Missouri games.

Ernie: What do you mean?

Shana: Remember that one time they lost and you were so mad you left the house and drove around for a while?

Ernie: That was the last Missouri-Kansas game when they got screwed.

Shana: I don’t remember details like you do, but I do remember you were absolutely furious.

Ernie: What’s the most angry you’ve ever been at me?

Shana: The angriest I’ve been with you was one of our first decent-sized fights. It was the one where I finally went over to you and said “This is bullshit.” I was really pissed at you. You wouldn’t talk it out, and I was really angry.

Ernie: That was our first fight.

Shana: I felt like you weren’t listening.

Ernie: What? 

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Cookie, world. World, Cookie.

Ernie: How would describe my relationship with the cats (We have two, Cookie and Sunday)?

Shana: You’re kind of like a cat with them. You’re as moody as they are with them. You love them one minute, you want nothing to do with them another minute, sometimes you just give them shit for no reason. That’s basically how they act. But I know you’d miss them if they were gone.

[ It’s true, I would]

Ernie: How would you describe my relationship with the kids?

Shana: Good, but challenged. Both of us are in that spot. I think you do your best and I think you do a good job.

Ernie: How did your mom react when you told her I was moving in?

Shana: Her first reaction was concern for kids because she’s a little more traditional.

Ernie: That’s very Republican of her.

Shana: It kind of is. She relaxed when I reminded here that this was the way it was going to be. I didn’t think marriage was going to happen, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be in a relationship. I wasn’t going to let anything hurt the kids in any way. I certainly wasn’t going to take somebody moving in lightly. After she realized that, she was kind of happy I wasn’t going to get married again.

Ernie: She was pretty pissed when I asked her and your father if I could ask you to marry me.

Shana: We’d been through a lot getting that divorce. It was really, really hard. It was definitely just as hard on her as it was on me. She took it all very personally.

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“If I can change, and you can change.”

Ernie: What are some of my favorite movies?

Shana: Any of the “Rocky” movies, except for one of them [“Rocky V” is a disaster], “Karate Kid” …

Ernie: It’s a classic.

Shana: It’s not a classic. “Predator.” I’m pretty sure we’ve seen “Rambo” several times. I think you have other dramas, but they don’t show up on TV as often.

Ernie: You’re missing a big one.

Shana: “Rocky,” “Karate Kid.” You don’t consider “Rocky” a drama, do you? [No]. You’re going to tell me and I’m going to be like “Ah man.” My brain doesn’t work like yours.

Ernie: “Shawshank Redemption.”

Shana: Oh, well, yeah.

Ernie: What’s your reaction when I’m flipping through channels and “Karate Kid” or “Rocky” is on the guide?

[Audible sigh. Hilariously, “Karate Kid” and “Predator” were on at the same time the next night]

Shana: I know my chances of watching something decent are gone.

Ernie: Why do you hate those movies so much?

Shana: Because the plots are so stupid.

Ernie: Are you trying to say Rocky didn’t end the Cold War?

Shana: Yeah, pretty much.

The Springfield Three, Part II: Things like this do happen here

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“Things like that just don’t happen here.” That sentence is the definition of innocence. It’s been a mantra in small towns and communities in the Heartland for decades. It’s also extremely naïve.

Capote_cold_bloodOur fascination with true crime began to grow after a gruesome crime in the last place and during an era you’d least expect it. In 1959, four members of the Clutter family – father Herbert, mother Bonnie, son Kenyon and daughter Nancy – were murdered in the rural western Kansas town of Holcomb.

Truman Capote chronicled that murder, by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, in “In Cold Blood,” a novel that launched the true crime genre.

Though thousands of similar murders have occurred in the years since, that naivety still exists. Shocking murders are common, including in communities where “things like this just don’t happen.”

