Arkansas remains the top TAMs team for the sixth consecutive week

Our TAM teams had yet another thrilling weekend full of big wins, narrow losses, and a coaching change we all saw coming.  Arkansas kept their BCS bowl hopes alive with a big win in the de facto SEC bronze medal game against South Carolina.  Southern Miss is on a collision course with a Houston team that is vying for a chance to crash the BCS party.  Arkansas State has its first seven win season since joining the FBS and is still atop the Sun Belt. While Ole Miss and Tennessee remain the only two teams in the TAM rankings who are still searching for conference wins.  Tennessee did beat up on fellow TAM team MTSU 24-0, but the Rebel’s loss to lowly Kentucky was the straw that broke the camel’s back in Oxford as Houston Nutt will not be returning as head coach of Ole Miss next season.  Vanderbilt gave another SEC foe all they could handle before falling short.  Mississippi State is riding a two game winning streak into this week’s contest against an Alabama team that is sure to be motivated coming off of their first loss of the season.  Thankfully for Tiger fans Memphis was on a bye week and they get UAB this week in what will be a game to determine who the worst team in C-USA is.  Without further ado, the TAMs Rankings for the week of November 9, 2011…
Rankings compiled by MemphiSport. Updated every Wednesday.

1.  Arkansas (8-1): Last week No. 1
Tyler Wilson threw his first interception in four games this Saturday, but the Razorback’s still found a way to win against a very talented South Carolina group.  Jarius Wright leads the SEC in both receptions and receiving yards, and he is beginning to establish himself as one of the premier receivers in the nation.  Arkansas still has a chance to be the SEC West champion and play in the SEC championship, but they will have to beat LSU to force a three way tie at the top of the division.  The Razorbacks are going for their sixth straight win this Saturday against fellow TAM team Tennessee.
Last Game: W 44-28 vs. South Carolina @ Razorback Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Tennessee @ Razorback Stadium
Best Win:  42-38 vs. Texas A&M @ Cowboy Stadium
Worst Loss:  38-14 vs. Alabama @ Bryant-Denny Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 2 (Ole Miss and Vanderbilt)
Losses Against TAMs Teams:0

2.  Southern Mississippi (8-1):  Last week No. 2
Southern Miss keeps on rolling through C-USA play this time by beating East Carolina 48-28.  This is the first time all season that the Golden Eagles defense has given up more than 24 points to a conference opponent, and they remain one of the stingiest defenses in the nation, only allowing 19.6 points per game.  They play Central Florida next and then they get the two worst teams in the conference (Memphis and UAB) to close out their season.
Last Game:  W 48-28 vs. East Carolina @ Dowdy Ficklen Stadium
Next Game: vs.  UCF @ M.M. Roberts Stadium
Best Win:  30-24 vs. Virginia @ Scott Stadium
Worst Loss:  26-20 vs. Marshall @ Joan C. Edwards Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 0

3.  Arkansas State (7-2): Last week No. 5
Arkansas State continues to cruise through conference play this season, this time they handle a winless Florida Atlantic team to set up a match up against Louisiana-Lafayette with huge Sun Belt Championship implications.  Coach Freeze has done a great job with this year’s team, but the Red Wolves have one more hurdle to jump on Saturday before they can be crowned Sun Belt champions.   The Red Wolves will try to remain perfect in TAM ranking play when they take on MTSU in two weeks.
Last Game:  W 38-21 vs. Florida Atlantic @ FAU Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Best Win:  47-3 vs.Memphis @ ASU Stadium
Worst Loss:  26-7 vs. Virginia Tech @ Lane Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 1 (Memphis)
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 0

4.  Mississippi State (5-4):  Last week No. 3
Mississippi State has its first two game winning streak of the season after a blow out victory over FCS foe UT-Martin.  The Bulldogs have won three of their last four against subpar competition,  and they get an angry Alabama team that is coming off of their first loss of the season.  Coach Dan Mullin is looking for his first win against an SEC West foe not named Ole Miss this weekend, but Alabama is not going to make it easy for him to do so.  In order for the Bulldogs to pull off the upset they need a huge game from their due it all back Vick Ballard.
Last Game: W 55-17 vs. UT-Martin @ Davis Wade Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Alabama @ Davis Wade Stadium
Best Win: 59-14 vs. Memphis @ Liberty Bowl
Worst Loss:  24-10 vs. Georgia @ Sanford Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 1 (Memphis)
Losses Against TAMs Teams:0

