SEC Power Rankings after Week 4
We’re 4 weeks in, and we’re still separating the good from the pretty good from the very good. But that’s what SEC football is all about. With the eternal caveat that we rank teams not off where they’ll finish, but off of what they’ve shown in the season so far, we’re power ranking this SEC. Here it is:
14. Arkansas (1-3, lost to Auburn 34-3)
Not unlike Alabama at the top, it just is what it is.
13. Tennessee (2-2, lost to Florida 47-21)
The assumption after Florida lost at home to Kentucky was that Florida was awful. That might have been a dangerous assumption.
12. Vanderbilt (2-2, lost to South Carolina 37-14)
Vanderbilt really needed this game to feel confident about getting back to a bowl. Instead, they were outgunned at home in all phases of the game by a decent but unexceptional South Carolina team. There might still be 6 wins on this schedule, but there might well not be.
11. Ole Miss (3-1, beat Kent State 38-17)
It’s hard to fault the Rebels for being uneven in a game that was delayed twice and seemed to take a week to complete. Jordan Ta’amu will keep the Rebels in plenty of games, but the defense gave up 390 yards to Kent State. Oh well, they could be Arkansas.
10. Texas A&M (2-2, lost to Alabama 45-23)
It wasn’t a big surprise that the Aggies were outclassed in this one. They probably played a bit over their heads to remain competitive with Clemson. But on the bright side, while this year’s A&M team might have a similar record to last year’s team, the future feels much brighter. They have an identity moving forward with Kellen Mond, and will probably upset somebody in the West they shouldn’t beat… it just wasn’t this week.
9. Florida (3-1, beat Tennessee 47-21)
Florida is young and inconsistent, which means when things go wrong, they lose at home to Kentucky. When things go right, they’re pretty darn good. Things went right this week.
8. Missouri (3-1, lost to Georgia 43-29)
Special teams really hurt Missouri in this game. Their defense was good enough to at least slow Georgia, if not grind them to a halt. Their offense was spotty, but the ground game was better than expected. Missouri is still very much in the hunt for being the second-best team in the East, but there’s still a lot of reason for concern.
7. South Carolina (2-1, beat Vanderbilt 37-14)
Carolina had a solid but unglamorous road win this week. They took what the Commodores’ defense allowed, and put together the kind of balanced attack that will keep them competitive for the second spot in the East. They’re still at least a season away from being a Top 25 kind of team, but in the meanwhile, they’re going to win the games they should and won’t beat themselves in the toss-up games.
6. Mississippi State (3-1, lost to Kentucky 28-7)
It’s hard to figure this team out. Either they’re crushing people or they’re getting boatraced in Lexington by Kentucky. This is the struggle of cohesion between new coach Joe Moorhead and a team that should run and run and run again. They’ll figure it out, but this one hurts.
5. Auburn (3-1, beat Arkansas 34-3)
The Tigers weren’t entirely focused, and after the schedule they played in the first three games, that’s understandable. In the same way that Missouri and Ole Miss aren’t great teams, but are very watchable, Auburn is kind of hard to watch right now. They just feel like they’re better than what they’ve shown. But until they prove it …
4. LSU (4-0, beat Louisiana Tech 38-21)
So we’ve kept the Tigers down the rankings a bit because they don’t win pretty. Nothing has changed. Still, most figured they’d be 2-2 right now, or an optimist probably would have taken 3-1. Sometimes the best team isn’t the one that makes it happen in an aesthetically pleasing manner. But how long can this last?
3. Kentucky (4-0, beat Mississippi State, 28-7)
Sure, there were snide comments when someone (ahem) suggested that Kentucky could be the third-best team in the SEC. And they probably won’t be … but here’s the thing: Right now, they are. They’re unbeaten and they’ve imposed their will on two other decent SEC football teams. So they can stay here until somebody shows otherwise.
2. Georgia (4-0, beat Missouri 43-29)
The Bulldogs looked relatively human in outgaining Mizzou by a pedestrian 445-393 margin. This is one of those games that will give Kirby Smart some things to get angry about in a film session. Which is good, because right now, the gap between Alabama and Georgia looks about as big as the gap between Georgia and everybody below them.
1. Alabama (4-0, beat Texas A&M 45-23)
See what you did, Clemson. You went and showed Nick Saban that you can combine a hard-hitting ground game and aggressive physical defense AND a finely skilled quarterback. This story doesn’t end well, at least not for you.