As I wrote in my first blog about The Springfield Three, the disappearance of three women shook Springfield, Missouri, a city in southwest Missouri not far from the Bible Belt. Many of the people interviewed about this crime were surprised because they believed this rarely happens in such communities.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in this region of Missouri from the mid-1980s to early-1990s. The Springfield Three is one of several bizarre and troubling cases in west central and southwest Missouri.

jackiejohnsJackie Johns, 1985: A former beauty queen, Johns was murdered in June 1985. Law enforcement officials found her car abandoned on a highway on June 18, 1985. Police officers discovered that the backseat was covered in blood, along with Johns’ clothing. Officers pulled her remains from Lake Springfield on June 22, 1985.

For more than 20 years, businessman Gerald Carnahan, who has extensive ties to Springfield, was the prime suspect in Johns’ rape and murder. A DNA test in 2007 tied him to the murder, and he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in 2010.

Carnahan is considered a suspect in several missing person cases in Missouri, including The Springfield Three.

Trudy Darby, 1991: Darby was abducted from the convenience store where she worked in Macks Creek, Missouri, on Jan. 19, 1991, and discovered dead two days later. She was robbed, raped and shot twice in the head.

This case, covered on “Unsolved Mysteries” in 1992, was solved years later when half-brothers Jessie Rush and Marvin Chaney were convicted and sentenced to prison terms. The brothers are suspects in two other cases in the area during the same time period: the disappearance of Angela Hammond and Cheryl Kenney in 1991.

Cheryl Kenney, 1991: Like Darby, Kenney was last seen while working at a convenience store. She disappeared from Nevada, Missouri, on February 27, 1991, and remains missing.

Angela Hammond, 1991: Hammond was abducted while speaking on a payphone at 11:45 p.m. April 4, 1991, in Clinton, Missouri. She was speaking to her boyfriend on the phone when a suspicious man driving a pickup parked next to her, then kidnapped her before he fled Clinton.

Hammond’s boyfriend chased Hammond and her abductor before his car broke down. Hammond has not been seen since.

It’s possible that none of these cases are connected, but I would be surprised if at least three – Darby, Kenney and Hammond – were not. It’s also possible that somebody like Carnahan, Rush, Chaney or the individual(s) responsible for The Springfield Three are involved.

Unfortunately, things like this do happen in small towns. Far too often.

 

 

Webb: The good and bad of Pinkel’s tenure

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Gary Pinkel retires from Missouri with five division titles and 10 appearances in bowl games, including two Cotton Bowls.

A few minutes into the second half, I did something I almost never do during Missouri games: I turned off the radio and TV and stopped paying attention. All I could think was “Gary Pinkel deserves better than this.”

It was far from a glorious home finale for a man who resurrected a football program that resembled a Football Championship Subdivision team just 15 years ago. Just two years removed from contending for a national title, Pinkel likely won’t even be coaching in a bowl game during his final season before retirement.

There have ups and downs – more of the former – during his tenure in Columbia. Here’s a look at the biggest wins and worst losses:

BIGGEST WINS

daniel1. Missouri 36, Kansas 28 (Nov. 25, 2007): A dream season for both programs culminated in a showdown at Arrowhead Stadium with the No. 1 ranking on the line. This remains the most electric sporting event I’ve attended.

On a frigid night, Chase Daniel shredded the Jayhawks for 361 yards and the Tigers built a 21-point lead before hanging on to clinch a spot in the Big 12 championship game. The image of Todd Reesing walking off the field with grass and sod wedged in his helmet will always be a favorite for Tigers fans.

2. Missouri 28, Texas A&M 21 (Nov. 30, 2013): Some will argue the Georgia win that season was bigger, but the Tigers secured a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game with a victory over Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

The go-ahead touchdown run by Henry Josey, two years removed from a horrific knee injury, was the icing on the cake.

3. Missouri 41, Nebraska 24 (Oct. 11, 2003): Twenty-five years. That’s how long it’d been since Missouri beat Nebraska. During that span, the Huskers annually humiliated the Tigers. Nebraska also owned arguably the most devastating loss at Mizzou for decades in the infamous flea-kicker game in 1997.

This game ended years of frustration and catapulted the Tigers to their first bowl bid since 1999. It is one of the games that served as the foundation for Pinkel’s program and snapped Missouri’s 45-game losing streak against top-10 teams.

