Rivalry week producing good storylines across SEC

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And then Mullen backed up his smack talk with a 41-27 victory over Ole Miss last season and has continued with the verbal barbs. Ole Miss has taken notice.

“It just bothered us for 365,” Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe said. “It’s rubbed us in the wrong way and we’re looking for some revenge this year.”

The Rebels, though struggling with five losses in the past six games, do possess one key advantage. The home team has won 10 out of the past 11 games in the series.

Other intriguing matchups include:

_ Georgia (5-6) vs. Georgia Tech (6-5). The Bulldogs need a win in The Governor’s Cup to become bowl eligible. Though Mark Richt’s job doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy, losing to the Yellow Jackets could make his seat quite warm going into next year.

_ Florida (7-4) vs. No. 22 Florida State (8-3). For the first time in recent memory, the Gators appear vulnerable as the get read for the showdown in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida coach Urban Meyer has a 5-0 record against the Seminoles during his tenure, but it’s Florida State that’s a 2 1/2-point favorite on Saturday.

_ Tennessee (5-6, 2-5) vs. Kentucky (6-5, 2-5). This hasn’t been much of a rivalry lately, considering the Volunteers have a 25-game winning streak in the series, which is the longest such streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision. But Tennessee, under first-year coach Derek Dooley, are only 3-point favorites on Saturday at home in Neyland Stadium and need a win to become bowl eligible.

_ South Carolina (8-3) vs. Clemson (6-5). After five years of small gains, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has taken a huge step this season by leading the Gamecocks to the SEC championship game. But before that happens, No. 18 South Carolina (8-3) must face Clemson (6-5), which would love nothing more than to put a damper on what’s been a breakthrough season.

_ No. 12 Arkansas (9-2, 5-2) hosts No. 6 LSU (10-1, 6-1) in Little Rock. If the Tigers win the battle for The Boot, they would be in terrific position to land a spot in a BCS bowl.

Across the Southeast, bragging rights after rivalry week are nearly as important as national titles _ and winning or losing these games can shape careers for both coaches and players.

Bynes, the Auburn linebacker, summed up the week in the SEC when describing the Iron Bowl.

“When we won, it was the best feeling ever,” Bynes said. “And then when we lost, it was the worst thing ever.”

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AP Sports Writers John Zenor in Auburn, Ala., Paul Newberry in Athens, Ga., Beth Rucker in Knoxville, Tenn., and Jeffrey Collins of The Associated Press in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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