SEC Power Rankings after Week 4
SEC Week 4 provided some small measure of clarity, as the massive pack in the middle of the SEC starts to sort itself out. We’re pretty clear on the top and the bottom, but there was plenty of movement in between, as about half the league is 2-2. But we’ll sort it all out on our weekly Power Rankings. Standard caution applies that we rank the teams based on what we’ve seen, not what we expect to see.
14. Vanderbilt (0-3, game canceled)
The SEC’s weakest squad had its game canceled due to COVID. The Commodores didn’t need health issues to add to the piles of adversity they’ve already experienced this season. Their spot in the cellar looks pretty safe.
13. LSU (1-2, game canceled)
Admittedly, we stuck LSU at 13th last week in part to make a statement. But it’s hard to justify dropping any of the teams that played below them. Ole Miss was awful Saturday against Arkansas, but it beat Kentucky and gave Alabama about as good of a game as Georgia did. Mississippi State was pretty bad again … but it beat LSU. Anyway, the Tigers can stick here for the moment.
12. Mississippi State (1-3, lost to Texas A&M 28-14)
Definitely not a terrible effort, but the Bulldogs’ offense that looked so astonishing in Week 1 against LSU has been very pedestrian since. The defense has generally been better than expected, which is strange.
11. Ole Miss (1-3, lost to Arkansas 33-21)
Speaking of underperforming high-octane offenses, the same Rebels team that lit up Kentucky and Alabama laid a pretty significant egg against Arkansas. This loss just underlines how little room for error the Rebels’ offense has in 2020.
10. Missouri (1-2, game canceled)
The Tigers drop a spot despite being inactive, just because the 2 teams immediately behind them last week each pulled off upset wins. Nothing that Mizzou did wrong, obviously, but you’ve got to reward a team that has a big week more than a team that doesn’t play.
9. Tennessee (2-2, lost to Kentucky 34-7)
Losing by 23 to Georgia didn’t move UT down in the power rankings, but losing to Kentucky at home by 27 does. The Vols have a distinct likelihood of 3 consecutive 20+ point losses, with this week’s matchup with Alabama looming.
8. Auburn (2-2, lost to South Carolina 30-22)
This is a willfully mediocre Auburn team right now. Yes, the Tigers beat Kentucky and Arkansas, but they sure didn’t play like a team that was better than either of those teams this week. They could well end up being the No. 5 team in the league, but until we’re seeing it ….
7. Kentucky (2-2, beat Tennessee 34-7)
Kentucky has gotten back to its roots — running the ball 70% of the time, playing defense and winning ugly games. And hey, that works a lot better than an aesthetically pleasing 42-41 loss to Ole Miss. Pretty much all of the teams from No. 5-10 could be stuck into a hat and drawn at random.
6. South Carolina (2-2, beat Auburn 30-22)
For the second consecutive week, South Carolina showed something. That didn’t mean a ton against Vanderbilt, but the win against Auburn makes us wonder if the Gamecocks aren’t our SEC East sleeper.
5. Arkansas (2-2, beat Ole Miss 33-21)
Never in a million years did we think we’d have Arkansas as No. 5 in the SEC. Fifth in the West would have seemed crazy optimistic. But this team should be 3-1, and with the exception of a bad second half against Georgia, the Hogs have given all opponents fits. Again, 5 SEC teams are 2-2, and at the end of the year, Tennessee and Auburn might be ahead of Arkansas and Carolina. But they certainly weren’t in Week 4.
4. Florida (2-1, game canceled)
Florida stays above the chaos of the 2-2 teams with a canceled game. Maybe the big gap in the SEC is between 4th and 5th. It’s much easier to imagine Florida moving up than down.
3. Texas A&M (3-1, beat Mississippi State 28-14)
Only 4 SEC teams don’t have 2 losses, and A&M obviously fits ahead of Florida. Sure, they had a bad loss to Alabama. But now, Georgia could say the same. The Aggies are in good position to hold onto the 2nd spot in the West and make a New Year’s 6 bowl game.
2. Georgia (3-1, lost to Alabama 41-24)
This game was a repeat of last week’s Georgia/Tennessee game. The underdog (Georgia, this time), had a mildly surprising halftime lead, and then got steamrolled in the second half, in part due to some very untimely turnovers. The guess here is that Georgia will not follow by laying an egg in its next game against Kentucky on Oct. 31.
1.Alabama (4-0, beat Georgia 41-24)
Alabama does what Alabama does. There was an element of rope-a-dope in a hit-and-miss first half, but the Tide buckled down late, making all the pivotal plays down the stretch to pick up the commanding victory. Not much danger the rest of the way for the Tide.