SEC Power Rankings: Ranking every team after Week 2
Outside of Texas-Arkansas and Mizzou-Kentucky, the Week 2 slate of SEC games looked pretty dull, right?
Well, both of those games lived up to expectations, and there were some other exciting matchups around the league, too. It turned out to be a busy week for all 14 teams!
So, where do things stand now that we have another week in the books? Here’s how our power rankings look as we get ready for Week 3 action:
14. Vanderbilt (1-1)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: 24-21 W over Colorado State
Next week: vs. Stanford (1-1)
Vanderbilt is not a good football team. After losing to ETSU at home last week, the fact that the Commodores traveled west and rallied for a win was a big step forward. But it wasn’t enough to move them out of the cellar in my rankings. I predict the Commodores are going to have some trouble against Stanford next weekend.
13. Tennessee (1-1)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: 41-34 L to Pitt
Next week: vs. Tennessee Tech (0-2)
The Vols are an absolute disaster at the quarterback position. Joe Milton III has never met a receiver he can’t overthrow, while Hendon Hooker made too many mistakes on Saturday to lead a Tennessee comeback. If the Vols can’t figure out the most important position on the field, it’s going to lead to more close losses moving forward. At least the defense showed some flashes of solid play before they got too worn out from being on the field too much. Typical of a Josh Heupel team.
12. South Carolina (2-0)
Previous ranking: 12
This week: 20-17 W over East Carolina
Next week: at Georgia (2-0)
Credit to the Gamecocks for picking up the road win at East Carolina. But forgive me if I’m not going to bump them up a spot for struggling to beat a middle-of-the-road Group of 5 squad. This could have very easily been a loss for Shane Beamer’s crew. So, again, credit to the Gamecocks and K Parker White for pulling out the win, but let’s just say I don’t think they’re going to upset Georgia next week in Sanford Stadium playing like they played Saturday.
11. Mizzou (1-1)
Previous ranking: 9
This week: 35-28 L to Kentucky
Next week: vs. Southeast Missouri (0-2)
The Tigers fought hard in a hostile environment in Lexington, only losing to Kentucky by 1 touchdown. But they don’t give out moral victories in the SEC. The Tigers have to figure out how to stop the run. And, they have to figure out a way to be more dynamic on offense (for players other than Tyler Badie, anyway). A big Week 4 game at Boston College looms large. Win that one and the season is back on track. Lose, and it could turn into a long year.
10. Mississippi State (2-0)
Previous ranking: 13
This week: 24-10 W over NC State
Next week: at Memphis (2-0)
I underestimated Mississippi State’s defense this year. I’ll admit it. I didn’t think the Bulldogs would be that good on that side of the ball. After holding NC State to only 10 points in a solid Power 5 win, I’m a believer. The road trip to Memphis next week will be tough, but the Bulldogs are trending up. We’ll see if they can keep the good times going against a solid Group of 5 team Saturday.
9. LSU (1-1)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: 34-7 W over McNeese State
Next week: vs. Central Michigan (1-1)
Yes, I realize the Tigers won this week. I just liked what I saw from a couple of other teams more. Thus, LSU gets bumped down until it gets back to playing Power 5 competition. A game against Central Michigan next weekend won’t do much to move the needle for me. I’m in a holding pattern with the Tigers until a Week 4 road trip to Mississippi State. We’ll see what LSU does in that SEC opener.
8. Auburn (2-0)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: 62-0 W over Alabama State
Next week: at Penn State (2-0)
Auburn looks good. The caveat? The Tigers have dominated lowly Akron and FCS Alabama State to the tune of a 122-10 combined score. Those aren’t exactly quality opponents. Well, that changes next weekend when Bryan Harsin takes the Tigers up to State College to take on a ranked Penn State team. The Nittany Lions will have their “White Out” game on Saturday night. College GameDay will be there, too. That’s the big time. We’ll learn a lot about Auburn in that one.
7. Arkansas (2-0)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: 40-21 W over No. 15 Texas
Next week: vs. Georgia Southern (1-1)
Y’all, I made a classic mistake. I bought into the Texas hype. Bijan Robinson. Steve Sarkisian. I didn’t think there was any way Arkansas would win. Well, that proved to be embarrassing for me. Arkansas not only won, it dominated Texas. The Hogs racked up an incredible 333 rushing yards en route to a blowout win. The passing game still has a long way to go, but the defense and running game are legit. This team should enter a Week 4 showdown against Texas A&M with a 3-0 record. That’s going to be a fun one in Dallas!
6. Kentucky (2-0)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: 35-28 W over Mizzou
Next week: vs. Chattanooga (1-1)
I want to move Kentucky up in the rankings, but I can’t because the top 5 teams all took care of business this week, too. The running game kept the Wildcats ahead on the scoreboard for most of the night, and it should continue to look good. Wan’Dale Robinson is an absolute star in the passing game. The Wildcats should take care of business this coming weekend against the Mocs and in Week 4 at South Carolina. That could theoretically set up a huge matchup against Florida in Lexington in Week 5. We’ll see if Mark Stoops and company can keep their eyes on the prize until then!
5. Ole Miss (2-0)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: 54-17 W over Austin Peay
Next week: vs. Tulane (1-1)
Matt Corral for Heisman? It’s not totally crazy at this point. In a tune-up game against Austin Peay, Corral was amazing, throwing for 285 yards and 5 touchdowns (and 0 picks). Tougher tests await, but he should be able to stuff the stat sheet against Tulane again next weekend. However, the Green Wave are a tough team. Remember, they only lost 40-35 at Oklahoma in Week 1. Can the Rebels’ defense do enough to avoid an upset?
4. Texas A&M (2-0)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: 10-7 W over Colorado
Next week: vs. New Mexico (2-0)
Yikes. That was a close call. The Aggies went to Denver and struggled their way to a 10-7 win over Colorado. And they lost starting QB Haynes King to injury. The defense saved the day, keeping things close until backup QB Zach Calzada led the Aggies on a clutch fourth-quarter scoring drive. If Calzada can’t move the ball a little more efficiently moving forward, though, a Week 4 neutral-site game against Arkansas could end up being a problem.
3. Florida (2-0)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: 42-20 W over USF
Next week: vs. Alabama (2-0)
The Gators will face a team from outside of Florida for the first time this season when No. 1 Alabama comes to The Swamp on Saturday night. Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson both continue to make big plays as quarterback for the Gators, but Richardson suffered a hamstring injury late against USF. If he’s not at full strength, I don’t see the Gators pulling off the upset this coming weekend.
2. Georgia (2-0)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: 56-7 W over UAB
Next week: vs. South Carolina (2-0)
Stetson Bennett IV stepped in for an injured JT Daniels and threw for an incredible 5 touchdowns against UAB. Daniels is still the starter moving forward, one would assume. Meanwhile, the receiving corps is getting healthier and the defense is still one of the (if not the) best in the country. This Georgia team is going to be tough to beat moving forward.
1. Alabama (2-0)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: 48-14 W over Mercer
Next week: at Florida (2-0)
The Tide remain the No. 1 team in the SEC, but the Bulldogs have certainly closed the gap a bit after a dominant performance. I’m a bit concerned by the injuries on defense. Christopher Allen is already out for the year, Henry To’o To’o played through an elbow injury and Will Anderson left Saturday’s win with a knee injury. It’s reportedly not expected to be serious, but I still wonder how a less-than-100% Tide team will fare at The Swamp next weekend.