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4. Missouri 36, Oklahoma 27 (Oct. 23, 2010): Another electric night at Faurot Field, as the Tigers knocked off the top-ranked Sooners for the first time since 1998 behind Blaine Gabbert, Jerrell Jackson, Aldon Smith and Gahn McGaffie.

McGaffie’s return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff is the loudest I’ve heard Memorial Stadium. Storming the field with my 65-year-old father will always be one of my fondest memories.

5. Missouri 41, Georgia 26 (Oct. 11, 2013): This game announced the Tigers’ arrival in the SEC. One season after an awful debut in its new conference, Mizzou rolled into Athens and floored the seventh-ranked Bulldogs.

The victory was one of several memorable wins in a 12-2 season that include an SEC East title and Cotton Bowl win.

WORST LOSSES

1. Troy 24, Missouri 14 (Sept. 9, 2004): Coming off a bowl season and anchored by star quarterback Brad Smith, it looked like the Tigers had arrived. They led this game 14-0 and appeared to be on cruise control when the Trojans, led by future Pro-Bowler DeMarcus Ware, took over and rolled to a 24-14 win.

Missouri never recovered, blowing big leads against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, coughing up a lead at Texas and wilting against arch-rival Kansas at home. The Tigers lost five straight games and finished 5-6, putting Pinkel on the hot seat.

alg-oklahoma-wins-jpg2. Oklahoma State 28, Missouri 23 (Oct. 11, 2008): A year after contending for a national title, the Tigers hosted Dez Bryant and the Cowboys at Faurot Field. The Tigers marched down the field on the opening possession but failed to score a touchdown despite having a first-and-goal at the 1.

Rather than go for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal inside the one, Pinkel elected to kick a field goal. It zapped the crowd of its energy and the offense of its confidence. The Tigers never recover, enduring a beating at Texas the next week and choking late against Kansas before being routed in the Big 12 championship game by Oklahoma.

3. Navy 35, Missouri 13 (Dec. 31, 2009): One of the most embarrassing losses during Pinkel’s tenure, as the Midshipmen dominated a Missouri team that appeared to have no interest in playing in the Texas Bowl.

The coaching staff’s refusal to adjust to a Navy defense that dared the offense to run was maddening to watch. The Tigers felt snubbed to be playing in the Big 12’s lowest-tier bowl, but did nothing to back it up.

baggett4. South Carolina 27, Missouri 24 (Oct. 25, 2013): The only blemish on an amazing regular season in 2013, as the Tigers coughed up a 17-0 lead in the fourth quarter, allowed a game-tying touchdown on fourth-and-long in overtime and missed a chip-shot field goal for the tie in the second overtime.

To its credit, Missouri rebounded to win four straight games and reach the SEC championship game.

5. Texas Tech 24, Missouri 17 (Nov. 6, 2010): A classic case of letting one loss become two. One week after Nebraska ended their undefeated, the Tigers blew a 17-3 lead in Lubbock in a loss that ultimately cost them a spot in the Big 12 championship game.

Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy barely touched the ball after combining for 170 yards and two long touchdowns runs on nine carries in the first quarter, even though Gabbert was 12 of 30 for 95 yards.

 

SEC rankings, Week 7: A muddled mess after Florida

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Is this Frank Haith imploring Missouri to play defense for a change?

Is this Frank Haith imploring Missouri to play defense for a change?

Florida has stumbled on the road but should wrap up a league title this week. Meanwhile, five teams continue to battle for two or three NCAA tournament bids:

1. FLORIDA (22-5, 12-3): Gators are flawed on the road, but let’s see what they do when they’re completely healthy.

2. TENNESSEE (17-10, 9-6): Volunteers the hottest team in the league and have a favorable schedule coming up.

3. KENTUCKY (19-8, 10-4): Overtime win against Missouri might get the Wildcats into the NCAA tournament.

4. MISSOURI (19-8, 8-6): Tigers must own stock in road collapses. Another one Thursday at South Carolina puts Mizzou on the NCAA bubble.

