SEC Power Rankings after Week 7: Did Alabama increase gap on Georgia?
Seven was not Heaven for several SEC teams. The top two separated themselves from the field, and maybe the bottom few did as well. Otherwise, it’s a jumble and may be the rest of the way. Again, standard rules apply. We’re not basing these rankings on how we think teams will end up, but just where they stand right now. And that is here:
14. Missouri (1-5, lost to Georgia, 53-28)
The Tigers stepped out of the basement, but they’re back. Honestly, this game was more competitive than expected, but that morbidly bad defense is still in town. Mizzou is the worst team in the SEC. The Tigers might pull a surprise somewhere toward the end of the schedule, but they’re where they belong.
13. Arkansas (2-4, lost to Alabama 41-9)
There really is no redeeming facet of this Arkansas team. At least Missouri has the passing offense, which occasionally does something fun. Arkansas is ahead of Mizzou because it doesn’t have a total train wreck of a unit like the Missouri defense. Which is very slightly better.
12. Tennessee (3-3, lost to South Carolina 15-9)
So a quarterback change and a home game against a relatively middle of the pack SEC team (USC did lose at home to Kentucky by 10, remember) equals what? A complete offensive embarrassment. The Vols will probably still end up in a bowl, it’ll just be a bowl where they’re coached by an assistant who will be the interim head coach after the final curtain finally drops of the Butch Jones era.
11. Vanderbilt (3-4, lost to Ole Miss 57-35)
Oh, Vanderbilt, we wanted to believe. You beat a top 20 team, you had one of the top-ranked defenses in the country. Then you make Ole Miss look like the Bill Walsh San Francisco 49ers. Could we end up with a 5-win Vandy team and a 5-win UT team playing for bowl eligibility?
10. Ole Miss (3-3, defeated Vanderbilt 57-35)
They still don’t play any defense. If Ole Miss and Mizzou played this year, it would be 59-58, and the game would last about six hours.
9. Florida (3-3, lost to Texas A&M 19-17)
You live by the close game, you die by the close game. Florida really probably should be 2-4 or even 1-5. How many years of awful offense will Gator Nation endure before they back up the money truck by Dan Mullen’s office and make it happen?
8. South Carolina (5-2, defeated Tennessee 15-9)
They won an SEC game and stayed in the same place? Yeah, it’s hard to imagine that USC is better than LSU or Mississippi State, because they really probably aren’t. The fightin’ Muschamps will go bowling, and if they keep rushing the passer the way they did this week, they might move up a couple spots.
7. Kentucky (5-1, idle)
Meanwhile Kentucky moves up two spots? Yes, because the entire back end of its schedule except for Georgia looks not only manageable, but downright begging to be beaten. Sure, Ole Miss played well, but considering the eggs laid by Vandy, UT and Louisville, Kentucky’s entire outlook got a lot rosier during a week on the sideline.
6. Mississippi State (4-2, defeated BYU 35-10)
Which State is real? The one that lost to Auburn and Georgia by 39 and 28 points respectively? The one that beat LSU by 30? Yes. Both of these things. Given Nick Fitzgerald’s skill set, more than probably any team in these rankings, a quick start matters in State’s games. If they get ahead of the Kentucky, A&M, Ole Miss type of foes, they’ll be successful. If not, it won’t be pretty.
5. Auburn (5-2, lost to LSU 27-23)
Auburn isn’t a bad team. They’ll win eight or nine games. But its season is going to be looked at as one of missed opportunities. So far, Auburn has taken care of business against teams they should beat … and lost against teams that were a toss-up or against which they were a mild underdog. That’s not the recipe for long-term success.
4. LSU (5-2, defeated Auburn 27-23)
Can LSU be the fourth-best team in the SEC and still lose at home to Troy? This year, you bet. With two big wins in the past two weeks, the Troy game can be considered a fluke. That said, Ed Orgeron would be wise to avoid any more flukes.
3. Texas A&M (5-2, defeated Florida 19-17)
What a difference a month makes. The A&M team that started the year with an embarrassing loss and a couple of half-hearted bad wins just gets tougher and tougher every week. Any of the teams from about No. 3 to No. 8 could be interchanged, but the Aggies have earned their wins, and looked better against Alabama than anybody else in 2017.
2. Georgia (7-0, defeated Missouri 53-28)
Last week, we admitted that UGA looked more like the top dog than the Tide. This week, not as much. Nearly 700 yards is nice, but allowing a bunch of passing yards wasn’t so impressive. Focus will be key for Georgia, because they probably have a legitimate challenge left in the regular season.
1. Alabama (7-0, defeated Arkansas 41-9)
This looked like a team that is probably two scores better than Georgia. But that’s why they play the games.