SEC Power Rankings: Ranking every SEC team after Week 3
Why is college football the best? On any given week, there’s no telling what you might see.
You might see Vanderbilt’s true freshman QB, AJ Swann, light it up in a road game. You might see Alabama and Tennessee light up the scoreboard. You might see Auburn struggle at home. You might see Georgia look like a reigning champion and Arkansas struggle to beat an FCS squad.
You just never know what will happen. Heck, Ole Miss won 42-0 in a true road game in Atlanta on Saturday.
So, what should we make of all this craziness around the SEC? Here are our updated SEC power rankings through 3 weeks of the 2022 season:
14. South Carolina (1-2)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: 48-7 L to No. 1 Georgia
This team is seriously banged up. The defense is a shell of itself and a couple of key guys are out for the year. The Gamecocks couldn’t move the ball much at all this week against Georgia. Yes, they scored the first touchdown against the Bulldogs this year, but it came deep in the fourth quarter. Until this team gets healthier, it is showing it can’t compete with better teams in the SEC.
13. Mizzou (2-1)
Previous ranking: 13
This week: 34-17 W over Abilene Christian
I liked the game plan to get the ball in Luther Burden’s hands. Seems like that should be the plan every single week for this team. The offensive line, a unit I thought would be much better this year, struggled once again. As things stand right now, this doesn’t look like a squad that can go into Jordan-Hare Stadium next weekend and win in a tough environment.
12. Auburn (2-1)
Previous ranking: 12
This week: 41-12 L to No. 22 Penn State
The quarterback situation continues to be a problem. Bryan Harsin and the Auburn offense dialing up only 9 carries for Tank Bigsby (and only 5 for Jarquez Hunter) is criminal. The defense got torn apart by the Penn State run game after a strong first half. Harsin is on a very hot seat moving forward, and that’s not a good place to be with SEC play starting next weekend.
11. Vanderbilt (3-1)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: 38-28 W over Northern Illinois
The Commodores already have 3 wins, more than they had all of last year. AJ Swann, a freshman quarterback, was electric on the road at Northern Illinois. There’s a lot to like about this offense, which dug Vanderbilt out of a 28-14 hole, scoring the last 24 points of the game. Now the tough part of the schedule begins, as Vanderbilt hasn’t won an SEC game in 2 years. We’ll see if that changes this fall.
10. Florida (2-1)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: 31-28 W over USF
If the Bulls didn’t horribly botch a snap in the final minute of the game on Saturday night, they likely would have at least taken the Gators to overtime. Instead, Florida escaped with a win, but there are real concerns about the play of QB Anthony Richardson. He hasn’t looked nearly as dynamic the past 2 weeks as he did in the season opener against Utah. The Gators now face a tough test as they head to Rocky Top to take on a red-hot Vols team.
9. Mississippi State (2-1)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: 31-16 L to LSU
This was a major step back for a team many thought was being disrespected by its exclusion from the AP Poll. However, this was a major step back for the Bulldogs. The offensive line couldn’t hold up against the LSU pass rush. Will Rogers was off-target on several key passes. A muffed punt was a killer. Another missed extra point surely drove Mike Leach crazy. This team has a lot to fix moving forward.
8. LSU (2-1)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: 31-16 W over Mississippi State
LSU is quickly figuring things out on both sides of the ball. Malik Nabers was magnificent on offense, catching 6 passes for 76 yards. Every one of those catches was an important one. Jayden Daniels continues to be a dual threat, running for 93 yards in the win. But, the defense was the star of the show. The Tigers slowed down a high-octane Air Raid offense led by Will Rogers, holding the Bulldogs to only 16 points. That’s a great sign moving forward.
7. Texas A&M (2-1)
Previous ranking: 9
This week: 17-9 W over No. 13 Miami
Are there questions on offense still, even with the change to Max Johnson at QB? Yes, absolutely. But this defense is elite. Even missing 2 5-star freshmen on that side of the ball and even after 2 DBs were ejected for targeting, the Aggies’ defense was incredible against a ranked Miami squad. When you have Devon Achane at running back and an elite defense, it’s a recipe that can lead to a lot of wins.
6. Arkansas (3-0)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: 38-27 W over Missouri State
Kudos to the Hogs for avoiding a historic upset on Saturday, but it’s not a great sign that they needed a double-digit fourth quarter comeback to beat an FCS opponent. Bobby Petrino’s Missouri State team put fear in the Hogs, who might have gotten caught looking ahead to Texas A&M next weekend. We’ll find out then if the struggles against Missouri State were a blip on the radar or a legitimate cause for concern when they take on the Aggies in Arlington.
5. Ole Miss (3-0)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: 42-0 W over Georgia Tech
The Rebels went to Atlanta, a true Power 5 road game, and absolutely embarrassed Georgia Tech. It was the eighth straight foe the Rebels have held to 21 points or fewer. This team has suddenly morphed from a pass-happy, no-defense squad to a team with an elite running game and strong defense. Lane Kiffin deserves a ton of credit for the way he reshaped this roster. Yes, there are still questions at quarterback, but with the other facets of the game playing at a high level, Jaxson Dart and Luke Altmyer have time to improve.
4. Kentucky (3-0)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: 31-0 W over Youngstown State
Yes, it was only against an FCS opponent in Youngstown State, but the defense recording a shutout is a big momentum builder moving forward. Dane Key has been a star at wide receiver for the Wildcats thus far. There are still some concerns about the offensive inconsistency, but overall, this was another impressive effort for Kentucky.
3. Tennessee (3-0)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: 63-6 W over Akron
Another week, another dominant performance by the Vols’ offense. Hendon Hooker threw for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns. Joe Milton threw for 112 yards and 2 scores. Jalin Hyatt had 5 catches for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Everything the Vols tried worked. Now, we’ll see if they can make a statement to start SEC play next week when Florida comes to town.
2. Alabama (3-0)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: 63-7 W over Louisiana-Monroe
Alabama got back on track on Saturday, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in a blowout against Louisiana-Monroe. No, the WarHawks weren’t elite competition for the Tide, but this was a big-time get-right game for Nick Saban’s squad. Now, they have confidence heading into the start of SEC play next weekend.
1. Georgia (3-0)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: 48-7 W over South Carolina
Well, the defense finally gave up a touchdown, but none of the starters were anywhere near the game when the Gamecocks finally found pay dirt. The defense confused South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler all day long. Meanwhile, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett IV looked like the Heisman Trophy frontrunner with another outstanding effort. It’s going to be tough for anyone to beat the Dawgs this year.