A new weekend of SEC football is upon us, and Uncle Mo was kind enough to release his Week 4 Power Index in advance of tonight’s showdown between No. 5 Auburn and No. 20 Kansas State.

Remember, Uncle Mo’s rankings are based on momentum, not achievements. In other words, his rankings aren’t based on how good or bad a team is, but instead on how that team got to this point and where it might be heading the rest of the season.

There’s plenty of shakeup from last week’s rankings, so let’s jump right in:

  1. South Carolina Gamecocks: The Gamecocks saved their season with a three-point win at home over the Georgia Bulldogs, reestablishing themselves in the SEC East race in the process. South Carolina may not be the most talented team in the SEC, but no team gained more momentum from last weekend than the Gamecocks. If South Carolina can win-out against the rest of the SEC East, it should be able to earn the division title and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC championship game. The Gamecocks have new life, and that new life could inspire a dominant stretch of games in the coming weeks.
  2. Texas A&M Aggies: Texas A&M continues to impress, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Rice did everything it could to keep the ball away from the Aggies’ offense last week, and A&M still managed to score 38 points in a 28-point win. Few experts expected Texas A&M to start the season 3-0, and those who did couldn’t have imagined the Aggies doing so in such a dominant manner. A&M continues to win games by wide margins and exceed expectations as it approaches its SEC West schedule. If the Aggies can continue to click on offense, they could end up winning the loaded West, and the way Texas A&M looked in its first three games indicates it’ll be a tough matchup each and every week.
  3. LSU Tigers: The Tigers defense continued its dominant play to begin the year, posting its second-straight shutout in a 31-0 win over Louisiana Monroe last week. LSU has looked suspect on offense, especially in the passing game, but the Tigers may have the SEC’s best defense, which will pay dividends down the line in matchups against teams like Texas A&M, Auburn, Ole Miss and others. With the defense playing as well as it is, it’s tough to argue any team has built more momentum through the first three weeks of 2014 than the Tigers, who fill face a difficult test in Saturday’s showdown with Mississippi State.
  4. Arkansas Razorbacks: Arkansas is stuck playing in a division in which more than 70 percent of the teams make up half the nation’s top 10, but that doesn’t mean the Razorbacks haven’t built plenty of momentum in back-to-back wins over Nicholls State and Texas Tech. Nicholls State may be a weak program even by FCS standards, but scoring 73 points was a huge confidence boost for an Arkansas team with plenty of tough games left on the schedule. Last week’s 21-point win over Texas Tech in Lubbock reaffirmed the Razorbacks are for real, even if the rest of their division is, too. Even if Arkansas is the seventh-best team in a seven-team division, it may still be among the top 30-40 teams in the entire country. The Razorbacks’ two most recent wins proved that, and that momentum could help Arkansas spring an upset or two in SEC play this season.
  5. Ole Miss Rebels: It took Ole Miss less than three full seasons to rise from winless in the SEC to a top 10 ranking, and cracking the top 10 in the most recent Associated Press poll was a huge momentum booster for the Rebels following a 41-point win over UL Lafayette last weekend. Ole Miss is on a bye this week, which may slow down some of their momentum through three week, but the Rebels have won their three games this season by a combined 101 points, which amounts to one of the most impressive 3-0 starts in the nation. We’ll know how good Ole Miss really is when it hosts Alabama on Oct. 4, but for now the Rebels have every reason to be confident during their week off.
  6. Missouri Tigers: Missouri’s season started slow with a 20-point win over FCS foe South Dakota State, but the Tigers have begun to catch fire in back-to-back wins over Toledo and UCF the last two weeks. Maty Mauk has been among the top quarterbacks in the conference, burning defenses with his arm and his legs, and Mizzou’s defensive end tandem of Markus Golden and Shane Ray appears to be even better than last year’s tandem of Michael Sam and Kony Ealy, both of whom now play in the NFL. The SEC East appears to be wide-open, and if the defending East champs can continue their impressive play against teams like Georgia and South Carolina down the line, they’ll have every chance to earn another trip to Atlanta this December. For now, Mizzou is confident in Mauk’s play in his first year as the full-time starting quarterback, and the Tigers have given themselves plenty to play for in their final nine games.
  7. Kentucky Wildcats: Kentucky put forth its most impressive performance against an SEC opponent in years in its triple-overtime loss to Florida in the Swamp last weekend. The Cats may have lost their 17th straight conference game and their 28th straight game against Florida, but they also proved they are prepared to compete for a bowl berth and a handful of SEC wins this season. For Kentucky to go from back-to-back 2-10 seasons in 2012-13 to a bowl game in 2014 would be a huge step forward, and Saturday’s loss in a hostile road environment in Gainesville proved that goal is within the Wildcats’ reach. Mark Stoops has this program growing at a rapid pace, and Kentucky fans have every reason to be excited over the momentum their team built last weekend in the Swamp.
