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SEC Football Weekend Preview: Week 10 - Can Alabama vindicate its place in the College Football Playoff rankings?

Alabama and LSU meet as top-10 teams for the seventh time since 2005 - will Alabama vindicate its place in the first College Football Playoff rankings as they make a run to Atlanta?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee (4-4) vs. South Carolina (3-5)

Watch: 4:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Tennessee (-17)

South Carolina suffered several tough losses last season. They've had three opportunities to take revenge on the heartbreak of last year but they have fallen to Kentucky, Missouri and Texas A&M for the second consecutive season. Tennessee is the last 2014 painful defeat the Gamecocks haven an opportunity to avenge. While UT's record is just one game better than USC's mark, the Volunteers have a much better team. Joshua Dobbs was amazing last season against the Gamecocks and paired with Jalen Hurd once again, the Vols should have a field day against the SEC's worst defense. Tennessee might also possess the best return units in the country, they tallied a kick return and a punt return for a touchdown last weekend. South Carolina's offense carries some momentum into Saturday's match-up but if the USC defense can't stop the opposition, it won't matter how encouraging their performance is. Prediction: Tennessee 35, South Carolina 17

No. 10 Florida (7-1) vs. Vanderbilt (3-5)

Watch: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Line: Florida (-21)

Jim McElwain's team is on the verge of quite the accomplishment in his first season. While the SEC East is one of the weakest divisions in college football, it's still impressive to me that McElwain's bunch was able to pull out a division title in his first season at the helm after such a tumultuous year with Will Muschamp last season. A win on Saturday against Vanderbilt (or a win next week at South Carolina), will secure Florida's first SEC East title since Tim Tebow's senior season in 2009. And Saturday's match-up seems to set-up perfectly for the Gators. UF has been led by their defense all season. It's a defense predicated on forcing turnovers and they've succeeded at it as they own the second best turnover margin (+13) in all of college football. Vanderbilt, their quarterbacks in particular, have a horrible turnover problem. Their turnover margin is a dreadful -11 on the season. Quarterbacks Kyle Shurmur and Johnny McCrary combined to go 5-of-20 for 44 yards and three interceptions last weekend against Houston. Prediction: Florida 28, Vanderbilt 10

Georgia (5-3) vs. Kentucky (4-4)

Watch: 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Georgia (-14.5)

Georgia has an opportunity to brush all the rumored turmoil to the back of everyone's minds if they crush Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. Considering UGA's quarterback play, I doubt that will happen but it'll be interesting to see how next week's perception of Richt and the Bulldogs changes if they whip the Wildcats. There will likely be week-to-week analysis on the Georgia program moving forward. Tennessee put up 50+ points for the second consecutive year on Kentucky as the two teams met last weekend. Georgia's offense had a field day last season in Lexington but they're missing multiple weapons on that side of the field as Saturday approaches. Prediction: Georgia 17, Kentucky 14

No. 18 Ole Miss (7-2) vs. Arkansas (4-4)

Watch: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Line: Ole Miss (-10)

Both of these teams are on important two-game winning streaks. After a slow and disappointing start to the season, Arkansas' two-game streak has helped them creep back to a .500 record. Ole Miss suffered a loss to nonconference foe Memphis and it was a loss that could have sent their season into a tailspin. They've handled Texas A&M and escaped Auburn in back-to-back weeks while still controlling their destiny in the SEC West. The Rebels compiled 558 yards of total offense last week as Chad Kelly continues to lead the SEC in passing yards and passing TDs. A concerning trend is growing though - Kelly is now tied for the league lead with 12 INTs, with several coming in the last few weeks. The Razorbacks league-worst pass rush won't bother Kelly but it's something to watch down the road. Prediction: Ole Miss 41, Arkansas 21

No. 19 Texas A&M (6-2) vs. Auburn (4-4)

Watch: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Texas A&M (-7)

Kyler Murray will make his second consecutive and second career start for the Aggies on Saturday night. He lived up to his dynamic reputation against South Carolina last weekend as he accounted for 223 yards through the air and 156 yards on the ground. He led A&M to a season-high 544 yards of total offense in the win, including an outrageous 321 yards on the ground. Now it was against South Carolina, but he did do it all without turning the ball over. Auburn arrives in College Station with a defense that looks improved with the return of Carl Lawson but an offense that is now suffering from injuries. The two most important pieces of the Tiger offense, quarterback Sean White and running back Peyton Barber, will be less than 100 percent on Saturday. The last two meetings have been decided by four points or fewer as the two programs have split them. Prediction: Texas A&M 35, Auburn 21

No. 4 Alabama (7-1) vs. No. 2 LSU (7-0)

Watch: 8:00 p.m. ET, CBS
Line: Alabama (-7)

This has basically become a guaranteed top-10 matchup every season but the latest playoff ranking pushed it a notch above that this year. Despite one-loss, Alabama hopped over unbeaten teams Baylor, TCU and Michigan State to grab the fourth spot in the first 2015 College Football Playoff rankings and make this a battle of top-five programs. This is the seventh time since 2005 that the game has seen both teams ranked in the top-10 and the fourth time since the same year both teams were ranked in the top-five. This season, it features the best run defense in the country vs. the nation's best running back. All rushing attacks have been hounded by the Tide and Leonard Fournette has been the Heisman frontrunner for much of the season. Alabama has won the last four meetings, including last year's 20-13 overtime win in Baton Rouge. Prediction: Alabama 17, LSU 14