There were some major shakeups in the SEC, and thus, there’ll be some in the power rankings. Again, to review the rules, we’re going off what we’ve seen — not how these teams will finish, or where we think they’ll end up.
And so after two weeks, here are your SEC power rankings.
14. Texas A&M (1-1, beat Nicholls 24-14)
Well, on the bright side, look who didn’t gag up a 34-point lead in 19 minutes. That said, the extent of improvement was edging away from an FCS foe after being tied with them in the middle of the fourth quarter. How far of a fall has it been for Kevin Sumlin’s Aggies, a team that got some play as an upset SEC West preseason pick?
Far enough that what was recently one of the best passing attacks in the nation was outgained by Nicholls in the air, 264-198.
13. Florida (0-1, game canceled)
Florida didn’t move down because it didn’t play, but they don’t move up, either. Tennessee is not an especially good football team, but it’s hard to imagine the Gators beating them next week, which would leave an 0-2 Florida team travelling to Kentucky the following weekend.
12. Missouri (1-1, lost to South Carolina 31-13)
It’s not that this game is an embarrassment. Carolina looks like a possible upset candidate in the East. It’s more that they lost this game despite a respectable performance from their defense, which had been awful in Week 1. The Missouri passing game looks kind of like a fraud. You let them play an FCS team or a bad mid-major and they score 60 and throw for 500 yards. But play a real team, and they’re struggling to reach double digits.
11. Arkansas (1-1, lost to TCU 28-7)
The only reason Arkansas moves ahead of Mizzou is that they were dominated by a ranked TCU squad. Again, the manner of loss is interesting, as the Arkansas defense, much maligned in recent years, held the Horned Frogs to 166 passing yards and 4.6 yards per carry on the ground. The offense responded by laying an egg, failing to complete 10 passes or establish a consistent ground game. Arkansas and A&M are conclusively the dogs of the West at this point.
10. Kentucky (2-0, beat Eastern Kentucky 27-16)
Kentucky very much moved up by default, trailing at halftime to instate FCS foe Eastern Kentucky. The Wildcats did show signs of regaining their running game, which will be much needed next weekend at South Carolina. Kentucky’s next two games will define its season.
9. Ole Miss (2-0, beat UT-Martin 45-23)
Much like Kentucky, the Rebels have kind of underperformed in two games against mediocre competition. Unlike Kentucky, QB Shea Patterson will make this Ole Miss team must-see football. It’s hard to imagine the defense holding up against a competent offense, but there might not be as many of those in the SEC as was expected.
8. Vanderbilt (2-0, beat Alabama A&M 42-0)
Yet another team that has looked good against very poor competition. Giving up only six points in two games will get attention, even when you play a CUSA and an FCS foe. Could Kyle Shurmur be the most underrated player in the SEC?
7. Auburn (1-1, lost to Clemson 14-6)
Oh, Auburn, you’re such a tease. You have a terrific defense, and some fearsome running backs. And then you bring in a quarterback, a really talented quarterback, and you think you can keep up in the West. But in his second game as a Tiger, Jarrett Stidham got sacked 11 times. He also doesn’t seem to have much of a receiving corps to work with —not that it matters when you get sacked 11 times. Same old Auburn, third or fourth in the West, and Gus Malzahn might want to buy a seat cooler.
6. Tennessee (2-0, beat Indiana State 42-7)
This was a learn nothing type of game. Well, maybe we learned that Quinten Dormady really is the best QB for the Vols. But are they any good? Tune back in next week, as they visit Florida.
5. Mississippi State (2-0, beat Louisiana Tech 57-21)
Again, not sure how much we’ve learned from two games against awful competition here. State can score. Its defense had a few more struggles in Week 2. But at this point, how many potent offenses will State face?
4. South Carolina (2-0, beat Missouri 31-13)
There’s still reason to have real concern about a Carolina team that was again outgained in total yards. The ground game has been mediocre, and Jake Bentley hasn’t exactly exploded. That said, Carolina has been adept at making the plays it needs to make — big special teams moments, avoiding the kind of negative plays that get teams beat.
This week, USC went to Mizzou as a slight underdog and knocked the Tigers out of the top echelon of the East. Kentucky will try to return that favor next week, but Carolina is on much more solid footing.
3. Georgia (2-0, beat Notre Dame 20-19)
Well, maybe Notre Dame isn’t very good. They did go 4-8 last season. And Jake Fromm is the epitome of a game manager at this point. But Georgia looks like the best team in the East, and if you had to guess right now, you’d probably pin the East on the UGA/USC game. Georgia still has the most weapons, and winning a tough road game won’t hurt its chances.
2. LSU (2-0, beat Chattanooga 45-10)
This game provided little clarity for the Tigers. But their offense has been much more balanced, and their defense has still been absolutely ferocious. If anybody has the personnel to take down Alabama in the conference, it increasingly looks like it might be LSU.
1. Alabama (2-0, beat Fresno State 41-10)
Not the sharpest of performances from Alabama, but a week after ritualistically destroying the title chances of Florida State, the Tide did what they do. Tua Tagovailoa made a solid debut, Bama again ground out yards on the ground with Jalen Hurts and a veritable stable of ball carriers, and the defense is what it is. They’re No. 1 until they’re not. And that might be awhile.