Thanks to Mike Huguenin at Gridiron Now for this week’s SEC power ratings rundown.
Here are this week’s SEC Power Rankings. We’re at the midway post for some teams and already into the second half for others.
Week Seven had a huge division crossover game that was — ahem — anti-climactic. There is a gigantic SEC West showdown this week; as a fan of close games, hopefully that won’t be anti-climactic as well.
14. South Carolina (2-4)
Last week: 13th
The skinny: The Gamecocks return from their bye week with an eminently winnable game against Massachusetts. South Carolina has one of the nation’s worst offenses, but UMass is surrendering 468.6 yards per game.
13. Missouri (2-4)
Last week: 10th
The skinny: The Tigers looked bad in losing to Florida, on both sides of the ball. Mizzou now has lost 11 of its past 12 conference games, but with Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt still on the schedule, a bowl bid remains a possibility.
12. Vanderbilt (3-4)
Last week: 14th
The skinny: Vanderbilt is last nationally in total offense after managing just 171 yards on Saturday at Georgia. But a spirited defensive effort and some big plays on special teams helped Commodores pull the upset in Athens. This week, they play crosstown FCS foe Tennessee State, meaning they should get their fourth win.
11. Kentucky (3-3)
Last week: 12th
The skinny: UK has a huge game this week when Mississippi State comes to town. Any hope at a bowl bid likely rests on beating the Bulldogs. UK has lost nine in a row to SEC West opponents.
10. Mississippi State (2-4)
Last week: 11th
The skinny: The Bulldogs had a chance to win at BYU, but fell short. The offensive line’s inconsistency is maddening and the team’s biggest problem. The next two games – at Kentucky and vs. Samford – should enable Mississippi State to get to .500, but a bowl bid looks out of reach.
9. Georgia (4-3)
Last week: 9th
The skinny: Georgia’s defense did its job, allowing just 171 yards. But the offense struggled and the result was an embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt on homecoming. The offensive line was physically whipped by Vandy’s front seven. The Bulldogs have some work to do during their bye week.
8. Florida (5-1)
Last week: 8th
The skinny: Never has a 523-yard offensive output left so many questions. Florida’s defense scored 14 points and its special teams added seven, which means the offense scored just 19 against Missouri despite all those yards. QB Luke Del Rio tossed three picks and seemingly forced every other pass; he finished 18-of-38 for 236 yards. But Florida’s defense again did a great job. Mizzou’s offense had just 145 yards and one TD through three quarters. Florida’s defense had third-teamers in the game at the end.
7. LSU (4-2)
Last week: 6th
The skinny: Beating up on Missouri and Southern Miss is one thing; this week, we should find out a lot more about the “new” Tigers when Ole Miss heads to Baton Rouge. It’s the start of a huge five-game closing stretch for LSU: Ole Miss, a bye week, vs. Alabama, at Arkansas, vs. Florida and at Texas A&M.
6. Auburn (4-2)
Last week: 5th
The skinny: The Tigers were off last week, and presumably they looked for ways to rev up their passing attack. The next two weeks should determine what kind of bowl is in store; Auburn plays host to Arkansas this week, then travels to Ole Miss next week. And remember that both of the Tigers’ losses have been to unbeaten teams currently ranked in the top 10 (Clemson and Texas A&M).
5. Ole Miss (3-3)
Last week: 3rd
The skinny: The Rebels fell at Arkansas last week and now face back-to-back tough tests – at LSU this week and vs. Auburn on October 29. All of a sudden, the possibility of a five- or six-loss season looms, as there also is a game at Texas A&M in November.
4. Tennessee (5-2)
Last week: 4th
The skinny: The Vols were emotionally spent and physically beat up going into the game with Alabama; it should come as no surprise, then, that they were trampled. A desperately needed bye week awaits, then comes a tissue-soft remaining schedule: at South Carolina, vs. Tennessee Tech, vs. Kentucky, vs. Missouri and at Vanderbilt. If Tennessee doesn’t win each of those games by double-digits, something is wrong.
3. Arkansas (5-2)
Last week: 7th
The skinny: Arkansas’ defense surrendered 30 points to Ole Miss, but a strong rushing attack headed by Rawleigh Williams III overcame that as the Hogs downed the Rebels for the third consecutive season. This is a flawed team, for sure, but both the losses are to unbeaten teams in the top 10. This Saturday at Auburn is the last tough road game of the season.
2. Texas A&M (6-0)
Last week: 2nd
The skinny: The Aggies presumably got healthier during their bye week. Physically healthier, that is. The Aggies play at Alabama this week, and their mental well-being can’t be in a good place after seeing the Tide thrash Tennessee. The Aggies’ offense would seem to give them a puncher’s chance in Tuscaloosa, but truth be told, they aren’t going to win unless Alabama helps them out with three or four turnovers.
1. Alabama (7-0)
Last week: 1st
The skinny: Game three in a big four-game stretch looms Saturday with Texas A&M coming to town. The Tide already has dispatched Arkansas and Tennessee – by a combined 58 points, no less – and will get a week off after the visit from the Aggies to prepare for a trip to LSU on November 5. The Tide has scored 11 non-offensive touchdowns this season; South Carolina has scored nine TDs total.