It was Mississippi State’s turn to take a disappointing loss, but otherwise, much of SEC Week 3 shook down about the way that we expected. As usual, we’re back to put a cap on it by power ranking the teams of the SEC, based purely on what we’ve seen on the field. 

14. Vanderbilt (0-2, idle)

It’s not that Vandy has been that awful, but it is the last winless team in the SEC, and playing LSU isn’t likely to change that in the coming week. Until they win, the Commodores have to stay on the bottom.

13. Tennessee (1-2, beat Chattanooga 45-0)

On the other hand, not sure UT is better than Vandy — the Vols just had the foresight to schedule a woeful FCS team in Week 3. The next four games will certainly be interesting for the direction of this program (and coaching staff).

12. Arkansas (2-1, beat Colorado State 55-34)

Not a brilliant game by the Razorbacks, but at least one that will keep them out of the bottom of the league. It was a game this staff really didn’t need to lose, and Arkansas didn’t lose it. That’s the good news. Still plenty of bad news, but 12th in the league feels like progress for now. 

11. Ole Miss (2-1, beat Southeastern Louisiana 40-29)

Speaking of not exactly brilliant, if the SEC is going to hang its claim on superiority on something other than its strongest teams, well, it better hang it on the league’s middle-of-the-pack teams. These bottom teams could be the bottom of the MAC because that’s about as well as they’ve played.

10. South Carolina (1-2, lost to Alabama 47-23)

Honestly, not a bad effort by Carolina, and Ryan Hilinski looks better in his second game than Jake Bentley looked in his fourth season. That said, the secondary looked awfully porous playing for Will Muschamp, a guy who allegedly earns his head coaching dollars as a defensive coach. Can the Gamecocks clean that up before next Saturday?

9. Mississippi State (2-1, lost to Kansas State 31-24)

The converse of Muschamp in many ways is Joe Moorhead, who inherited a great defense, lost a ton of players, and yet still has a defense that scraps and digs and plays pretty darn well for him. But offense … well, Tommy Stevens isn’t looking better than Nick Fitzgerald did, which suggests that the transition from B1G to SEC isn’t so easy. If Kentucky beats State next week, and the Wildcats well could, suddenly this argument that the West is better than the East top to bottom has some significant holes. 

8. Kentucky (2-1, lost to Florida 29-21)

If you can’t hold an 11-point advantage in the fourth quarter at home, well, it doesn’t bode especially well for your season. The good news is that Sawyer Smith wasn’t bad — the bad news is that the Wildcats made too many mistakes to pull off a big win. 

7. Missouri (2-1, beat Southeast Missouri State 50-0)

Mizzou has played better since its relatively unfathomable Week 1 loss, and that gets the Tigers in here ahead of State and Kentucky. It’ll be interesting to see Mizzou’s defense against a quality offense, but until they meet one, they’ll be fine. Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a definite proving ground … or a chance to slide back into the lower half of the league. 

6. Texas A&M (2-1, beat Lamar 62-3)

The Aggies have been great against bad teams and fairly bad against a great team. The good news is there aren’t a ton of great teams they’ll face. This week’s game against Auburn is a great chance for either team to prove it really belongs in the upper echelon of the SEC. 

5. Auburn (3-0, beat Kent State 55-16)

Some of the Tigers’ offensive gremlins seemed to have departed. Bo Nix’s life is a lot easier when a team rushes for 400 yards, like Auburn did Saturday night. Problem is, there are not too many Kent States on the schedule.

4. Florida (3-0, beat Kentucky 29-21)

Not unlike the Miami game, Florida played through a decent chunk of adversity. Could the Gators be better with Kyle Trask than Feleipe Franks? Their fourth quarter comeback against Kentucky suggests they might. A gutty road comeback jumps the Gators over Auburn.

3. LSU (3-0, beat Northwestern State 65-14)

How the Tigers and UGA rank right now isn’t all that important — it’s how they finish. That said, Georgia played a solid, disciplined game, and LSU seemed to sleepwalk through most of the first half of its FCS matchup. The Tigers will be fine, but we have to go on what happens on the field. 

2. Georgia (3-0, beat Arkansas State 55-0)

On one hand, this game tells us nothing, as UGA’s scout team would have rolled. On the other hand, it tells us that Georgia was much more focused than in last week’s trouncing of Murray State. With the exception of one 45-yard pass, the Bulldogs kept everything in front of them, and looked much sharper defensively. It didn’t matter this week, but it will in the SEC stretch run. 

1. Alabama (3-0, beat South Carolina 47-23)

Kind of a dozy game for Alabama, and Ryan Hilinski had an easier time passing the ball on the Crimson Tide than was generally expected. That said, when most teams win on the road in the league by three scores, we call it a juggernaut. For Alabama, we yawn, shrug, and wait for a real test.