Previous Power Rankings:

It’s nearly October. Can you believe it?

SEC football is about to get real. The contenders are about to be separated from the pretenders, and teams will begin navigating their way through the SEC East and West divisions.

The SEC West is anyone’s game, because it’s the toughest division in college football history, and the East is anyone’s game…but for completely different reasons.

Every week, SDS will poll its writers, and we’ll provide a collective SEC power rankings, instead of it coming from just one writer with one impression of every team.

Here are the SEC power rankings after Week 5, according to our staff:

Projected out of a bowl game

14. Vanderbilt Commodores

Although Vanderbilt isn’t mathematically eliminated from a bowl game, the Commodores aren’t winning five more games. Saturday’s game against Kentucky was perhaps the Dores’ best opportunity to knock off an SEC team. The team’s leading scorer is Darrius Sims, who hasn’t even taken an offensive snap. That tells you all you need to know.

Fighting for bowl eligibility

13. Kentucky Wildcats
12. Tennessee Volunteers

Kentucky won its first SEC game since 2011 against Vanderbilt, and the Cats could be the new Vanderbilt. Remember, the Commodores won nine games in 2012 and 2013, and Kentucky looks to be on that path in the next couple of seasons…Tennessee had its chances against Georgia, but this young team just doesn’t know how to win close ball games yet. Justin Worley is the only option at quarterback, and Tennessee and Florida look to be even entering Week 6. They square off Saturday.

SEC Least

11. Florida Gators
10. South Carolina Gamecocks
9. Missouri Tigers

Florida, South Carolina and Missouri are three SEC East teams that look to be in the muck of the conference, but all three are behind all SEC West teams currently. Florida returns this week against Tennessee following the bye week. Should the Gators lose at Tennessee, that wouldn’t be great news for Will Muschamp at all…South Carolina has played the toughest schedule in the country thus far, and the record shows at 3-2. The question now becomes whether USC will keep fighting or semi pack-it-in now that the East looks like it’s slipping away…It took Missouri nearly four quarters for the offense to come alive, but Maty Mauk and company finally put two scoring drives together and exited the victor in the other Columbia. Man, had Mizzou just not squandered the game against Indiana…

Middle of the pack

8. Arkansas Razorbacks
7. LSU Tigers
6. Georgia Bulldogs

Arkansas is good enough to win the SEC East right now, and the Hogs let one slip away against Texas A&M. But credit the Aggies for finishing stronger and cleaner. Kentucky snapped its losing streak Saturday, and now, Arkansas has the SEC’s longest conference losing streak at 11 games…LSU looks like it will rely on the talented freshmen class even more now that Brandon Harris is taking over at quarterback. Is that one week too late? The Tigers aren’t out of the SEC West yet, but Saturday’s game at Auburn will test this young team’s will…Is Georgia the SEC East’s favorite? The Bulldogs look very beatable, even with the best player in the country. However, just two ranked teams — Auburn and Missouri — are ahead on the schedule for the rest of the season. The SEC East is a mess, but our staff feels the Bulldogs are the division’s top team, despite losing to South Carolina.

SEC West stranglehold

5. Ole Miss Rebels
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs
3. Auburn Tigers

This is where it starts to get interesting. Ole Miss survived a tough game against Memphis, and the Rebels’ defense continues to stake its claim as the conference’s best defense. However, Bo Wallace continues his erratic play, as Alabama comes calling Saturday…Mississippi State jumped Ole Miss in this week’s power rankings during the bye week. The Bulldogs return to action Saturday against top 10 Texas A&M, which should be a very interesting and telling clash…Auburn fell to No. 3 in this week’s power rankings, based mostly on the Tigers’ lackluster play against Louisiana Tech. Some still feel the Tigers are the best SEC team, but they just aren’t firing on all cylinders yet ahead of LSU Saturday.

A new No. 2

2. Texas A&M Aggies
1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Texas A&M jumped to No. 2 this week after making a comeback against a tough and very improved Arkansas team. The Aggies made the explosive plays down the stretch when it mattered most, and this week’s game against Mississippi State should be more than telling and interesting…Alabama stayed at No. 1 during the bye week, and the Crimson Tide clash with Ole Miss Saturday, where they should be a sizable favorite.