SEC Power Rankings after Week 1
Well, that was something, wasn’t it? Three SEC teams lost as double-digit favorites in Week 1, and until Auburn pulled its game out of the fire late, it looked like a potentially massive disappointment for the league as a whole.
If it wasn’t awful, it still was far from good. We rank the SEC’s teams, not based on how they’ll end up or what we expect, but what they showed us on the field so far. Here’s where they stand after Week 1:
14. Tennessee (0-1, lost to Georgia State 38-30)
This may have been the worst loss in Tennessee history. Given the talent disparity, this was inexcusable and doesn’t bode well for the remaining 11 games for the Volunteers. The Vols were a 25-point favorite … at home … against a Sun Belt Conference team … that went 2-10 a year ago!
13. Arkansas (1-0, beat Portland State 20-13)
Yes, it was a win for Arkansas. But when you outgain an FCS team by 165 yards and go plus-2 on turnovers, you expect more than a seven-point win. On a week of SEC teams getting upset, the Razorbacks avoided that fate, but also didn’t show a ton of reason for optimism moving ahead.
12. Vanderbilt (0-1, lost to Georgia 30-6)
Georgia was a 23-point favorite, so Vanderbilt did about what one would expect. That said, had you told a Commodore backer that they’d hold the Bulldogs to 30, they might have expected an upset. This offense was incredibly bland and dull — it accounted for no touchdowns and one play of more than 16 yards all day (a 23-yard rush), and Vandy has to get more on that side of the ball.
11. Mississippi (0-1, lost to Memphis 15-10)
Similarly, any given Mississippi fan, when told Memphis would score just 15 points, would have been elated. Not so fast, because 173 total yards for Ole Miss is inexcusably bad. The Rebels couldn’t run, they couldn’t throw, and thus, they couldn’t win. Don’t be surprised if this theme repeats itself during the course of the season.
10. Missouri (0-1, lost to Wyoming 37-31)
Transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant passed for 423 yards for Missouri … and the Tigers still lost. They were horrid on the ground, both offensively (2.7 yards per carry) and defensively (7.1 yards per carry allowed), which wasn’t an expected outcome for the 16.5-point favorite. Sure, it was a road game, but that was a bad loss.
9. South Carolina (0-1, lost to North Carolina 24-20)
A rebuilding North Carolina team outgained experienced South Carolina by 213 yards. Sam Howell, UNC’s true freshman quarterback, outplayed South Carolina’s Jake Bentley, who’s a 4-year starter. South Carolina had this game won, but UNC put together 98- and 95-yard touchdown drives in the 4th quarter to win, which doesn’t bode well for Will Muschamp’s future.
8. Mississippi State (1-0, beat Louisiana 38-28)
A 10-point win by Mississippi State over Louisiana left us a little underwhelmed. Granted, the Bulldogs didn’t join the group of SEC teams that got upset, but giving up 431 yards and only winning by 10 despite forcing five turnovers could be a huge red-flag warning sign for this team.
7. Kentucky (1-0, beat Toledo 38-24)
Similarly, while Toledo is probably a little better than Louisiana and Kentucky covered the point spread, this was kind of a ho-hum win for the Wildcats. UK was outrushed 181-176, and was particularly sloppy in the first half.
6. Florida (1-0, beat Miami 24-20 in Week 0)
The Gators did get their win last week and it was definitely more of a case of holding on than winning any style points. Florida can’t rush for 1.8 yards per carry and be successful in the SEC — nor can they go minus-3 on turnovers and expect to have success.
5. Texas A&M (1-0 beat Texas State 41-7)
We weren’t going to learn a ton from Texas A&M’s game with Texas State, but any time you rush for 6.8 yards per carry and hold your opponent to 0.5 yards per carry, well, you had a good week. Week 2 presents a much stronger test against Clemson, the defending national champions and No. 1-ranked team in the country, and provides a better chance to assess this Aggies squad.
4. Auburn (1-0, beat Oregon 27-21)
Auburn really, really, really needed this game and despite leading it for exactly nine seconds, the Tigers got it. With just over 24 minutes left, they trailed 21-6 before three late touchdown drives turned the narrative — and may have started the kind of season that ends with more late-game magic on a bigger stage.
3. Georgia (1-0, beat Vanderbilt 30-6)
On a day when Georgia rushed for more than 8 yards per carry, the offense still felt a little off. UGA had 10 penalties and went 1-for-7 on third downs. Frankly, none of this was a huge deal, but it’s the kind of detail work that bumped UGA to the third spot for now.
2. LSU (1-0, beat Georgia Southern 55-3)
Georgia Southern’s option looks can be tricky, but it wasn’t for LSU. The Tigers held GSU to 8 first downs and 98 total yards. Meanwhile, the Tigers passed for 350 yards and looked sharp doing it, which is probably the game’s most important takeaway.
1. Alabama (1-0, beat Duke 42-3)
The Alabama running game was a little underwhelming, but otherwise, they are who we thought they were. Holding Duke to 11 first downs and 204 yards was a solid Week 1 performance for the Crimson Tide.