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University of Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (7) runs the ball during the University of Georgia vs. University of Massachusetts football game on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The Georgia Bulldogs played the Massachusetts Minutemen for their eleventh game of the season. (Photo/Christina R. Matacotta, crmatacotta@gmail.com)

Each week of the 2018 season, The Red & Black football writers will rank the teams of the Southeastern Conference. This week, The Red & Black surveys the conference after the 12th week of the college football season.

Tier One: Alabama 

In a plot twist worthy of any TV drama, Alabama faced its toughest first half challenge of the season against The Citadel. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs were tied at 10 at halftime, but whatever locker room tirade Nick Saban had inspired his team to an eventual 50-17 win. The Tide now look forward to facing Auburn in Tuscaloosa this Saturday to close out the regular season. After a 26-14 defeat at the hands of the Tigers last year, something tells me Alabama won’t be overlooking this one like it might have done against The Citadel. — Jed May 

Tier Two: Georgia, LSU 

Neither Georgia nor LSU were challenged by their respective opponents, Massachusetts and Rice, and they cruised to easy wins. Both face bowl-eligible teams to close out the season, but Georgia still has a chance to challenge Alabama for the top spot in the SEC and reach the playoff when the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide face off in the SEC title game. — Alex Soderstrom 

Tier Three: Mississippi State, Florida, Kentucky, Auburn

These are four good football teams, but none of them are close to entering the upper echelon of the conference. Mississippi State is positioned for an 8-4 regular season if it can top Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Florida is flawed offensively, but will have a chance to win 10 games this season. Kentucky's year for the ages hit a snag with a loss to Tennessee on Nov. 10, but the Wildcats are still a top-25 caliber team. Auburn will be disappointed with the end result of the season, but can hang with some of the better teams in the SEC. — Collin Huguley 

Tier Four: Texas A&M, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina

Not much changed for much of the SEC this week, as teams like Texas A&M and Chattanooga played so-called "cupcakes" in UAB and Chattanooga and got easy wins. Missouri and Tennessee faced off in Knoxville as two of only four SEC teams to play conference games in week 11. The Tigers dominated the Volunteers, winning 50-17 to move to 7-4 on the season. Tennessee is the only team in this tier that isn't bowl eligible yet, and the Vols will look to get that elusive sixth win against Vanderbilt next week. — Janey Murray 

Tier Five: Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Arkansas

Vanderbilt is the only team in this tier with any glimmer of hope for bowl eligibility, and the Commodores kept that hope alive with a 36-29 win over Ole Miss. They will need a win over Tennessee in the coming week to secure a bowl spot. Ole Miss was already ineligible for a bowl, and with the loss to Vanderbilt, the Rebels will try to finish the season at 6-6. Arkansas is looking to finish the season in one piece at this point after a 52-6 beatdown from Mississippi State. — Kelsey Russo 

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