SEC power rankings: Week 10
We didn’t see any reason to shake up the top of the SEC, but the teams coming right after them in the “Just Off the Pace” and “Middle of the Pack” categories got a makeover with one team taking a huge tumble. Plus, we have a new cellar dweller.
Here are the SEC power rankings after Week 9:
Note: () by each team indicates whether teams moved up, down or remained unchanged.
PROJECTED OUT OF A BOWL GAME
14. Missouri Tigers (-1)
13. Vanderbilt Commodores (-1)
12. South Carolina Gamecocks (+2)
Missouri is in shambles right now. The Tigers had three straight games, all in which they didn’t score a touchdown. Now during the bye week, Maty Mauk got suspended for the rest of the season as a tough matchup with No. 24 Mississippi State looming this Thursday. The Tigers may have beaten the Gamecocks back in early October, but South Carolina has looked more inspired since Shawn Elliott took over as interim coach, putting up respectable performances in a win over Vanderbilt and a hard-fought loss by a touchdown at Texas A&M this past week. Vanderbilt didn’t do itself any favors by getting rocked 34-0, even if it was to the No. 18 team in the nation. The Commodores didn’t even advance the ball into Cougars territory until the third quarter.
TRENDING UP OR DOWN?
11. Kentucky Wildcats (-)
10. Auburn Tigers (-)
Both of these teams stay put after missing out on opportunities to come away with wins at home against good competition this past week. Auburn at least gave itself a chance in a one-possession loss to Ole Miss, but Kentucky got annihilated by Tennessee 52-21 in a very poor showing for a team that’s shown some promise in spurts. The Wildcats allowed touchdowns in the kick return and punt return games in the third quarter, but the defense had already surrendered 38 points before that. Meanwhile, the offense went 2-for-13 converting third downs.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
9. Georgia Bulldogs (-4)
8. Arkansas Razorbacks (-)
7. Tennessee Volunteers (+2)
Ranking this category was tough, but at this time, Georgia isn’t in good shape right now. The Bulldogs fall four spots down to No. 9 after a humiliating 27-3 loss to rival Florida this past week. Georgia’s offense looked terrible under quarterback Faton Bauta, who threw 4 interceptions. The defense got worn down by allowing the Gators to rush for a season-high 258 yards. Even after that performance, Florida is 12th in the SEC in rushing yards per game (143.1). Arkansas looks much more stable at the moment, having won three of its last four games, including a 63-28 win over Tennessee-Martin this past week that showed the Razorbacks’ offensive potential even though it was against inferior competition. Tennessee was clicking on all cylinders in its blowout win against Kentucky, but especially offensively. The Vols averaged a season-high 7.0 yards per play and showed great balance, converting 11 first downs through the air and 10 on the ground. That’s why they’ve moved up two spots in our rankings.
JUST OFF THE PACE
6. Mississippi State (+1)
5. Texas A&M (+1)
4. Ole Miss Rebels (-)
Mississippi State climbed a spot despite enjoying its bye this past week, thanks to Georgia’s rough loss. Texas A&M‘s win over South Carolina wasn’t overly impressive, but the play of true freshman QB Kyler Murray certainly was, and he can continue to showcase his talents in the next three weeks with games vs. Auburn, vs. Western Carolina and at Vanderbilt. The win doesn’t quite take away the sting of the 23-3 loss to Ole Miss, but the performance was exactly what the Aggies needed to potentially get back on track and prevent a collapse similar to last season. Ole Miss stays at No. 4 with a win over an improving Auburn team. Before Saturday, the Rebels had lost each of the previous two road games against Florida and Memphis by a combined 41 points. Still, Ole Miss can’t be happy with 2 more interceptions by Chad Kelly, while the defense gave up 427 total yards and nearly 6 yards per play to Auburn.
3. Florida Gators (-)
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (-)
1. LSU Tigers (-)
The top three teams in the SEC remain unchanged after Week 9. Of course, LSU and Alabama had a break before they collide and make the earth shatter this week in Tuscaloosa. Not only do the top two teams in our rankings square off, but so do the best running back in football and arguably the best run defense in the country. Leonard Fournette is averaging a little over 193 rushing yards per game, which leads the FBS. Meanwhile, the Tide are only allowing 78.5 yards per game, which is 3rd-best in the FBS. Florida solidified its claim as the best team in the SEC East with its 27-3 beatdown of the Bulldogs, and it can clinch a trip to Atlanta with a win over Vanderbilt this coming week. For the Gators to truly be elite, they may need to get more efforts like the one it got from RB Kelvin Taylor this past weekend. Florida fans have always had really high expectations for the son of legend Fred Taylor, but Saturday’s 121-yard outing was just the third 100-yard rushing game of the junior’s career, two of them coming against Georgia.