Uncle Mo's Power Index: Ranking the SEC teams on momentum heading into Week 6
Another weekend of SEC football is in the books, and what a weekend it was. Georgia survived an upset bid by Tennessee between the Hedges, South Carolina gave away a certain victory to Missouri and Texas A&M rallied from the brink of defeat to top Arkansas in the Southwest Classic in Jerry World.
Uncle Mo watched all the games and did all his homework to come up with these rankings, and he feels pretty good about them. Remember, these are not power rankings, they’re momentum rankings, so keep that in mind when reading through the list.
There’s plenty of shakeup from last week’s rankings, so let’s jump right in:
- Texas A&M: The Aggies were tested for the first time this year in last week’s game against Arkansas, and although it took them more than three quarters to hit their stride, their thrilling comeback victory was a huge momentum boost heading forward in the SEC West. Texas A&M remains unbeaten, and Saturday’s game showed that not only does the team have a dynamic offense, but also the resolve and resiliency to win any game against even the toughest of opponents.
- Ole Miss: The Rebels did not play their best game in a 24-3 win over Memphis, but the program’s momentum may be at an all-time high as Ole Miss prepares to host ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time ever. It has been a long time since the program has received this much national attention, and with a top 15 ranking and a nationally televised game against against national powerhouse Alabama, the Rebels have a real chance to emerge as a contender to make the College Football Playoff field with a win.
- Mississippi State: Like their rivals from Oxford, the Bulldogs are a confident bunch after beating LSU in a night game in Death Valley two weeks ago. Mississippi State is well rested after last week’s bye, and they’ll also receive plenty of national exposure as this week’s host campus for the SEC Nation pregame show. Another win over a top 10 team (Texas A&M) would cement the Bulldogs in the top 10 themselves, and would finally begin to convince fans this team is not a fluke like MSU teams of years past.
- Alabama: The Crimson Tide enjoyed a week off last week, and is still feeling good following a 42-21 drubbing of Florida two weeks ago. The Tide will have a chance for another statement win against Ole Miss in Oxford, and a victory on the road would reaffirm Alabama’s dominance in many fans’ minds after a slow start to 2014.
- Kentucky: The Wildcats won their first SEC contest in three years in last week’s 17-7 win over Vanderbilt, and they topped their win total from each of the last two years with their third victory of the season. The Wildcats are as confident as anyone in the SEC, and with a vulnerable South Carolina team coming to town for a blackout in Lexington, Kentucky has a great chance to improve to 2-1 in the wide open SEC East.
- Missouri: The Tigers put forth a hideous performance last week against South Carolina one week after losing at home to Indiana, but just when all hope seemed lost Mizzou rallied for two late touchdowns to stun the Gamecocks. The victory allowed the Tigers to leave the loss to the Hoosiers in the past, and washed a bad taste out of their mouths as they aim to turn their season around following a bye this weekend. The week off should give Missouri a chance to regroup, and a come-from-behind win over an SEC East foe will keep confidence high in the Mizzou locker room.
- Arkansas: The Razorbacks out-played Texas A&M for most of last week’s game, but fell apart late to allow the Aggies to steal a victory in Jerry World. Arkansas continues to run the ball better than most, and their defense played superb for most of the afternoon. The Razorbacks have looked impressive in both of their SEC West contests this year, but they lost both games, which sucks some of the life out of those great showings. Arkansas needs to win one of these close SEC games to really shoot up in these rankings, but they should be as confident as any 0-2 team in a power conference.
- LSU: The Tigers looked terrible in the first quarter of their win over New Mexico State, committing four turnovers with quarterback Anthony Jennings under center. The team took off once Jennings was replaced by freshman Brandon Harris, and that switch was made permanent by head coach Les Miles earlier this week. The Tigers appear more confident with Harris running the offense, which should boost the team’s momentum as they approach a huge showdown with Auburn.
- Georgia: The Bulldogs barely escaped last Saturday’s game against Tennessee with a victory, and quarterback Hutson Mason had another shaky performance in a three-point victory. Georgia’s defense allowed 32 points to an inconsistent Tennessee offense, and although the Bulldogs remain a favorite in the SEC East, they did not build much momentum from Saturday’s showing against the Vols.
- Tennessee: The Volunteers tested Georgia in Athens, and had Justin Worley not exited the game with an injury for a portion of the second half Tennessee might have won. Much like Arkansas, the Volunteers have shown obvious growth but have no marquee SEC wins to back it up. Tennessee is heading in the right direction, but they’ll need a victory over a vulnerable Florida team this week to confirm this team is truly a threat in the East.
- Auburn: The Tigers looked far from impressive in a 45-17 win over Louisiana Tech last week (don’t let the score fool you), and they appear to be among the more vulnerable teams in a loaded SEC West, although they remain unbeaten. No one is questioning Auburn’s ability to run the ball, but if Nick Marshall and the passing game cannot find consistency this team could fall back in a pack of dangerous teams in the West.
- Florida: The Gators were off last week, got thumped by Alabama two weeks ago and were taken to triple overtime at home by Kentucky three week ago. Florida has no momentum entering Saturday’s game against a frisky Tennessee squad, and if Jeff Driskel does not show tremendous improvement after the bye week the Gators could be looking at a repeat of last year’s disastrous season.
- South Carolina: The Gamecocks had an ugly game against Missouri all but wrapped up, then gave the game away to drop their second SEC contest of the season. South Carolina is now 3-2 overall and just 2-2 in the SEC, which falls well short of preseason expectations. The Gamecocks have no identity, and if they cannot win convincingly in Lexington over a confident Kentucky team, their season is essentially over. South Carolina is far more desperate than confident, and thus come in at No. 13 in these rankings.
- Vanderbilt: The Commodores are back in the basement of these rankings after losing 17-7 on the road at Kentucky. Once again Vanderbilt’s quarterback play was regretful, and the team failed to score a point on offense against an average Kentucky defense. Vandy’s defense showed some promise in shutting out UK in the second half, but this team continues to sputter helplessly at the bottom of the East standings with no sign of improvement in sight.