SEC Week 3 has come and gone, and we’re at least a little bit more clear on the pecking order of the SEC. The good news is that even if your preseason predictions aren’t looking so good anymore, you can always have another shot. Here’s how we see the SEC regular season shaping up, after Week 3.


Alabama: 11-1

Alabama dominating UL-Monroe 63-7 didn’t really tell us much that we didn’t know. The story of the game might have been the Bama special teams accounting for a pair of touchdowns. If that keeps up, we might move the Tide back to 12-0.

Arkansas: 9-3

If you heard the sound of brakes pumping, this would be the spot. Arkansas went from a real possibility to take down Alabama to needing to play better than this brutal Missouri State game just to remain in the top half of the SEC West. It could be a fluke … but then, Cincinnati and South Carolina haven’t exactly looked like the ’80s San Francisco 49ers since Arkansas beat them.

Auburn: 4-8

How important is this Missouri game next week? Whoever loses it can’t really hope to have a good season. And we’re not talking a win-8-games-and-go-to-midtier-bowl game good season. We’re talking a .500 season. The Bryan Harsin era looks absolutely doomed. After the LSU game to open October (and that game just got a lot tougher), it gets treacherous for the Tigers.

LSU: 7-5

So the Tigers are all but promised a 4-1 start now, and frankly, the back half of the schedule doesn’t look quite as daunting as it once did. Pencil them in for a winning season, which seemed almost unimaginable after the opening loss to Florida State.

Mississippi State: 7-5

On the other hand, the Bulldogs got run out of the Bayou late. For a team that’s been surprisingly physical despite the utter absence of a running game, that wasn’t a good sign. Remember that the Bulldogs have to play Alabama and Georgia (and Kentucky and Arkansas), and you realize that there’s little wiggle room left for State to have a winning season under Mike Leach.

Ole Miss: 10-2

There’s a very legitimate shot at a 9-0 start for Ole Miss, which would set up a home game with Alabama and perhaps the biggest regular-season game in more than a half-century for the Rebels. But that Kentucky game on Oct. 1 is still sitting there, and if it’s a brave new world when Ole Miss and Kentucky meet with the SEC power balance on the line, might as well get used to that idea.

Texas A&M: 9-3

The Aggies regained a significant dose of mojo, but it’s still safe to wonder how on earth this team fares in the West. Consider next week’s matchup with Arkansas. Literally no result could be too surprising. Florida and South Carolina out of the East don’t look particularly imposing. The Aggies might be back … but it might also still shape up to be a tough season for a team that’s still very much a work in progress on offense even after turning it over to Max Johnson.


Florida: 7-5

It’s hard to be bullish on a Gator team that struggled to put away South Florida. Billy Napier will have better days, but expecting him to climb the SEC mountain in Year 1 was probably more than a little unrealistic. That cross-division schedule (LSU, at A&M) looks a little more challenging after Week 3.

Georgia: 12-0

Nothing changed here. Elite defense, elite offense. Brock Bowers might be the guy to make tight ends glamorous into the 2030s.

Kentucky: 9-3

Kentucky was impressive defensively but had some legitimate offensive struggles against Youngstown State. The schedule shapes up well, and the question at the moment is how much of a difference will Chris Rodriguez make to a ground game that has been completely uninspired thus far?

Missouri: 6-6

Next week’s game at Auburn is the kind of match-up in which it’s hard to imagine the losing coach having his job next season. Mizzou looks a little less shakey than Auburn, but that’s not a ton to hang their hats on for a favorable season.

South Carolina: 6-6

Rough week for the Gamecocks, but it will be for whoever plays Georgia. There are 5 likely wins on the schedule, with Charlotte, South Carolina State, Mizzou (at home), and Vandy forthcoming. Can the Gamecocks pick up a 6th win? It might depend on the home game with Texas A&M, which is not a great situation. For now, we’ll guess that Carolina steals one … but it’s far from certain.

Tennessee: 9-3

The home game with Florida next week is a huge one. The road game at LSU on Oct. 8 looks a lot tougher than it did coming into this week. UT’s talent is impressive, but their schedule is tough, with losses to Bama and Georgia virtually impossible to avoid. Who else gets the Vols? LSU on the road, Kentucky in Knoxville? The guess is that it’s somebody … and Florida would love to take care of that themselves.

Vanderbilt: 3-9

The success of AJ Swann left us seeking a 4th win for the Commodores, but there aren’t many good chances. Home against Carolina or at Mizzou are the best guesses, but after next week at Bama, let’s just hope the Commodores are still standing.