5. ALABAMA (19-9, 11-4): Pitiful SEC schedule hurting Tide’s NCAA resume.

6. OLE MISS (20-7, 9-5): Favorable schedule might be enough to push Rebels into Big Dance.

7. ARKANSAS (17-10, 8-6): Forget about close road losses, the Razorbacks prefer to lose big away from home.

8. GEORGIA (13-14, 7-7): Bulldogs are three close losses from contending for a bye in the SEC tourney.

9. LSU (16-9, 7-7): Tigers have won seven of 10 to reach .500 in league play.

10. TEXAS A&M (16-11, 6-8): Aggies have lost three games by four or fewer points, in addition to an overtime loss to Tennessee.

11. VANDERBILT (11-15, 5-9): Commodores have reached 70 points in each of their last two games (compared to once in their previous nine).

12. AUBURN (9-19 3-12): Tigers have lost six straight and 12 of last 13 after 2-0 start in SEC.

13. SOUTH CAROLINA (13-14, 3-12): Gamecocks have nothing to play for, but will give Missouri fits Thursday.

14. MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-19, 2-12): Any possibility of an MSU-TCU matchup?

Read my Week 6 rankings

Read my Week 5 rankings

Read my Week 4 rankings

Read my Week 3 rankings

Read my Week 2 rankings

Read my Week 1 rankings

Read by SEC preseason predictions

SEC rankings, Week 5: Wildcats gaining on Gators

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Despite a slow start, Kentucky is right back in the SEC race.

Despite a slow start, Kentucky is right back in the SEC race.

The rest of the SEC can thank Arkansas for bringing Florida back to the pack, but the Gators are still in the driver’s seat going into a showdown against surging Kentucky.

1. FLORIDA (19-3, 9-1. Last week: Lost to Arkansas, defeated Mississippi State. This week: Tuesday vs. Kentucky, Saturday at Auburn): Gators finally look human in beatdown at Arkansas.

2. KENTUCKY (17-6, 8-2. Last week: Defeated South Carolina, Auburn. This week: Tuesday at Florida, Saturday at Tennessee): Red-hot Wildcats have won five consecutive games.

3. MISSISSIPPI (18-5, 7-3. Last week: Defeated Mississippi State, lost to Missouri. This week: Wednesday at Texas A&M, Saturday vs. Georgia): Rebels get nod over Missouri because they’ve won road games.

4. MISSOURI (17-6, 6-4. Last week: Lost to Texas A&M, defeated Mississippi. This week: Wednesday at Mississippi State, Saturday at Arkansas): After crushing loss in College Station, road win this week a must for Tigers.

5. ALABAMA (15-8, 7-3. Last week: Lost to Auburn, defeated LSU. This week: Tuesday at Georgia, Saturday vs. South Carolina): Tide scored 37 points in loss at Auburn.

6. GEORGIA (12-11, 6-4. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, Texas A&M. This week: Tuesday vs. Alabama, Saturday at Mississippi): Bulldogs have won five straight, including three road games).

7. ARKANSAS (14-9, 5-5. Last week: Defeated Florida, lost to Vanderbilt. This week: Wednesday at Auburn, Saturday vs. Missouri): Razorbacks rip Gators, then suffer beating at Vandy. Sounds about right.

8. LSU (13-8, 4-6. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, lost to Alabama. This week: Thursday at South Carolina, Saturday vs. Mississippi State): Tigers’ three-game winning streak snapped in tough loss to Tide.

9. TEXAS A&M (14-9, 4-6. Last week: Defeated Missouri, lost to Georgia. This week: Wednesday vs. Mississippi, Saturday at Vanderbilt): Aggies follow nice win against Mizzou with a dud against Georgia.

10. TENNESSEE (11-10, 3-6. Last week: Lost to Georgia. This week: Today at South Carolina, Wednesday at Vanderbilt, Saturday vs. Kentucky): Bad home loss against Georgia.

11. VANDERBILT (9-13, 3-7. Last week: Lost to LSU, defeated Arkansas. This week: Wednesday vs. Tennessee, Saturday vs. Texas A&M): Commodores snapped four-game skid by routing Razorbacks.

