Week 4 SEC Power Rankings: Shakeup in the Top 5, Bottom 5
There’s no change at the top — and almost no chance for a change at the top — until Oct. 22, when Texas A&M visits Alabama.
The Tide and Aggies have separated from the pack, but there was plenty of shakeup elsewhere in the Week 4 SEC Power Rankings.
Last week: 12
Skinny: Circle Oct. 8. If Vanderbilt doesn’t win that game, they might not win another this season. Of course, the same could be said of their opponent that day — Kentucky.
Last week: 14
Skinny: Trying to keep it positive, nobody has scored 50 on Mark Stoops’ defense this season. Stephen Johnson looked terrific, too. Kentucky’s offense is fun to watch … even if nobody is watching.
12. Mississippi State
Last week: 11
Skinny: Rankings are fluid. Nick Fitzgerald regressed Saturday after ripping up South Carolina in Week 2. As such, the running game was non-existent against LSU.
11. South Carolina
Last week: 13
Skinny: Brandon McIlwain is Kurt Roper’s kind of quarterback. What seemed unthinkable to some — bowl eligibility — doesn’t seem so outlandish any more. It’s still a long shot, but if the Gamecocks handle Kentucky on Saturday, that Nov. 5 home date with Missouri will be really interesting.
Last week: 8
Skinny: Auburn’s offense is exactly what we thought it was — below average.
Last week: 10
Skinny: Tigers lose and move up? They were one stop from beating a Top 20 team. Drew Lock was one terrible decision from delivering a signature win. The margins are so fine in the SEC, but that’s how close the Tigers are to contending again in the East.
Last week: 3
Skinny: Josh Dobbs came within 5 yards — about the distance of his two deep overthrows — of silencing questions about his downfield accuracy. How long are we going to keep asking: If the Vols ever hit on those plays …? This Vols are better than this ranking, but they certainly haven’t played like it. Saturday would be a good time to start.
Last week: 9
Skinny: Danny Etling was solid, and that might be all the Tigers need him to be for the next month or so.
Last week: 5
Skinny: Last week, the Gators had Luke Del Rio. This week, they’re breaking in another quarterback in mid-stream for the second consecutive season. Transfer Austin Appleby seems better suited to run Jim McElwain’s system than Treon Harris. The Gators’ defense is top 2, and that might be enough to beat Tennessee for the 12th consecutive time, but they’ll need to score to hold off Georgia in the East.
5. Ole Miss
Last week: 4
Skinny: The kings of 30-minute football, Ole Miss still has the most dangerous quarterback in the league. Which means the Rebels have a chance to beat every team left on their schedule.
Last week: 7
Skinny: Who expected the Razorbacks to be 3-0 entering Saturday’s huge showdown in Jerry World against Texas A&M? Arkansas is changing opinions across the land, as evidenced by their No. 17 ranking in the AP Poll. They received exactly 14 votes in the preseason Top 25.
Last week: 6
Skinny: Georgia is 3-0, has solved all quarterback questions and hasn’t gotten much from the reliable running game in each of the past two weeks. In other words, there’s plenty of growth still to come.
2. Texas A&M
Last week: 2
Skinny: The Aggies weren’t even particularly crisp but still won by double digits, on the road, against an Auburn team that pushed Clemson.
Last week: 1
Skinny: As if Alabama needed any help, the Tide scored three more non-offensive touchdowns Saturday against Ole Miss. Their comeback from 21 down was the largest under Nick Saban — and it was fueled by a punt return TD and erased by a fumble return TD.
That’s five consecutive games with at least one non-offensive touchdown.
That’s great in any scenario, but downright scary when you consider the Tide’s defense is nearly outscoring opponents without any help from its offense.
Chris Wright is Executive Editor at SaturdayDownSouth.com. Email him at email@example.com.