Published September 6, 2011 - 10:03am
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Opening week was an exciting one for SEC fans. Each week we break down the conference via the SDS Power Rankings. Enjoy.
Team Power Rankings
1. LSU Tigers – LSU leads the list this week simply because they beat a top tier program in the Oregon Ducks to open the season. Regardless of the style used to win, LSU beat a top team on a neutral site and therefore, must top the list to open the season. The offense wasn’t sexy, but Jarrett Lee filled in for suspended Jordan Jefferson to manage the game well. The LSU running game was solid, rushing for 175 yards. The defense was outstanding and is likely as good as Alabama’s.
Total Offense: 273 yards (10th)
Total Defense: 335 yards (7th)
2. Alabama Crimson Tide – The Tide dominated an inferior Kent State team. The game didn’t show much, as the world knows Alabama has an outstanding team led by its suffocating defense. The Tide had nearly 500 yards of offense with 299 yards in the air and another 183 on the ground. The Tide face a tough road game at Penn State this coming week, and we’ll know a lot more about this team after this matchup.
Total Offense: 482 yards (2nd)
Total Defense: 99 yards (1st)
3. Arkansas Razorbacks - Arkansas dominated a weak opponent in Missouri State in every aspect of the game: offense, defense and special teams. Tyler Wilson looked good on offense, Jake Bequette looked good on defense, and Joe Adams returned two punts for touchdowns. What more do you want?
Total Offense: 466 yards (4th)
Total Defense: 163 yards (3rd)
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs - The Bulldogs started 2011 the same way the ended 2010 in a beat down of Michigan in the Gator Bowl. A dominant run game and solid defense, Mississippi State is a legitimate contender for this season. While most were skeptical going into the season that Mississippi State could match last year’s success, I think they are making more believers. They do have some key losses from last year on the defense, and the Bulldogs gave up 338 yards to Memphis – they get a chance to show how good (or bad) their defense is against Auburn this week.
Total Offense: 645 yards (1st)
Total Defense: 338 yards (8th)
5. Florida Gators – Coming off a terrible 2010, the team has energy and looks to be well coached in its first game. The offense will rely heavily on Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey who are extremely talented. John Brantley looks better, but definitely isn’t a superstar. Their defensive front is outstanding.
Total Offense: 468 yards (3rd)
Total Defense: 137 yards (2nd)
6. South Carolina Gamecocks - South Carolina had to come from behind to beat ECU, and while they got the win, it definitely wasn’t a confidence boosting victory. It doesn’t matter as they will be immediately tested in Athens this week against a Georgia Bulldogs team looking to get their first win. Spurrier made his point with benching Garcia. Look for him to be all business as they head to Athens this week.
Total Offense: 351 yards (8th)
Total Defense: 345 yards (9th)
7. Tennessee Volunteers – The Vols beat up on Montana with a stellar passing game. The rushing game was decent, but the offensive line will need to continue to improve as the Vols face a tough Gator defense in two weeks.
Total Offense: 439 yards (5th)
Total Defense: 346 yards (10th)
8. Auburn Tigers - Auburn didn’t exactly shine on Saturday requiring two very late touchdowns and an onsite kick to get the victory at home against Utah State. The Barrett Trotter offense looked decent, but the defense definitely looked poor against the Utah State team. They face the top SEC offense from week 1 next Saturday when they play the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Auburn’s defense gave up a league worst 448 yards in week 1.
Total Offense: 364 yards (7th)
Total Defense: 448 yards (12th)
9. Georgia Bulldogs – Georgia played a very tough opening game against Boise State, and although they didn’t win, even more concerning is that they really weren’t competitive in the second half of the game. A rough offensive line performance prevented Georgia from getting their running game going, and taking away a few huge plays, the offense was very anemic. The defense struggled to get Boise off the field. The path doesn’t get any easier as they welcome South Carolina on Saturday. Despite the loss, Georgia can still have a very good season if they put it together – Saturday gives them a huge opportunity to climb up the power rankings in a matter of days.
Total Offense: 373 yards (6th)
Total Defense: 390 yards (11th)
10. Vanderbilt Commodores – Vanderbilt started the season with a nice win over Elon. Vanderbilt gets written off in the SEC, but the program is taking baby steps under new coach James Franklin. Keep and eye on this team and see if they can win a few games that normally they wouldn’t this season.
Total Offense: 309 yards (9th)
Total Defense: 323 yards (6th)
11. Kentucky Wildcats - Kentucky had an all around disappointing game with a terrible offensive performance under quarterback Morgan Newton. The Cats managed only 190 yards of offense against Western Kentucky, which doesn’t bode well for SEC play if they can’t get things moving a bit better.
Total Offense: 190 yards (12th)
Total Defense: 234 yards (4th)
12. Ole Miss Rebels – Houston Nutt had an opportunity in week 1 to show that the Ole Miss program was rebounding. A win over visiting BYU would have been a big win for the team, and instead they gave the game up late and the loss is a disappointing one.
Total Offense: 208 yards (11th)
Total Defense: 316 yards (5th)
Individual Power Rankings
1. Tyler Bray – 293 yards, 3 touchdowns
2. Barrett Trotter – 261 yards, 3 touchdowns
3. Tyler Wilson – 260 yards, 2 touchdowns
1. Justin Hunter – 146 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
2. Marquis Maze – 118 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
3. Jarius Wright – 108 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Top Ground Warriors
1. Vick Ballard – 166 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
2. Marcus Lattimore – 112 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
3. Jeff Demps – 99 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
1. Chris Rainey – 3 touchdowns (1 receiving, 1 rushing, 1 blocked punt return)
2. Joe Adams – 2 punt returns for touchdowns
3. Brandon Boykin – 80 yard touchdown run