The Razorbacks are scary good, remain No. 1 in the TAMs Rankings

Our TAM teams celebrated Halloween early this past weekend, and I do not know what is scarier, this grotesque razorback or the grotesque first halves Arkansas has been dealing with the past two weeks.  Like Arkansas, Southern Miss also faced a first half scare before rebounding in the second half to win their game against UTEP.  Nightmare seasons for Ole Miss and Tennesse continued as they reamin two of the three teams in the SEC without a conference win.  Speaking of nightmares, Arkansas State is keeping every offensive coordinator in the Sun Belt up at night as not a team in the conference has been able to score more than 24 points on the terrifying Red Wolves’ defense.  Equally as scary has been the play of the bottom dwellers MTSU and Memphis who both followed up wins with blow out losses.  Mississippi State struck fear into yet another SEC East foe on Saturday to improve Coach Mullin’s record against SEC East opponents to 6-3 in his tenure at Mississippi State.  Too bad the Bulldogs are in the SEC West where the only team they strike fear in is Ole Miss.  This week’s most disappointing team is Vanderbilt who controlled most of the game Saturday against Arkansas, but lost anyways thanks to a truly greusome finish for Commodore fans, with a fumble inside the Razorbacks’ five yard line that was returned for a touchdown and a missed field goal to force overtime. Without further ado, the TAMs Rankings for the week of November 2, 2011…
Rankings compiled by MemphiSport. Updated every Wednesday.


1.  Arkansas (7-1): Last week No. 1
For the second straight week the Razorbacks struggled early against a TAM team before finding a way to win. This time the scare was against Vanderbilt who controlled most of the game before Arkansas forced a fumble and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown.  This is the third time Arkansas has fallen behind big early only to surmount an impressive comeback, but if they continue playing with fire somebody will burn them.  Next up for the cardic kids is a game with huge SEC and BCS implications when the no. 9 Gamecocks of South Carolina come to town.  If the Razorbacks fall behind big this weekend do not expect a big comback as Steve Spurrier’s squad will continue to pour it on until the final whistle.
Last Game: W 31-28 vs. Vanderbilt @Vanderbilt Stadium
Next Game:  vs. South Carolina @ 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 (7-1):  Last week No. 2
A big kudos goes out to Southern Miss who is no. 25 in this weeks BCS poll, making two TAM teams in the BCS poll ths week.  The Golden Eagles remain in the driver’s seat in the C-USA  East, but they do face a tough two game stretch against East Carolina and UCF.  Southern Miss has given up only 20 points in th last two games and continues to dominate C-USA offenses holding conference foes to only 15 points per game.  A showdown with Houston in the C-USA championship seems emminent for the Golden Eagles, but they must take care of business the last four games of the season.
Last Game:  W 31-13 vs. UTEP @ Sun Bowl Stadium
Next Game: vs. East Carolina @ Dowdy Ficklen Stadium
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.  Mississippi State (4-4):  Last week No. 3
The Bulldogs finally won their first conference game of the year against a woeful Kentucky unit.  Things go from extremly easy to unbelievably effortless for Mississippi State when they take on the Sky Hawks of UT- Martin out of the OVC. A two game winning streak should give the Bulldogs some confidence before reality slaps them in the face when they play back to back games against two teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the BCS polls (Alabama and Arkansas).
Last Game: W 28-16 vs. Kentucky @ Commonwealth Stadium
Next Game:  vs. UT-Martin @ 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


4.  Vanderbilt (4-4):  Last week No. 4
Vandy had Arkansas in the fourth quarter inside the Razorback ten yard line with a chance to go up 35-20, but a scoop and score by Jerry Franklin and a successful two point conversion pass by Wilson to Wright tied the game and gave all of the momentum to the Razorbacks.  The Commodores still had a chance to force overtime late but a missed field goal sealed their fate as they managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.  There is no time for Coach Franklin’s team to hang there heads because they head to “the Swamp” to take on a very athletic Florida Gators team on Saturday.  Three very winnable games remain on the Commodores schedule (Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest) and Vandy could be looking at a 7 or 8 win season when it is all said and done.
Last Game:  L 31-28 vs. Arkansas@ Vanderbilt Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Florida @ Ben Hill Griffin 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)


5.  Arkansas State (6-2): Last week No. 6
With their 37-14 win over North Texas Coach Freeze and the Red Wolves have their first six win season since 2008 and they are now bowl eligible.  More impressive is the fact that with a win over Florida Atlantic this Saturday Arkansas State will have their first season with more than six wins since making the jump to D-1A (now known as the FBS) in 1991.  The Sun Belt championship will be on the line next Saturday when Louisiana-Laffayete comes to town, as a win will gaurantee the Red Wolves a trip to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
Last Game:  W 37-14 vs.North Texas @ ASU Stadium
Next Game:  vs. Florida Atlantic @ FAU 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


6.  Tennessee (3-5): Last week No. 5
The Vols’ offense continues to struggle in Tyler Bray’s absence, this time managing a measly 3 points against South Carolina.  Tennessee is only averaging 22.4 points per game which is good for the third worse scoring offense in the SEC.  In the three games since Bray’s injury Tennessee has scored a grand total of one touchdown and only 16 total points.  Good thing for the Vols that TAM ranking bottom dweller MTSU is up next.
Last Game:  L 14-3 vs. South Carolina @ Neyland Stadium
Next Game:  vs. MTSU @ Neyland Stadium
Best Win:
45-23 vs. Cincinnati @ Neyland Stadium
Worst Loss: 
37-6 vs. Alabama @ Bryant-Denny Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams:
Losses Against TAMs Teams:


7.  Ole Miss (2-6):  Last week No. 7
The loss to Auburn makes eleven straight conference losses for Houston Nutt’s Rebels.  Bowl eligibility is slipping a way from Ole Miss and another loss will make them ineligible for a bowl for the second straight year.  They get an equally bad Kentucky team this Saturday in a battle between the two worst teams in the SEC.  This is the best chance Ole Miss has the rest of the season to beat an SEC opponent with their last two SEC games being against  no.1 LSU and the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State.

Last Game: L 41-23 vs. Auburn @ Jordan-Hare Stadium
Next Game: vs. Kentucky @ Commonwealth Stadium
Best Win:  38-28 vs. Fresno State @ Bulldog Stadium
Worst Loss:  14-13 vs. BYU @ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Wins Against TAMs Teams: 0
Losses Against TAMs Teams: 2 (Vanderbilt and Arkansas)


8.  MTSU (2-5): Last week No. 8
The Blue Raiders we all know and love returned to true form on Saturday, losing in impressive fashion to Louisiana-Laffayette.  MTSU held the Rajun Cajuns to just 188 passing yards, but Louisiana-Laffayette pounded the Blue Raider defense on the ground for 338 yards.  Logan Kilgore led the offense to over 400 total yards, but with a defense that is among the worst in the nation MTSU might not win another game this season.  Next up is a trip to Knoxville to take fellow TAM team Tennessee.

Last Game:  L 45-20 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette @ Floyd Stadium
Next Game:   vs. Tennessee @ Neyland 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: 0


9.  Memphis (2-6):  Last week No. 9
The Tiger’s conference losing streak started over Saturday at one, with a shut out loss to Central Florida.  Memphis was dominated by the Black Knights’ defense, only gaining 134 total yards and 6 first downs in Saturday’s contest.  Coach Porter has a bye week to try and fix the Tigers’ offensive woes before the “Battle for the Bones” against UAB.  Former Memphis coach Tommy West is now a defensive coordinator for UAB and will return to the Liberty Bowl for the first time since his departure after the 2009 season.  

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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