Can anyone knock Arkansas out of the No. 1 spot in TAMs Rankings?

The college football season is coming to an end with three weeks left before conference championships begin.  It is going to be a TAM Saturday as six TAM teams will face off in very meaningful games. Arkansas kept their SEC West championship hopes alive by throttling fellow TAM team Tennessee. Southern Mississippi was pushed all the way to the brink of defeat by UCF, before a pass deflection on a two point conversion sealed the win for the Golden Eagles.  Arkansas State is one win away from being crowned Sun Belt champion, with their next game against TAM ranking bottom dweller MTSU. The Bulldogs will try to become bowl eligible this weekend against the best TAM team, Arkansas. Vanderbilt throttled Kentucky over the weekend, and can become bowl eligible with a win over a Tennessee team that is still looking for their first conference win of the season.  Ole Miss continues to spiral out of control in Houston Nutt’s last year.  The Rebels only scored 7 points and were embarrassed at home by Louisiana Tech.  This week’s most disappointing team goes to the worst team in the TAM rankings the Memphis Tigers, who dominated three quarters before surrendering 24 fourth quarter points in a loss to UAB. Without further ado, the TAMs Rankings for the week of November 16, 2011…

Rankings compiled by MemphiSport. Updated every Wednesday.

1.  Arkansas (9-1): Last week No. 1
The Razorbacks won their third game against a TAM teamthis season in convincing fashion, as they dominated Tennessee on Saturday.  Arkansas is now ranked No. 6 in the BCS and still has an outside chance at a SEC championship.  If Arkansas wins out there will be a three way tie at the top of the SEC West and a tie breaker will need to be implemented in order to decide who will represent the West in the SEC championship.  Arkansas plays Mississippi State next and then it is a showdown with the best team in the country and arch rival LSU to possibly determine the SEC West champion.
Last Game: W 49-7 vs. Tennessee @ Razorback Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Mississippi State @ Little Rock Arkansas
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, Vanderbilt, Tennessee)
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 0

2.  Southern Mississippi (9-1):  Last week No. 2
UCF was one two point conversion away from pulling off a huge upset against Southern Miss, but the Golden Eagles found a way to deflect the pass and hold on for the win.  The victory over UCF made Southern Miss the C-USA East champions and they will likely play Houston for the C-USA crown.  Next up is a pitiful UAB team, followed by a game against the worst TAM team Memphis to wrap up the season.
Last Game:  W 30-29 vs. UCF @ M.M. Roberts Stadium
Next Game: vs.  UAB @ Legion Field
Best Win:  30-24 vs. Virginia @ Scott Stadium
Worst Loss:  26-20 vs. Marshall @ Joan C. Edwards Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 0
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 0

3.  Arkansas State (8-2): Last week No. 3
Arkansas State held on Saturday to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette by one point and remain in control of the Sunbelt race.  The Red Wolves are going bowling for the first time since 2005 which has every Arkansas State fan excited.  They get a chance to improve their TAM record this weekend when they play TAM rankings bottom dweller MTSU.   If Arkansas State wins out they will get ten wins for the first time ever which is a major accomplishment for the Red Wolves.  We are beginning to hear whispers about Coach Freeze leaving to coach Ole Miss next year, so it will be interesting to see how the team responds to the off field distraction.
Last Game:  W 30-21 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette @ ASU Stadium
Next Game:  vs. MTSU @ Floyd Stadium
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.  Vanderbilt (5-5):  Last week No. 6
Vandy dismantled Ole Miss on Saturday and is just one win away from becoming bowl eligible for just the fifth time in school history.  They will look to become bowl eligible when they travel to Neyland Stadium, and play rival and fellow TAM team Tennessee in what is going to be an intense game on Saturday.  Turnovers will be key as Vanderbilt leads the SEC in takeaways while Tennessee has only turned the ball over 13 times all season.
Last Game:  W 38-8 vs. Kentucky @ Vanderbilt Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Tennessee @ Neyland Stadium
Best Win:  30-8 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)

5.  Mississippi State (5-5):  Last week No. 4
Dan Mullin still has yet to defeat an SEC West foe not named Ole Miss since he has become the Bulldogs head coach.  Alabama absolutely dominated the Bulldogs offense, holding them to only 12 yards rushing and just 131 total yards.  The Bulldogs do not get any relief in the schedule this week when they take on the top TAM team Arkansas.  If Mississippi State loses this week then their game against arch rival Ole Miss will matter even more, since the Bulldogs will need to defeat the Rebels to become bowl eligible.
Last Game: W 24-7 vs. Alabama @ Davis Wade Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Arkansas @ Little Rock Arkansas
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

6.  Tennessee (4-6): Last week No. 5
Tennessee still has yet to beat an SEC team and another loss will eliminate the Vols from bowl contention.  Good news for Volunteer fans is the return of sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray, who practiced on Tuesday for the first time since broke his thumb against Georgia on October 8.  However, Bray is still listed as questionable for the Vols matchup against Vanderbilt this weekend, so it will be interesting to see how much playing time Coach Dooley will give him.  The Vols must beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky in order to become bowl eligible.
Last Game:  W 49-7 vs. Tennessee @ Razorback Stadium
Next Game: 
vs.  Vanderbilt @ Neyland 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:
1 (Arkansas)

7.  Ole Miss (2-8):  Last week No. 7
Just when you think that the Rebel’s season has hit rock bottom Ole Miss gets a shovel and keeps on digging.  They suffered their fifth straight loss at home against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, and they get the best team in the nation next when LSU comes to town.  To make matters worse Coach Nutt has suspended starting quarterback Randall Mackey and leading rusher Jeff Scott for Saturday’s game.  Their best hope is that LSU decides not to make the trip to Oxford in order to prepare for their contest against Arkansas.
Last Game: L 27-7 vs. Louisiana Tech @ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Next Game: vs. LSU @ Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium
Best Win:  38-28 vs. Fresno State @ Bulldog Stadium
Worst Loss:  27-7 vs. Louisiana Tech @ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 0
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 2 (Vanderbilt and Arkansas )

8.  MTSU (2-7): Last week No. 8
Logan Kilgore and Jeff Murphy split time under the center, but MTSU still suffered their seventh loss of the season on Saturday.  The Blue Raiders will not be going bowling this year thanks to Saturday’s loss and are now playing for pride the rest of the season.  Good news for MTSU is if they can find a way to win two of their final three games they will likely jump Ole Miss in our TAM rankings.  They play fellow TAM team Arkansas State next in a showdown of the two best Sun Belt teams in the TAM rankings (also the only two Sun Belt teams in the TAM rankings).
Last Game:  L 42-14 vs. Louisiana-Monroe @ Malone Stadium
Next Game:   vs. Arkansas State @ Floyd 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
Memphis held the lead for most of Saturday’s game against UAB and was up 35-17 when the fourth quarter started.  However, by the time the fourth quarter ended the Tigers had surrendered 200 total yards and 24 unanswered fourth quarter points in a losing effort.  They have to forget Saturday’s debacle and get ready for a Marshal team that is still fighting for bowl eligibility.
Last Game: L 41-35 vs. UAB @ Liberty Bowl
Next Game:  vs. Marshall @ Liberty Bowl
Best Win: 33-17 vs. Tulane @ Tulane Stadium
Worst Loss:  41-35 vs. UAB @ Liberty Bowl
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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