SEC Power Rankings: Ranking every team after Week 4
What a week in the SEC. Arkansas snapped a 9-game losing streak to rival Texas A&M. Georgia put a 62-0 beatdown on Vanderbilt. Auburn barely escaped against Georgia State.
Yes, it was an exciting week, and one that, outside of the bottom 2 teams and the top 2 teams, led to quite a bit of change in the power rankings.
Week 5 will be huge, with LSU-Auburn, Florida-Kentucky, Arkansas-Georgia and, of course, Ole Miss-Alabama.
But, before we look ahead to next week, here’s how we rank all 14 SEC squads following Week 4:
14. Vanderbilt (1-3)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: 62-0 L to No. 2 Georgia
Next week: vs. UConn (0-5)
Yeah, Georgia is an elite team, perhaps the best in the country (more on that later). But, c’mon, Vandy. At least show a semblance of a fight, you know? Losing 62-0 is flat-out embarrassing. But, hey! UConn visits Nashville next weekend. That could very well be win No. 2 for Clark Lea’s team. I hope I can watch all 60 minutes of what is sure to be a truly awful football game.
13. South Carolina (2-2)
Previous ranking: 13
This week: 16-10 L to Kentucky
Next week: vs. Troy (2-2)
Kentucky tried to gift this game to the Gamecocks, turning the ball over 3 times (2 fumbles, 1 interception). But South Carolina couldn’t take advantage. Kentucky’s defense didn’t force any turnovers but did keep the Gamecocks from converting any of their 3 4th-down tries. This South Carolina team is feisty, but it still has a long way to go to be a player in the SEC.
12. Mississippi State (2-2)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: 28-25 L to LSU
Next week: at Texas A&M (3-1)
If you look at the box score, there’s nothing Mississippi State did that screams that it should have lost to LSU on Saturday. Other than losing the turnover battle 2-1, the Bulldogs won time of possession, outgained the Tigers 486-343 and converted 12-of-18 3rd downs. But they ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard again. This offense is still a work in progress, and that’s hurting this squad.
11. Tennessee (2-2)
Previous ranking: 12
This week: 38-14 L at No. 11 Florida
Next week: at Mizzou (2-2)
The Vols showed some fight in the first half against the Gators before falling apart a bit in the second half. Still, Josh Heupel was drawing up some great plays — the Vols’ offense just wasn’t making them. Of concern? QB Hendon Hooker left the game after taking a big hit in the second half. Joe Milton III, who had been replaced by Hooker after he himself was hurt in Week 2, came on in relief. Will the Vols have a healthy QB next week? If so, Mizzou could be in trouble. Speaking of the Tigers …
10. Mizzou (2-2)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: 41-34 L to Boston College (OT)
Next week: vs. Tennessee (2-2)
This defense is awful. The Tigers seemingly have no interest in tackling anyone on running plays, and that’s a major problem. The offense has some firepower, and Tyler Badie is playing well, but I have no idea what the plan was for that first play in overtime that ended in a bad Connor Bazelak interception. Eli Drinkwitz needs to be more consistent calling plays offensively and the defense needs to figure out what the heck it is doing, otherwise the Vols are going to come to Columbia next weekend and hand the Tigers another loss.
9. LSU (3-1)
Previous ranking: 9
This week: 28-25 W over Mississippi State
Next week: vs. Auburn (3-1)
Are there any Tigers fans who are actually happy with this result? Yes, it’s better to win than lose, but the Tigers just look like a very mediocre team this year. Kayshon Boutte is a star, but outside of that, there aren’t a ton of game-changers on this LSU squad, especially when Derek Stingley Jr. is out with an injury. Next week’s home game against Auburn will tell us a lot about the heart this team has in 2021.
8. Auburn (3-1)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: 34-24 W over Georgia State
Next week: at LSU (3-1)
Auburn needed a little of that Jordan-Hare magic to escape this game with a win. Don’t let the 10-point margin of victory fool you — Auburn came close to losing to the Panthers. But TJ Finley played hero late in the fourth quarter, throwing a beautiful TD pass on a 4th down inside of a minute to play. Bo Nix failed to lead a touchdown drive for Auburn. Now, the Tigers have a QB conundrum as they prepare for the start of SEC play. We’ll see how Bryan Harsin handles it heading to LSU (Finley’s old team, interestingly enough) next week.
