SEC Power Rankings: Week 7 has a new Top 5
Eventually, Alabama will reach a point where it’s mathematically impossible for it to widen the gap against its pursuers any further.
The Tide took a few more steps in that direction Saturday, pounding Arkansas in a game some considered a potential trap.
Week 6 was more evidence that it’s Alabama’s world, and everybody else is paying rent.
The good news is there are seven or eight other teams who are taking up residence in floors just below Nick Saban’s presidential suite.
Here’s how the SEC power rankings shape up entering Week 7.
Last week: 14
Skinny: Derek Mason is in an impossible situation, but so was James Franklin. The clock is ticking.
13. Mississippi State
Last week: 12
Skinny: That first half against Auburn was as bad as anything we’ve seen in the conference this season. As bad as it was, it soon will get worse. The Bulldogs still play the four best teams on their schedule.
12. South Carolina
Last week: 13
Skinny: South Carolina scored two touchdowns. It wasn’t enough to beat Georgia, but it means the Gamecocks have scored more touchdowns this season than Alabama’s defense.
Last week: 10
Skinny: The Tigers were idle in Week 6, which means they’re still 0-2 in the SEC. They’ll have a chance to move up Saturday if they win at Florida.
Last week: 11
Skinny: So the world didn’t end after all. The Wildcats recovered from their 0-2 start and are back to .500. They enter their bye week just three wins from bowl eligibility and, fortunately enough, have exactly three winnable games remaining.
Last week: 6
Skinny: Alabama makes almost everybody except Hugh Freeze look bad, but almost everything the Razorbacks did well came after the game was decided. Austin Allen’s primary job Saturday was to protect the football. He threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. The Tide returned his fumble and one of his interceptions for touchdowns.
Last week: 8
Skinny: An unintended bye week provided Luke Del Rio more time to get ready to return to the starting lineup. The Gators are more dangerous when he’s behind center.
Last week: 7
Skinny: Nick Chubb returned and the run game came to life. Chubb ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Sony Michel ran for a team-high 133 yards and Brian Herrien added 82 as the Bulldogs gained a season-high 326 yards against South Carolina. It’s a good thing, too, because Jacob Eason had his worst day as a collegian: 5-of-17 for 29 yards with an interception.
Last week: 9
Skinny: There’s no denying the Tigers are playing better. They’ve won three straight. Kamryn Pettway is a battering ram. What is their ceiling? We’ll know much more in three weeks. The Tigers are off this coming Saturday, then face Arkansas and Ole Miss.
Last week: 2
Skinny: Let’s hope the Tigers took advantage of all of that splendid weather in Baton Rouge to perfect the tweaks in Ed Orgeron’s offense. Southern Miss won’t offer much resistance — or proof of progress — on Saturday, but the schedule picks up considerably after that.
4. Ole Miss
Last week: 4
Skinny: The Rebels were idle, though Chad Kelly still found a way to get his name in a headline. Ole Miss has a huge game Saturday at suddenly-reeling Arkansas, which needs to pump the brakes on a two-game SEC losing skid.
3. Texas A&M
Last week: 5
Skinny: The Aggies moved up, but they were hardly convincing, somehow falling behind in overtime, at home, despite forcing six turnovers in regulation. Credit the Aggies for finding the resolve, however, to finish. They’re 6-0 and gaining momentum, even if Trevor Knight is still struggling with his accuracy. The Aggies are off this week and every bit of their attention turns to the Oct. 22 showdown at Alabama.
Last week: 3
Skinny: The Vols lost and moved up? Yes. They outplayed Texas A&M, on the road, without four starters and despite committing seven turnovers. Texas A&M was fortunate to win, which sounds ridiculous given how many breaks they received during the game. Put these teams on a neutral field and cut Tennessee’s turnovers in half, and the Vols win by 14. They are every bit as dangerous as we thought they would be, despite suffering another injury to a star defender.
With every preseason goal except an unbeaten season still on the table, Rocky Top will be sky high Saturday to face No. 1 Alabama.
Last week: 1
Skinny: The Tide scored twice more on defense in a road blowout of No. 16 Arkansas. They’re averaging a league-best 44.8 points per game and their RPMs are still hovering in the mid-4000s. Florida’s 2008 national championship team set the SEC record for points in a season with 611, and the Tide are well ahead of pace to break it. They are more unstoppable than any offense Nick Saban has coached.
Chris Wright is Executive Editor at SaturdayDownSouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.