Published October 24, 2012 - 11:30am
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Last week’s power rankings caused quite a stir with Florida getting the top spot. Alabama and Florida both had quality wins this past weekend with Alabama dominating in Knoxville and Florida embarrassing a very good South Carolina team at home. The reality is that it doesn’t matter where these two teams rank in relation to each other, because if they win out, they will play each other in Atlanta.
But, for the sake of power rankings based on what each team has accomplished on the field, disregarding preseason ranking, we keep Florida at #1 this week and Alabama at #2. The rest of the Big 5 has some changes. It’s also important to realize that we don’t necessarily penalize a team for how good they look winning. Every championship team that comes out of this conference tends to have a few games where they have to merely survive. Often these games are ugly. With the brutal week-in and week-out schedule of an SEC team, winning is winning.
Currently, five teams control their own destiny in the SEC. These teams are Florida, Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi State. You keep winning, you win the conference and will play for a national title. South Carolina has fallen off this list with its second loss of the season.
1. Florida Gators (7-0)
Florida took another step on Saturday proving they are a legitimate title contender. They utterly dominated the Gamecocks in Gainesville starting with big plays on defense. An incredible punter kept the field position game in favor of Florida all day, and the Florida offense was efficient, scoring touchdowns after getting turnovers.
The Florida secondary is something special this season. They are fast and physical and are locking down passing games. In games against LSU and South Carolina, Florida did not allow a single touchdown.
Ranked wins: at #20 Texas A&M, #6 LSU, #13 South Carolina
Key games remaining: #10 Georgia, #12 Florida State
Interesting Stat: Driskel’s 4th quarter passing numbers: 11 of 15 (73.3%), 2 TD, 0 INT. Florida’s 4th quarter passing defense numbers: 29 of 78 opponent’s completions (37.2%), 0 TD, 2 INT.
Did you know: Driskel has more wins over top 25 ranked opponents in six starts (3) than Georgia’s Aaron Murray has in three seasons (2).
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0)
Alabama once again methodically took care of business against an inferior team in Tennessee. They looked like the varsity team, and Tennessee looked like the junior varsity team. This team is just outstanding, and their quarterback might be a Heisman finalist.
The balance of this team is exceptional. The team does the little things right as you would expect from a Nick Saban coached team. They will be tough to beat. Alabama’s offense may be peaking at just the right time.
Ranked wins: #22 Michigan
Key games remaining: #11 Miss State, #6 LSU, #20 Texas A&M
Interesting Stat: Alabama is #1 in the country in scoring defense with only 8.3 points per game given up.
3. LSU Tigers (7-1)
Despite a loss in Gainesville a few weeks ago, Les Miles has his team rebounding with quality ranked wins over South Carolina and on the road at Texas A&M. As I stated before, winning is winning, and the tough teams win the ugly games. LSU is still in this thing, and with the crazed home crowd at night in Baton Rouge in two weeks, don’t think that they will roll over when the Crimson Tide come to town.
LSU does have concerns. The offensive line has been banged up this year. The losses of the Honey Badger and Morris Claiborne to the NFL draft clearly left a playmaking ability hole. The defensive line and the running backs are as good as it gets, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to beat Alabama. Also, LSU’s Kevin Minter (LB) is having an all-world season.
Ranked wins: #13 South Carolina, at #20 Texas A&M
Key games remaining: #1 Alabama, #11 Miss State
Interesting Stat: LSU is currently converting 38% of their third downs which is down from 45% last season.
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-0)
Mississippi State is still undefeated. I really like how this team is playing. They’re tough, and they play good defense. Finally, we get to see them against real competition. They have to go to Tuscaloosa this week. Most don’t expect Alabama to lose this game, but I want to see how Miss State handles this game. While a loss would still be a loss, if Mississippi State plays the Tide tough, it could still be a good step for this program.
Ranked wins: None
Key games remaining: at #1 Alabama, #20 Texas A&M, at #6 LSU
Interesting Stat: Mississippi State has a +17 turnover margin which leads the country.
5. Georgia Bulldogs (6-1)
Georgia seems to be struggling, especially defensively, but they’re still in the game. A win against Florida changes the perception of this program from the past month instantaneously. For now, this is the team on this list that seems to be lacking the toughness element. Georgia safety Shawn Williams recently called his team out in this regard. Perhaps a rivalry game down in Jacksonville is what is needed to right the ship?
Ranked wins: None
Key games remaining: #2 Florida
Interesting Stat: In the last two games, Georgia has given up 230 rush yards to South Carolina and 206 rush yards to Kentucky.
* All rankings based on the current BCS rankings
Photo credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE