SEC Power Rankings, Week 5: Gap between haves, have-nots is crystal clear
Week 5 might go down in SEC lore as the week that the haves really started to pull away from the have-nots. The imaginary line between the top of the SEC and the rest of the SEC is starting to look incredibly clear.
We’re here to break it all down on your weekly SEC power rankings.
As usual, we’re rating the teams on what we’ve seen so far—not where they’ll end up or on who they’ve played. That said, five weeks in, it’s starting to be pretty clear exactly who these teams are.
14. Missouri (1-3, idle)
In the same way that there’s going to be a temptation to park Alabama at the top, there’s going to be a temptation to park Mizzou at the bottom until it show us something new.
13. Ole Miss (2-2, lost to Alabama 66-3)
The fun and gun with Shea Patterson is interesting when it works, but this just isn’t a very good football team.
12. Tennessee (3-2, lost to Georgia 41-0)
This was Tennessee’s chance to prove that it belongs. But the Vols don’t. This offense has struggled even against bad competition. The defense has enough to outlast the UMass and Indiana State type opponents, but there aren’t many of those in the SEC. This could be a very long season on Rocky Top.
11. LSU (3-2, lost to Troy 27-24)
And just like that, the shine falls right off the brief Ed Orgeron Era. Troy coach Neal Brown took a gritty but thoroughly outmanned Troy team into the Bayou and won on Homecoming. Somewhere, Les Miles was probably enjoying a frosty beverage of his choice.
10. Arkansas (2-2, defeated New Mexico State 42-24)
Well, it is a win, and another game in which the Arkansas offense showed up. Austin Allen looked like the guy who was preseason All-SEC, and Devwah Whaley had a big game on the ground. There’s still defensive concerns that will put Arkansas out the outside of the SEC’s best teams, but the Razorbacks should conjure up enough wins to keep things interesting.
9. South Carolina (3-2, lost to Texas A&M 24-17)
Carolina and Kentucky very much resemble each other right now. Neither has much punch, both have good defenses, both will be in a lot of games … but both lack the firepower to put many teams away, either.
8. Kentucky (4-1, defeated Eastern Michigan 24-20)
If you’re an optimist, you say that Kentucky has improved enough that they can play like crap and beat somebody. If you’re a pessimist, you just say that Kentucky played like crap.
7. Vanderbilt (3-2, lost to Florida 38-24)
This is how you fritter away the impressive 3-0 start. Vandy had trouble with Florida on the ground and in the air. This is the same Florida offense that Kentucky and Tennessee each did a pretty solid job on … admittedly, neither won either, but it doesn’t bode well for Derek Mason’s defense that they looked worse against the Gators than those two.
6. Mississippi State (3-2, lost to Auburn 49-10)
There was a tendency to write off last week as an aberration and say that the State team that made LSU look silly was the real deal. Some of that is hurt by Troy making LSU look silly. More of it is hurt by a second straight week of getting blown up on defense and struggling on offense.
5. Texas A&M (4-1, defeated South Carolina 24-17)
Think about it — if A&M hadn’t blown a 34 point lead in 20 minutes, they’d be 5-0. As things stand, the Aggies look like an entirely reasonable third-best team in the West, which would keep Kevin Sumlin’s job and might have them ending up in the Top 25. Unthinkable three weeks ago, and in three more weeks, might be blown up again. But for now, A&M is the jumping off point between the teams that have been pretty good and the ones that could become a train wreck at any given time.
4. Florida (3-1, defeated Vanderbilt 38-24)
The Gators are like Dracula. Tennessee and Kentucky both cut them, hurt them, but didn’t stab them in the heart when they could. Now, Florida goes for over 200 yards rushing and passing against an allegedly stout Vanderbilt defense. Looking more and more like another year where the East comes down to Georgia and Florida, and while the Bulldogs are clearly a better team, in one game, anything can happen.
3. Auburn (4-1, defeated Mississippi State 49-10)
Sluggishness aside, Auburn lost a close game at Clemson. There have been some missed style points, but two consecutive weeks of SEC beatings suggest that the Tigers are the legitimate No. 3 in the league.
2. Georgia (5-0, defeated Tennessee 41-0)
There are two teams in the SEC that are very, very good. Unless Georgia just gags up the Florida game, it’s hard to imagine the Dawgs not winning the East. It’s getting hard to imagine them not starting 12-0.
1. Alabama (5-0, defeated Ole Miss 66-3)
The past two weeks have shown the Alabama team we expected to see. There’s probably a bigger gap between Alabama and Auburn than there was between Auburn and Missouri. But it is still somewhat early. We’ll see.