SEC Power Rankings: Week 13
The competitive Second Tier of the SEC saw some movement, while one team took yet another tumble down and out of that category. Meanwhile, the top two teams in that classification hook up this week in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Here are our SEC power rankings after Week 12:
Note: () by each team indicates whether teams moved up, down or remained unchanged.
14. South Carolina Gamecocks (-)
13. Missouri Tigers (-)
12. Vanderbilt Commodores (-1)
11. Kentucky Wildcats (+1)
I wrote last week that South Carolina had hit rock bottom after being officially eliminated from bowl eligibility and falling into last place in our power rankings with the league’s worst record. We were wrong because now it’s hit rock bottom after its 23-22 overtime loss to The Citadel. As bad as the season has gone for the Gamecocks, if they somehow, someway derail Clemson’s run at the College Football Playoff, it’ll be quite a silver lining. Plus, wouldn’t it be something if the worst team in the SEC still managed to hand losses to in-state foes North Carolina and Clemson, who are both in position to win their respective conferences? Missouri couldn’t build on its win over BYU, losing 19-8 to Tennessee in coach Gary Pinkel’s final home game. Now, the defensive-minded Tigers need a win over offensive-minded Arkansas to make a bowl game. Vanderbilt was shut out by Texas A&M 25-0, the Commodores’ second time being blanked this season. Vandy has lost by a combined score of 59-0 to the two teams its played from the state of Texas this season (also lost 34-0 to Houston). Kentucky ended its five-game losing streak with a 58-10 win over Charlotte. The Wildcats got a less-than-impressive, yet mistake-free, debut from redshirt freshman Drew Barker (16-for-29 passing, 129 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions). It was more about the UK running game, which went for 415 yards, the 4th-highest single-game total in school history.
WHAT DO WE MAKE OF YOU?
10. Auburn Tigers (-)
9. Texas A&M Aggies (-)
8. Georgia Bulldogs (-)
Georgia falls into this category after surviving 23-17 in OT against Georgia Southern at home. We understand that the Eagles (7-3) are not your typical “cupcake” team, but the Bulldogs also knew that before the game started. In terms of total yards of offense, Georgia has posted four of its five worst efforts over the last five games. Texas A&M only scored one touchdown on the way to a 25-0 shutout win over Vanderbilt, but the Aggies’ body of work has been awfully hard to dissect. They hadn’t looked particularly impressive over the previous five games, and that includes two weeks ago when they only led by a touchdown after throwing 2 interceptions in the first half against Western Carolina of the FCS along with two stinkers against Ole Miss (lost 23-3) and Auburn (lost 26-10). Meanwhile, Auburn got a somewhat encouraging performance from QB Jeremy Johnson (13-for-19 passing, 163 yards, 2 TDs; 5 carries, 23 yards, 2 rushing TDs). However, that came against Idaho, the second-worst team in the Sun Belt Conference and the 5th-worst defense in the FBS.
TRENDING UP AND DOWN
7. Tennessee Volunteers (-)
6. LSU Tigers (-2)
These two teams are headed in complete opposite directions. Tennessee will look to head into bowl season on a five-game winning streak with a victory at home against Vanderbilt. After starting the season 2-3, it would’ve been difficult to say the Vols would reach eight wins by winning six of their last seven, especially with that game against the Tide on the slate, but that’s exactly what UT looks like it might do. The Vols proved once again that when they’re running the ball, they’re awfully hard to beat. Rocky Top ran for 248 yards against a stout Missouri defense that hadn’t allowed that kind of rushing performance since the 2013 SEC title game against Auburn. LSU has now dropped two spots for the second straight week. This tumble comes after the Tigers’ 38-17 loss to Ole Miss, a game they trailed 24-0 in the second quarter at one point. LSU’s fall from grace is incredible considering it was No. 4 in the AP Poll (and No. 2 in the College Football Playoff Rankings) in Week 10. Now just three weeks later, it’s out of the AP Poll entirely. It’s the first time in the Les Miles era that the Tigers lost three straight.
5. Arkansas Razorbacks (-2)
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs (+2)
3. Ole Miss Rebels (+2)
The competitive Second-Tier sees Arkansas drop a couple spots to No. 5. The Razorbacks had their four-game winning streak snapped in a 51-50 barnburner against Mississippi State. The Hogs would’ve made it five straight if MSU’s Beniquez Brown didn’t block Cole Hedlund’s chip-shot 29-yard field goal attempt with 39 seconds left. Meanwhile, Mississippi State jumps two spots to No. 4 after that win, rebounding very nicely from what could’ve been a demoralizing 31-6 defeat at the hands of Alabama. Instead, Dak Prescott shredded the Razorbacks defense for career-highs in passing yards (508) and passing touchdowns (7). He’ll face Ole Miss in what should be another shootout in Starkville that matches the top two passing offenses in the SEC. It’s the Egg Bowl, so there’s never any need for extra motivation, but the Rebels can still make the SEC title game with a win on Saturday night along with an Alabama loss to Auburn earlier in the day.
2. Florida Gators (-)
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (-)
With schools like Florida and Georgia struggling against teams with lesser talent — and South Carolina losing to one — Alabama didn’t lose a step against Charleston Southern with a dominant 56-6 win before this week’s Iron Bowl. With the way the Tide has played during its current eight-game winning streak, along with the way Florida has played lately, Alabama would be a heavy favorite in their potential matchup in the SEC Championship Game. As for those Gators, the eye test would make you want to rank them lower, but the fact remains that they’re still 10-1. Here’s one thing to keep in mind about Florida. That 38-10 win over Ole Miss seems like it was a long time ago, but that 27-3 win over Georgia doesn’t. In fact, it won’t even be a month since that performance when Florida takes the field against Florida State this Saturday. The fans have to hope another game against a bitter rival will bring out the best in Jim McElwain’s club.