5.  Tennessee (4-5): Last week No. 6
Tennessee snapped their 4 game losing streak on Saturday against MTSU by shutting out the Blue Raiders in Rote to a 24-0 victory.  The Vols have now only lost 12 regular season games in the months of November and December dating back to 1990.  They will need all of that November magic this week when they take on the top TAM team Arkansas.  In their five SEC games this year the Vols are only averaging 10.2 points per game.  If they stand a chance in Arkansas this week they will need to find a way to get more production out of Taureen Poole and the running game so that they can keep Tyler Wilson off of the field.
Last Game:  W 24-0 vs. MTSU @ Neyland Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Arkansas @ Razorback Stadium
Best Win: 45-23 vs. Cincinnati @ Neyland Stadium
Worst Loss:  37-6 vs. Alabama @ Bryant-Denny Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 1 (MTSU)
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 0

6.  Vanderbilt (4-5):  Last week No. 4
Vanderbilt lost another close game to an SEC opponent on Saturday, this time it was in the “Swamp” against Florida.  In fact, if you take out the 34 point beat down the Commodores suffered at the hands of Alabama their average margin of defeat in conference is only 8 points. While Coach Franklin has Vandy headed in the right direction, the Commodores must find a way to win close games if they are going to become bowl eligible this season.  Next up for Vanderbilt is Kentucky and then they play rival and fellow TAM team Tennessee.
Last Game:  L 26-21 vs. Florida @ Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Kentucky @ Vanderbilt Stadium
Best Win:  30-7 vs. Ole Miss @ Vanderbilt Stadium
Worst Loss: 34-0 vs. Alabama @ Bryant-Denny Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 1 (Ole Miss)
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 1 (Arkansas)

7.  Ole Miss (2-7):  Last week No. 7
The Rebels’ season went from bad to worse this Saturday when Kentucky demolished them with a beat down of epic proportions.  This loss was the straw that broke the Rebel’s back as it was announced early this week that Coach Nutt will not be returning next year as the head coach.  Ole Miss is playing for pride now that they are not going to be bowl eligible for the second consecutive year.  They play a solid Louisiana Tech team who has lost to two TAM teams (Southern Miss and Mississippi Stat) this season a combined total of 8 points.
Last Game: L 30-13 vs. Kentucky @ Commonwealth Stadium
Next Game: vs. Louisiana Tech @ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Best Win:  38-28 vs. Fresno State @ Bulldog Stadium
Worst Loss:  30-13 vs. Kentucky @ Commonwealth Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 0
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 2 (Vanderbilt and Arkansas)

8.  MTSU (2-6): Last week No. 8
MTSU lost to Tennessee this weekend taking their TAM record to 1-1, with one game against a TAM team remaining.  The Blue Raiders held the Vols to 24 points and shut them out in the second half, but MTSU could never find any rhythm offensively.  Star quarterback Logan Kilgore was pulled from the game in the second quarter by Coach Stockstill after throwing a bad interception.  MTSU needs to win out to become bowl eligible and keep their streak of two years of bowl eligibility alive.
Last Game:  L 24-0 vs. Tennessee @ Neyland Stadium
Next Game:   vs. Louisiana-Monroe @ Malone Stadium
Best Win: 38-31 vs. Memphis @ Johnny Floyd Stadium
Worst Loss:  49-21 vs. Georgia Tech @ Johnny Floyd Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 1 (Memphis)
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 1 (Tennessee)

9.  Memphis (2-6):  Last week No. 9
The Tigers are coming off of a bye week and they get the only team in C-USA worst than them this week when they take on UAB.  A win this week will triple the Tigers’ win total form last year, and will give them more than one conference win for the first time since 2008.    Memphis will need big games from Taylor Reed and Billy Foster if they are going to snap a two year losing streak in the “Battle for the Bones” rivalry since 2008.
Last Game: W 41-0 vs. Central Florida @ BH Networks Stadium
Next Game:  vs. UAB @ Liberty Bowl
Best Win: 33-17 vs. Tulane @ Tulane Stadium
Worst Loss:  47-3 vs. Arkansas State @ ASU Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 0
Losses Against TAMs Teams:3 (Miss St., Arkansas State, MTSU)

The Mid-South is full of fans with allegiances to different area college football programs. Which FBS program in the three states surrounding the Memphis area is the best? To help end some arguments and start others, every week MemphiSport ranks all the college football teams in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. We call it the TAMs Rankings.
CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from games.

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