SEC Power Rankings: Ranking every SEC team after Week 11
The SEC is wild. The SEC is unpredictable. The SEC is exhilarating. This SEC is infuriating.
But the one thing you can never say is that the SEC is boring. Week 11 proved that point once again. Vanderbilt earned its first SEC victory of the 2020s. LSU squeaked out a road win at Arkansas. Tennessee won by 42 points over Mizzou despite leading by only 4 early in the third quarter. Alabama got back on track. Georgia looked dominant again.
So how did the wild Week 11 shake up this week’s power rankings? Let’s take a look at where each team stands entering Week 12:
14. Texas A&M (3-7 overall, 1-6 in SEC)
Previous ranking: 12
This week: 13-10 L to Auburn
Wow. I did not expect to see the Aggies in the last spot in my rankings heading into the season, but here we are. Texas A&M will not go bowling. Jimbo Fisher’s program is an absolute mess with injuries, illnesses and suspensions that may or may not be suspensions. What a disaster this year has turned into. Any coach without an $85 million buyout would have been shown the door by now. Even that massive number may not be enough to stop the deep-pocketed Aggie boosters from getting rid of Fisher.
13. Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: 24-21 W over No. 24 Kentucky
What a win for the Commodores! Vanderbilt has now won its first SEC game of the 2020s with some late heroics in Lexington. Clark Lea has this program playing some decent football lately. Finishing the year with home games against Florida and Tennessee won’t be easy, but if the Commodores can at least keep things competitive against the Gators, it will be something to build on heading into 2023.
12. Auburn (4-6, 2-5)
Previous ranking: 13
This week: 13-10 W over Texas A&M
The Tigers are certainly playing hard for interim coach Cadillac Williams! Notice that I didn’t say they were playing “well,” just hard. They managed to outlast Texas A&M in one of the ugliest SEC games of the year on Saturday night in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Jordan-Hare magic used to be reserved for crazy wins over Alabama and Georgia. Now it’s being used to avoid embarrassment against Texas A&M and Mizzou. Whoever the Tigers hire as their next head coach will need to restore the prestige to this program. But for now, they’ll take this win and celebrate with their popular interim coach.
11. South Carolina (6-4, 3-4)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: 38-6 L to Florida
The Gamecocks don’t seem to have much of a plan on offense. Spencer Rattler has been awful and should probably come back to school for another year to improve his NFL Draft stock (or whatever’s left of it). The Gamecocks’ 3 SEC wins came against Kentucky without Will Levis, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. Brutal. The special teams units play well, but that’s about the only positive in South Carolina these days.
10. Mizzou (4-6, 2-5)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: 66-24 L to No. 5 Tennessee
The Tigers had this game narrowed to 28-24 early in the third quarter. As you can see, the final score was much, much worse. It was an awful finish to the game for the Tigers, who continue to disappoint under Eli Drinkwitz. The offense looks lost at times. The defense collapsed down the stretch. We’ll see if the Tigers can beat New Mexico State and Arkansas to reach bowl eligibility, but it’ll take a better effort than we saw on Saturday.
9. Kentucky (6-4, 3-4)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: 24-21 L to Vanderbilt
Yikes. That was perhaps the worst loss for Kentucky in the last few years of the Mark Stoops era. Even a great effort from RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. wasn’t enough to stop Vanderbilt from earning its first SEC victory since 2019. The offensive line is a major weak spot. Will Levis is banged up, and it’s only going to get worse if this offensive line can’t keep him upright more often.
8. Arkansas (5-5, 2-4)
Previous ranking: 9
This week: 13-10 L to No. 7 LSU
The Arkansas defense, a much-maligned unit this year, showed a ton of heart in keeping things close against a tough LSU squad. But without KJ Jefferson, the offense couldn’t do enough to give the Razorbacks the upset win. Still, holding the Tigers to 13 points bodes well for when this team is at full strength. The Hogs get Ole Miss at home next week and Mizzou in Columbia to close the regular season to try to get that elusive sixth win.
7. Mississippi State (6-4, 3-4)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: 45-19 L to No. 1 Georgia
The Bulldogs actually hung around with Georgia for a half, using a big punt-return touchdown just before the intermission to stay in the game. But Georgia pulled away in the second half, outlasting the Bulldogs. This is a team that beats inferior opponents and loses to better foes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s probably safe to say that expectations were higher at this point in Mike Leach’s tenure.
6. Florida (6-4, 3-4)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: 38-6 W over South Carolina
I guess the Gators deserve the No. 6 spot this week. The top 5 are clear. The bottom 5 are clear. The middle 4 are a crapshoot. Anthony Richardson and Trevor Etienne are elite offensive players. Ventrell Miller is a stud on defense. The Gators have been up and down a bit this year, but it’s still a team no one wants to see on its upcoming schedule.
5. Ole Miss (8-2, 5-2)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: 30-24 L to No. 9 Alabama
Yes, Ole Miss now has 2 losses this season, but those losses were to Alabama and LSU, so I’m not going to move the Rebels any lower than No. 5 in these rankings. Quinshon Judkins is an absolute superstar and Jaxson Dart has gotten much better as the season has gone on. This is still a very dangerous team that I would pick to beat any team previously mentioned on this list.
4. Alabama (8-2, 5-2)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: 30-24 W over No. 11 Ole Miss
Bryce Young did Bryce Young things, guiding the Tide to a tough road victory. The defense made enough plays when it mattered most, including a nice stop by Brian Branch on Ole Miss’s final offensive play of the game. Nick Saban avoids his first 3-loss regular season since 2010. Alabama keeps its hopes for a New Year’s 6 bowl game alive. We’ll see what happens in these final 2 games, including the Iron Bowl during Rivalry Week.
3. LSU (8-2, 6-1)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: 13-10 W over Arkansas
Was it pretty? Absolutely not. Is a win a win in the SEC? Absolutely, it is. The Tigers were off on offense all day long against the Razorbacks, but still did enough to earn a 13-10 win and, with the help of Alabama later in the day, clinch a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. Harold Perkins is quickly becoming a household name. Arkansas’s offense had no answer for him. What a coaching job by Brian Kelly in Year 1 in Baton Rouge.
2. Tennessee (9-1, 5-1)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: 66-24 W over Mizzou
There were some concerns early in the third quarter when Mizzou cut the Vols’ lead to 28-24. But obviously those concerns were unfounded, as the Vols reeled off 38 unanswered points to earn a lopsided 66-24 victory. It was a statement win for Tennessee, sending a message to the College Football Playoff committee. We’ll see if they can keep it rolling on the road the next 2 weeks to end the regular season at South Carolina and at Vanderbilt.
1. Georgia (10-0, 7-0)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: 45-19 W over Mississippi State
The Bulldogs cruised to another big win. It wasn’t easy at times, but life on the road in the SEC is rarely easy. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett looked like a Heisman contender guiding the Dawgs to a comfortable victory with a strong second half, though. It’s tough to imagine this team losing to either Kentucky or Georgia Tech to close out the regular season. The Bulldogs are heading to Atlanta to take on LSU in the SEC Championship Game!