SEC Power Rankings: Ranking every team after Week 1
College football is back, and so is the SEC! The league went 11-2 in Saturday’s action, with a couple of big wins and a couple of inexplicable losses.
Ole Miss will finish up the weekend’s action on Monday night against Louisville on Monday night, but for now, we’ve got some power rankings to attend to!
Here’s a look at how the Week 1 action affected our power rankings as we prepare for another week of SEC action:
14. Vanderbilt (0-1)
Previous ranking: 14
Last week: 23-3 loss to ETSU
This week: at Colorado State (0-1)
Can this team be relegated? When you lose at home to an FCS program in blowout fashion? Well, not even Kansas does that (very often). The Clark Lea era is off to a rough start, and with a trip to Colorado State looming large this weekend, the Commodores are suddenly staring 0-12 in the face. Yikes.
13. Mississippi State (1-0)
Previous ranking: 12
Last week: 35-34 W over Louisiana Tech
This week: vs. NC State (1-0)
The Bulldogs got off to a hot start, but then struggled mightily and needed a missed (or partially blocked) field goal to hold off Louisiana Tech at the buzzer. Louisiana Tech is a solid team, but this is still a concerning sign for Mike Leach’s squad starting his second year in Starkville. We’ll see how this team looks against its first Power 5 foe this week.
12. South Carolina (1-0)
Previous ranking: 13
Last week: 46-0 W vs. Eastern Illinois
This week: at East Carolina (0-1)
The Shane Beamer era got off to a hot start, albeit against an FCS foe. QB Zeb Noland looked great at times, but it remains to be seen if he’ll start against East Carolina this week or if Luke Doty is back from injury. Either way, this is a sneaky matchup for the Gamecocks. They’ll have to be strong from the opening kickoff to avoid an upset.
11. Arkansas (1-0)
Previous ranking: 10
Last week: 38-17 W over Rice
This week: vs. No. 21 Texas
The Hogs actually trailed Rice at halftime before getting it together and picking up the win. But that’s not a good sign as a big showdown with Texas looms this coming weekend. Plus, the Hogs will be without LB Bumper Pool for the first half of this week’s game after he was ejected for targeting against Rice. Things could get ugly if QB KJ Jefferson doesn’t look more consistent.
Previous ranking: 11
Last week: 38-6 W over Bowling Green
This week: vs. Pitt (1-0)
Joe Milton III was up and down in his debut as the Vols’ quarterback, but he showed flashes of brilliance and a cannon for a right arm. Now, we’ll see if he can take a step forward against a step up in competition when the Panthers visit Rocky Top for the Johnny Majors Classic this weekend. The defense will also need to play a bit better against Power 5 competition, but there were plenty of things to be encouraged by in Josh Heupel’s Tennessee coaching debut.
9. Mizzou (1-0)
Previous ranking: 7
Last week: 34-24 W over Central Michigan
This week: at Kentucky (1-0)
The Tigers won, yes, but the defense looked like it hadn’t practiced tackling all offseason. That’s, uh … well, that’s going to be a problem with a trip to Lexington looming large next weekend. Chris Rodriguez Jr. and that Kentucky offensive line are going to feast if the Tigers don’t step up defensively. Meanwhile, the offense needs to be much better on third down or the Tigers are going to be 1-1 this time next week.
8. Auburn (1-0)
Previous ranking: 9
Last week: 60-10 W over Akron
This week: vs. Alabama State (1-0)
Akron wasn’t good last year, but this was still a great win for Bryan Harsin in his debut at the helm of the Auburn program. QB Bo Nix and RB Tank Bigsby were great and the defense played really well with the starters in the game. This week’s game against Alabama State should be another easy win before the Tigers head to Penn State in Week 3.
7. LSU (0-1)
Previous ranking: 4
Last week: 38-27 loss to UCLA
This week: vs. McNeese (0-1)
LSU’s lack of a running game is going to be a problem moving forward. Yes, the Tigers had to relocate to Houston due to Hurricane Ida, and yes, the game was a true road game in Los Angeles, but the Tigers looked overmatched by Chip Kelly and UCLA. WR Kayshon Boutte is a stud, but the rest of this team needs to step up in a hurry.
6. Kentucky (1-0)
Previous ranking: 8
Last week: 45-10 W over Louisiana-Monroe
This week: vs. Mizzou (1-0)
OK, first, let’s add a caveat. Louisiana-Monroe went 0-10 last year and never once held a lead in any of those 10 games. So, let’s temper our excitement, Kentucky fans. But the Wildcats did look good. They’ve discovered the forward pass under new OC Liam Coen. QB Will Levis looks like the real deal, as does WR Wan’Dale Robinson. And RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. and the offensive line are still solid. As mentioned earlier in the Mizzou section, the Tigers look hapless against the run. Expect big things from Rodriguez this week.
5. Ole Miss (0-0)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: vs. Louisville (in Atlanta)
The Rebels jump a spot in the rankings and they haven’t even played a game yet! They’ll take on Louisville in Atlanta to finish off Week 1 on Monday night. But they’ll do so without head coach Lane Kiffin, who tested positive for COVID-19. Still, the offense should have plenty of firepower to put up points against the Cardinals. The question? Can the defense make enough stops for Ole Miss to win?
4. Florida (1-0)
Previous ranking: 5
Last week: 35-14 W over FAU
This week: at USF (0-1)
Florida took care of business against the Owls, but it’s already worth asking if there’s a QB battle brewing. Emory Jones was fine, but Anthony Richardson arguably looked a lot better on Saturday night in The Swamp. This week against a USF team that looked bad in Week 1 should shed a lot of light on which QB will be better for the Gators with a Week 3 home game against No. 1 Alabama looming large.
3. Texas A&M (1-0)
Previous ranking: 3
Last week: 41-10 W over Kent State
This week: at Colorado (1-0)
Haynes King had a decent debut as the Aggies’ quarterback, but he’ll need to be much better in Denver next weekend. It’s technically a “neutral-site” game against the Buffaloes, but it’s in Colorado’s backyard. The Aggies’ defense and running game is as-advertised, though, so that’s a great sign for Jimbo Fisher’s squad moving forward.
2. Georgia (1-0)
Previous ranking: 2
Last week: 10-3 W over No. 3 Clemson
This week: vs. UAB (1-0)
Georgia’s defense absolutely owned No. 3 Clemson in Charlotte on Saturday night. The Bulldogs’ offense? Meh, not so much. JT Daniels and Co. have some work to do. The defense is going to be able to hang with anyone this year, though (with the possible exception of Alabama). Speaking of the Crimson Tide …
1. Alabama (1-0)
Previous ranking: 1
Last week: 44-13 W over No. 14 Miami
Next week: vs. Mercer (1-0)
What is there to say about Alabama? The Crimson Tide lost 3 of the top-5 Heisman vote-getters in WR (and winner) DeVonta Smith, QB Mac Jones and RB Najee Harris. Not to mention WR Jaylen Waddle and OL Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson. No matter. The Tide rolled to a 44-13 win over a ranked Miami squad. I already feel sorry for Mercer.