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SEC Football Schedule, Week 9: If You're Not Alabama Or LSU, Welcome To Desperation Weekend

While Georgia and Florida take the 3:30pm ET CBS center stage on a SEC weekend almost entirely overshadowed by a game that's not even being played for another 10 days, desperation is setting in across the conference for everyone not named Alabama or LSU. Auburn and South Carolina started strong but have major concerns, while teams like Mississippi State and Tennessee are just trying to stop the bleeding long enough to become bowl eligible.

Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas (12:15pm ET, SEC Network) James Franklin is refusing to talk about the Commodores bowl chances, but for only the second time in football's modern era, Vandy could be playing in a bowl. Upsetting the Razorbacks would the program's biggest win in decades, but chances are Bobby Petrino's team got the scare out of the system down 17-0 in Oxford a week ago. 

Auburn vs. Ole Miss (7pm ET, ESPNU) Gene Chizik says Ole Miss is the best 2-5 team in college football, and Gene Chizik knows mediocrity when he sees it. The Rebels haven't won a SEC game in 13 months, while the Tigers have finally reverted to their predicted 2011 form after an early season surge. A loss for Ole Miss would snuff out what tiny bowl hopes they might still dream of. A loss for the Tigers would gear up the rational, sensible fans of that state to its steady "fire everybody!" hum.

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State (7pm ET, FSN) Kentucky staved off the absolute embarrassment of a potential FCS upset by thumping Jacksonville State in front of a "sparse" home crowd. Now they'll host a Mississippi State team looking for its first SEC win. The Bulldogs entered the season as a dark (dark-dark) horse candidate to win the SEC West and repeat their nine-win 2010 campaign. Now they're desperate to stay bowl eligible in Dan Mullen's third season.

Tennessee vs. South Carolina (7:15pm ET, ESPN2) The Gamecocks still control their destiny to Atlanta, but without starting quarterback Stephen Garcia (dismissed) and running back Marcus Lattimore (knee) for the rest of the year, even a single loss could keep South Carolina from holding off rejuvenated Georgia or even Florida. 6-1 USC still has the Gators, Arkansas and undefeated Clemson after this weekend's game against the Vols, who are desperate to end a three-game losing skid.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.