SEC Power Rankings: Ranking every team after Week 3
We had ourselves a crazy weekend in the SEC. Alabama barely escaped at Florida. Mississippi State got hosed in Memphis. Auburn gave Penn State all it could handle.
Then, there were the expected results — Georgia and Texas A&M rode dominant defensive performances to easy wins. Mizzou, Tennessee and Kentucky beat FCS foes (though the Wildcats made it interesting).
So, how does that shake up our power rankings as we head into Week 4?
Here’s where we rank every SEC squad following Week 3 action:
14. Vanderbilt (1-2)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: 41-23 L to Stanford
Next week: vs. Georgia (3-0)
The Commodores picked up a nice win at Colorado State last week, but now it seems like the Rams might be a bigger mess than the Commodores. Vanderbilt was outclassed by Stanford in Nashville on Saturday night. The defense played well at times and the offense made the occasional nice play, but Clark Lea’s squad is a long way away from playing 60 minutes of winning football. And, now, they have to face a dominant Georgia defense this coming weekend.
13. South Carolina (2-1)
Previous ranking: 12
This week: 40-13 L to Georgia
Next week: vs. Kentucky (3-0)
Based on how much South Carolina struggled at East Carolina last week, it is no surprise the Gamecocks were blown out by Georgia. Georgia is elite. South Carolina isn’t close to being on that level. Shane Beamer is already doing some good things with this program, but it’s going to take a couple of years before South Carolina can realistically get the players necessary to hang with the Bulldogs.
12. Tennessee (2-1)
Previous ranking: 13
This week: 56-0 W vs. Tennessee Tech
Next week: at Florida (2-1)
Hendon Hooker made some good plays and looked like a guy who made a good case to be QB1 moving forward. We’ll have to see what Joe Milton’s health situation is this coming week, but even if he’s good to go, it wouldn’t be stunning to see Hooker get the start in The Swamp on Saturday. This week’s 56-0 win was a big one for the defense and the Vols’ confidence on that side of the ball.
11. Mississippi State (2-1)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: 31-29 L to Memphis
Next week: vs. LSU (2-1)
Yes, the refs absolutely hosed the Bulldogs in Memphis on Saturday. To add insult to injury, it was an SEC crew doing the hosing. Even so, the Bulldogs still made it close, coming up just short in a 31-29 loss. This is a team that can absolutely give LSU fits next weekend. Could Mississippi State win 2 in a row against the Tigers? It’s certainly possible.
10. Mizzou (2-1)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: 59-28 W over SEMO
Next week: at Boston College (3-0)
Mizzou was up 38-0 at halftime before pulling its starters. Tyler Badie is still a star. Connor Bazelak was solid throwing the ball. The defense gained some much-needed confidence. This was exactly what you want from a game against an FCS foe. Now, the real work begins again, as the Tigers head east to take on Boston College next weekend. The Eagles are 3-0, but those wins are against FCS Colgate and bad UMass and Temple squads. We’ll find out if Mizzou or Boston College is the more legit team this coming weekend!
9. LSU (2-1)
Previous ranking: 9
This week: 49-21 W over Central Michigan
Next week: at Mississippi State (2-1)
Max Johnson and the LSU passing game are elite. The running game is terrible. The defense? Meh. Can this team hang in the SEC West? We’re going to learn a lot about Ed Orgeron’s squad next weekend in Starkville. That’s going to be a raucous environment against a team that handed the Tigers a loss in 2020. Win that game, and this season can still be a good one. Lose, and Coach O’s seat will get hotter.
8. Kentucky (3-0)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: 28-23 W over Chattanooga
Next week: at South Carolina (2-1)
Yeah … that wasn’t a confidence-inspiring home win for Mark Stoops’ squad. The Wildcats struggled mightily with Chattanooga, an FCS squad. They were lucky to escape with a 5-point win. Was this a case of the Wildcats simply overlooking the Mocs? Or, was it a sign of serious problems moving forward? We’ll find out this weekend, when the Wildcats take their first road trip to play the Gamecocks. This is a game Kentucky should win. Will they bounce back?
7. Auburn (2-1)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: 28-20 L to No. 10 Penn State
Next week: vs. Georgia State (1-2)
I’m bumping Auburn up a spot here for having the guts to go into one of the toughest road environments in all of college football. And the Tigers hung tough! There was a bad 4th-and-goal play call that doomed them late in the fourth quarter, but to leave Happy Valley with a one-score loss is nothing to hang your head about. This is a good football team, and they’re going to surprise some people in SEC play in a couple of weeks.
6. Arkansas (3-0)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: 45-10 W over Georgia Southern
Next week: vs. Texas A&M (3-0) in Dallas
The Razorbacks continue to impress. They have one of the SEC’s best nonconference wins of the year over Texas, and KJ Jefferson continues to improve. However, the Hogs — who have the toughest schedule in football — have another big-time game this week. They’ll head to Arlington to take on the undefeated Texas A&M Aggies. That rivalry game always gets weird, so we’ll see if the Hogs can keep handing losses to the Lone Star State.
5. Ole Miss (3-0)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: 61-21 W over Tulane
Next week: OFF
Another week, another Ole Miss offensive explosion. The difference this year? The defense is slightly better than it was last year. Even that slight improvement is enough to make this year’s Rebel squad much more formidable. Now, the Rebels get a week off to prepare for No. 1 Alabama. That’s going to be a fun game in Tuscaloosa!
4. Florida (2-1)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: 31-29 L vs. No. 1 Alabama
Next week: vs. Tennessee (2-1)
I’m not going to punish the Gators too much for a 2-point loss to the No. 1 team in the country. As much as anyone can these days, Dan Mullen seems to be able to hang with Nick Saban. The Gators were right in the mix until a bad 2-point conversion attempt ended the comeback try. And that was without Anthony Richardson playing at all. This is a good Florida team, and the Gators will have a chance to prove that against Tennessee next weekend.
3. Texas A&M
Previous ranking: 4
This week: 34-0 W over New Mexico
Next week: vs. Arkansas (3-0) in Dallas
Jimbo Fisher wasn’t too happy after the game, but this defense is one of the best in the country. New Mexico isn’t an SEC team, of course, but the Lobos are a legitimate football team, led by former Kentucky QB Terry Wilson, and the Aggies dominated on both sides of the ball. If Moose Muhammad III and Demond Demas can continue to make big plays, that’s huge for the A&M offense moving forward.
2. Georgia (3-0)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: 40-13 W over South Carolina
Next week: at Vanderbilt (1-2)
Poor Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs are an insanely talented team on defense. This is perhaps the best defense in the country, and the Commodores are going to struggle to score any points at all next weekend. Just listen to Shane Beamer describe what hit him and his team this week:
Beamer… postgame. pic.twitter.com/dvNBrRUAdT
— Mike Gillespie (@MikeABCColumbia) September 19, 2021
We feel you, Shane. It can’t be easy to go up against this incredible defense.
1. Alabama (3-0)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: 31-29 W over No. 11 Florida
Next week: vs. Southern Miss (1-2)
There’s a little bit too much “Alabama showed its flaws” talk for me after the win at Florida. Hey, I don’t know if you know this, but it’s really hard to win in The Swamp. No, it wasn’t pretty, but the Crimson Tide won. They get the W. Not the Gators. That’s what Nick Saban teams do. And, Saban will be thrilled. Now, he gets to hammer his team for thinking they were all that. He’ll be harping on this narrow win all week. Yes, Alabama showed it isn’t perfect. But you know what? Saban will get this all fixed and Alabama will be much better for having been tested like this. I wouldn’t want to be Southern Miss right about now.