12. AUBURN (9-14, 3-7. Last week: Defeated Alabama, lost to Kentucky. This week: Wednesday vs. Arkansas, Saturday vs. Florida): Tigers’ win against Tide might end up costing rival NCAA bid.

13. SOUTH CAROLINA (12-10, 2-7. Last week: Lost to Kentucky. This week: Sunday vs. Tennessee, Thursday vs. LSU, Saturday at Alabama): Gamecocks have lost five of six.

14. MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-15, 2-8. Last week: Lost to Mississippi, Florida. This week: Wednesday vs. Missouri, Saturday at LSU): Bulldogs are in free-fall mode (eight straight losses).

Read my Week 4 rankings

Read my Week 3 rankings

Read my Week 2 rankings

Read my Week 1 rankings

Read by SEC preseason predictions

SEC rankings, Week 2: Florida pulling away

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Billy Donovan and the red-hot Gators won a laugher against Missouri.

Billy Donovan and the red-hot Gators won a laugher against Missouri.

I’ll be stunned if anybody other Florida wins the SEC this year. The Gators have simply dominated conferences foes thus far.

FLORIDA (14-2, 4-0. Last week: Defeated Texas A&M, Missouri. This week: Wednesday at Georgia, Saturday at Mississippi State): Gators completely humiliated Missouri, clicking on all cylinders.

MISSISSIPPI (15-2, 4-0. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, Arkansas. This week: Thursday vs. Tennessee, Saturday at Auburn): Rebels should be 6-0 going into next week, which includes games against Kentucky and Florida.

KENTUCKY (12-5, 3-1. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, Auburn. This week: Tuesday at Alabama, Saturday vs. LSU): Wildcats steadily improving, face tough challenge against Crimson Tide.

MISSOURI (13-4, 2-2. Last week: Defeated Georgia, lost to Florida. This week: Tuesday vs. South Carolina, Saturday vs. Vanderbilt): Tigers have been soft and are now riddled with injuries, a dangerous combination.

ALABAMA (11-6, 3-1. Last week: Defeated Mississippi State, Texas A&M. This week: Tuesday vs. Kentucky, Saturday at Tennessee): Win Tuesday could go a long way toward NCAA bid.

TEXAS A&M (12-5, 2-2. Last week: Lost to Florida, Alabama. This week: Wednesday at LSU, Saturday vs. Georgia): Aggies let one slip away against Alabama.

ARKANSAS (11-6, 2-2. Last week: Defeated Auburn, lost to Mississippi. This week: Wednesday vs. Mississippi, Saturday at South Carolina): Razorbacks still can’t buy a road win.

AUBURN (8-9, 2-2. Last week: Lost to Arkansas, Kentucky. This week: Wednesday at Vanderbilt, Saturday vs. Mississippi): Tigers crashed back to Earth last week.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-9, 2-2. Last week: Lost to Alabama, Tennessee. This week: Wednesday at Arkansas, Saturday vs. Florida): Crimson Tide humbled Bulldogs at home.

VANDERBILT (7-9, 1-3. Last week: Lost to Mississippi, defeated South Carolina. This week: Wednesday vs. Auburn, Saturday at Missouri): Inexperienced Commodores getting better.

TENNESSEE (9-7, 1-3. Last week: Lost to Kentucky, defeated Mississippi State. This week: Thursday at Mississippi, Saturday vs. Alabama): Volunteers appear to be in for long conference season.

SOUTH CAROLINA (11-6, 1-3. Last week: Defeated LSU, lost to Vanderbilt. This week: Tuesday at Missouri, Saturday vs. Arkansas): Frank Martin has had plenty of success against Mizzou.

GEORGIA (7-10, 1-3. Last week: Lost to Missouri, defeated LSU. This week: Wednesday vs. Florida, Saturday at Texas A&M): Bulldogs likely to be throttled twice this week.

LSU (9-6, 0-4. Last week: Lost to South Carolina, Georgia. This week: Wednesday vs. Texas A&M, Saturday at Kentucky): Losing at home to South Carolina … yikes.

My Week 1 rankings

My SEC predictions