Every Wednesday, we rank the SEC and Big 12 teams in one power poll. The order of the SEC teams is based on the Week 3 SDS SEC Power Poll.

USC and Stanford in the Pac-12. Georgia and South Carolina in the SEC. Each conference has two headliners with an early loss. But whereas the SEC has grown less top-heavy than expected before the season, with Texas A&M and Ole Miss joining the three traditional SEC West powers in the AP Top 10, the Pac-12 has become Oregon and then everybody else.

Thus, the SEC claims six of the top eight spots in the combined rankings this week, with the middle of the pack split more evenly.


Look familiar? Thought so. Even if this group picks up a loss or two, I don’t expect much movement here the rest of the season.

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Auburn


In case you missed it, Rice outgained Texas A&M on Saturday. You know, the Aggies? With the second-most efficient scoring offense in the nation? Meanwhile, LSU is out to prove it isn’t a paper Tiger, but the team’s passing game isn’t what it was in 2014. UCLA is the most vulnerable team ranked highly in the preseason that has yet to lose, as the Bruins have been plugging holes in a leaky boat for some time now. South Carolina controls its destiny in the weaker SEC East, but has a loss, while Ole Miss must prove it can rise in the SEC West pecking order.

4. Texas A&M
5. LSU
7. South Carolina
8. Ole Miss


Bear with me here. In most conferences, all of these teams would be flag-bearers. But in the Pac-12 and SEC, they’re buried beneath the skin, so to speak. But they’re not very deep and they’re very much alive. Georgia, Stanford and USC all have losses — the Trojans did get embarrassed at Boston College on Saturday. Arizona State and Missouri still are unbeaten with huge games looming in two weeks.

9. Arizona State
10. Georgia
11. Stanford
12. Missouri
13. USC


Football Outsiders’ FEI ranks the Huskies at No. 29 and the Bulldogs at No. 31, which seems about right. The needle for each of these programs, based on public reaction, has swung toward and away from the Top 25 already this season. For now, they’re just outside it, but one of these teams probably will get into the poll before the end of the season.

14. Mississippi State
15. Washington


For now, these teams do one or two things well enough to knock off a ranked opponent by playing a very good game.

16. Florida
17. Arizona
18. Arkansas
19. Oregon State


Ironic (a mistake?) that Vandy isn’t in the group with such a nerdy title. But all of these teams started the season with some level of excitement (OK, Washington State’s three-point home loss to Rutgers is stretching it), and can expect a steady decline as the season shifts to conference play. Kentucky and Tennessee lost last week, while Cal and Utah won’t survive unscathed much longer in the Pac-12.

20. Kentucky
21. Cal
22. Tennessee
23. Utah
24. Washington State


These teams have plenty in common, but nothing as concrete as fourth-quarter comebacks against UMass in their lone win. Colorado’s came on the road, and the Buffaloes played a respectable game against No. 16 Arizona State last weekend.

25. Colorado
26. Vanderbilt