7. Kentucky (4-0)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: 16-10 W over South Carolina
Next week: vs. Florida (3-1)
The Wildcats are 4-0, yes, but let’s just say the past 2 weeks against FCS Chattanooga and at South Carolina haven’t been the most convincing efforts for Mark Stoops’ squad. Chris Rodriguez Jr. has a case of the fumbles. Will Levis makes a couple of bad throws every game. But the defense is solid and the Wildcats continue to do just enough to win. That’s important, as this used to be a team that found creative ways to lose. Now, it’s time to make a statement with Florida coming to town next weekend.
6. Texas A&M (3-1)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: 20-10 L vs. Arkansas
Next week: vs. Mississippi State (2-2)
This still seems a bit high for the Aggies to me, but I honestly don’t see them losing to anyone below them on this list. The defense is still elite. Yes, the offense has some major question marks with Zach Calzada running the show. But I think Saturday told us more about how good Arkansas is rather than how bad Texas A&M is. Arkansas looked like the No. 7 team in the country, not A&M. But not all is lost in College Station.
5. Ole Miss (3-0)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: OFF
Next week: at Alabama (4-0)
The Rebels were idle this week, so no need to move them from the No. 5 spot. They’ll have their chance to jump up the power rankings next week when they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 1 Alabama. I cannot wait for that game. Hopefully, the Rebels are able to at least keep things close with the Tide next Saturday on CBS. The winner will also have the likely Heisman favorite, as Ole Miss QB Matt Corral currently has a slight edge over Alabama QB Bryce Young (though Young’s big day on Saturday might have him ahead when the new odds come out).
4. Arkansas (4-0)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: 20-10 W over No. 7 Texas A&M
Next week: at Georgia (4-0)
Whew, pig. What a game in Dallas! Even with starting QB KJ Jefferson and star WR Treylon Burks getting banged up during the game, the Razorbacks were able to hold off No. 7 Texas A&M thanks to an incredible defensive effort. That snapped a 9-game losing streak for the Hogs in this rivalry game. Barry Odom’s defense is one of the best in the SEC. Burks is one of the best wide receivers in the nation. This is a team that can beat anyone, anywhere, and Georgia needs to be careful next week.
3. Florida (3-1)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: 38-14 W over Tennessee
Next week: at Kentucky (4-0)
Florida got off to a slow start but put it together in the second half to roll the Vols. This team’s only loss is by 2 points to Alabama, so the No. 3 spot is certainly fitting. Emory Jones threw for 200 yards and ran for 100 on Saturday night in The Swamp — something that a Florida QB hasn’t done since 2009, when a guy named Tim Tebow did it. Pretty good company to be in. The Gators can ensure their spot as a top-2 team in the SEC East by going into Lexington and winning next weekend.
2. Georgia (4-0)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: 62-0 W over Vanderbilt
Next week: vs. Arkansas (4-0)
There’s serious buzz that Georgia should be the No. 1 team in the country, and it’s easy to see why. The defense is perhaps the best in the country and the offense just dropped 62 points on Vanderbilt. But I’m not going to get carried away just yet. In the only game the Bulldogs have played against a halfway-decent team (Clemson) so far this year, they scored a grand total of 3 offensive points. Let’s pump the brakes on the offense being elite for a bit. If they rout Arkansas next weekend in Athens? Then we can have this discussion.
1. Alabama (4-0)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: 63-14 W over Southern Miss
Next week: vs. Ole Miss (3-0)
Yeah, I’m not ready to fall into this pattern everyone else has seemingly fallen into where we pretend Alabama has flaws. After a tough road win against a top-10 Florida team last week, the Tide took care of business in a big way on Saturday night against Southern Miss. You’d better believe Nick Saban loved last weekend’s narrow win so he could make practice hell for his guys this past week. It seemed to work. Alabama is No. 1 until it isn’t anymore. Also, let’s be real — Southern Miss is probably a better team than Vanderbilt at this point.