  8. Alabama Crimson Tide: Alabama has done nothing wrong in starting the season 3-0 with three wins over West Virginia, Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss by a combined 91 points, but the Crimson Tide has not won any of those games with much flash. The bar has been set high in Tuscaloosa after what Nick Saban and company have been able to achieve the last five years, and so far in 2014 Alabama has not lived up to lofty expectations. The Crimson Tide sit in the middle of the pack in this week’s rankings for doing everything it needed to through three weeks while also not earning many style points. Alabama remains right in the thick of the SEC West race, but it does not have nearly as much momentum heading into the final nine games of the season as some other teams in the conference.
  9. Mississippi State Bulldogs: Mississippi State is 3-0 to begin the season, but the Bulldogs’ mild early-season schedule is now over. State scored wins over Southern Miss, UAB and South Alabama, but must now finish the year with eight SEC contests in a nine-game stretch. The Bulldogs have built plenty of momentum through three weeks, but this veteran team knows it has not played anyone challenging enough to legitimize its high expectations for the season. Mississippi State will enter this weekend’s SEC opener with plenty of confidence, but it could also drop back to square-one with a bad loss in Baton Rouge. Like a few other teams on this list, the Bulldogs could be ranked much higher in next week’s momentum rankings than they are this week if they play well against LSU.
  10. Auburn Tigers: Auburn was on a bye last week, so it’s tough to say the Tigers gained or lost any momentum during that time. Auburn is 2-0 and already has an SEC West win over a very talented Arkansas team, but it has also been quiet over the last two weeks with a 46-point win over San Jose State followed by an off week. The Tigers are still a realistic contender to defend their SEC title, but they don’t have much momentum heading into tonight’s showdown with No. 20 Kansas State. However, if Auburn can beat K-State in a primetime game, it’ll show up much higher in these rankings next week.
  11. Georgia Bulldogs: Georgia followed an impressive win over Clemson in Week 1 with a bye week and a gut-wrenching loss to South Carolina last weekend. The Bulldogs missed their chance to take a stranglehold on the SEC East, and now must regroup heading forward with 10 games remaining this season, seven against SEC foes. Georgia remains one of the most talented teams in the conference, and should still have a great chance at contending for the East crown, but the loss to South Carolina sucked the life out of any momentum the ‘Dawgs had built heading into the game. Luckily for Georgia, it still has plenty of time to regain its confidence, beginning this weekend with a showdown against the winless Troy Trojans.
  12. Tennessee Volunteers: Tennessee has likely over-achieved early in the season while relying heavily on freshmen and sophomores, but many of those same young players learned a thing or two in a 24-point loss on the road to then-No. 4 Oklahoma. It remains to be seen how the Vols’ young core will respond to UT’s first loss of the year, and they’ll have an extra week to think about it while regrouping during a bye this week. Tennessee resembled a deer-in-headlights at times against the Sooners, as one of the nation’s premier teams blasted the Vols on its home field in Norman, Oklahoma. UT should still maintain some confidence from their wins over Utah State and Arkansas State to begin the season, but the loss to OU also reminded the Vols how far remain from competing with the nation’s elite teams.
  13. Florida Gators: Fans hoping to see an improved Florida team after last year’s 4-8 season were let down in a nail-biting triple-overtime win against Kentucky at home last weekend. The Gators were pushed to the brink by a team that hasn’t won an SEC game since 2011, and aside from wideout Demarcus Robinson and tailback Matt Jones, the offense showed many of the same struggles it did a year ago. The Gators improved to 2-0 and still have nine games remaining, seven against SEC opponents, giving them plenty of opportunities to make a run at the SEC East title. However, following a shaky win over Kentucky with a game against Alabama this weekend is not the recipe to build momentum, and if Florida is dropped by the Crimson Tide it could fall even further in these momentum rankings next week.
  14. Vanderbilt Commodores: Even Vandy’s first win of the season couldn’t drag the ‘Dores out of the bottom of these rankings. Vanderbilt survived (and I mean survived) its game against a winless UMass team, relying on a missed field goal in the game’s final moments to avoid overtime. Head coach Derek Mason may have finally found his quarterback in Patton Robinette, but he also wasted freshman Wade Freebeck’s redshirt, canceling out any progress made at the quarterback position. The Commodores were victorious but they also must realize by this point how far back of the rest of the SEC they actually are. Squeaking out a three-point win over a winless mid-major is not exactly a confidence-building win, and aside from Robinette’s play under center, it’s tough to argue the team gained any momentum last weekend.