Week 5 SEC Power Rankings: Can we rank First-half Ole Miss?
First-half Ole Miss is the best team in the country.
First-half Ole Miss outscored the No. 1, No. 4 and No. 12 teams in the country by an aggregate score of 83-30.
There is no stopping first-half Ole Miss.
Except … the second half.
Saturday, however, even those troublesome extra 30 minutes were no match as the Rebels showed no let up in a 45-14 drubbing of Georgia that altered the way we viewed both teams and both divisions.
A look then at the SEC power rankings after Week 4, entering Week 5.
14. South Carolina
Last week: 11
Skinny: The bottom four teams are essentially interchangeable, but the Gamecocks take up residence in the cellar after mustering just 10 points at Kentucky. Why punish them so severely? The Wildcats allowed their first three opponents to reach 42 or more.
13. Mississippi State
Last week: 12
Skinny: The Bulldogs allowed 35 points to a UMass team that scored exactly 35 points combined in its first three games.
Last week: 13
Skinny: The Wildcats still have issues. They needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to win at home against a team that has scored just six touchdowns in four games. Stephen Johnson, so spectacular in relief in Week 3, looked much more mortal in Week 4.
Last week: 14
Skinny: I don’t know if it was a sign of guts or a sign he didn’t trust his passing game, but Derek Mason put the ball in the belly of his best player, Ralph Webb, and was willing to live with the result.
10.5 Second-Half Ole Miss
Last week: NR
Skinny: It’s unusual to rank teams in 30-minute intervals, but this season has been a tale of two halves for the Rebels. Saturday, they played a complete three quarters, which is one quarter in the right direction.
Last week: 10
Skinny: Auburn won a game without scoring a touchdown, and it wouldn’t even have done that had LSU’s Danny Etling saved just one more second in between plays during LSU’s final drive.
9.5 First 3 Weeks Tennessee
Last week: 8
Skinny: Ole Miss isn’t the only SEC team we can’t quite figure out. Which was the blip: Early September Tennessee or Week 4 Tennessee? We’ll find out, definitively, over the next three weeks.
Last week: 7
Skinny: Preseason No. 5 in the AP Poll to Week 5 No. 9 in the SEC Power Rankings. No Les, no more. It had to end this way, but football fans and writers sure are going to miss the Mad Hatter.
Last week: 6
Skinny: The Gators talked a better game than they played Saturday in Knoxville.
Last week: 3
Skinny: This might be an overreaction, but Georgia was so thoroughly overmatched in the film room and on the field it forces you to re-examine just how good the Dawgs are. Granted, not every team, particularly not every SEC East team, will be able to exploit their issues quite like Ole Miss did … but Tennessee certainly can Saturday.
Last week: 9
Skinny: Missouri didn’t jump because it scored 79 points. It jumped because Drew Lock is on pace to throw for 4,500 yards. Nobody has slowed him down yet — and this offense is only going to get better with more reps.
Last week: 4
Skinny: No shame in Saturday’s effort or result. Texas A&M is going to do that to a lot of good teams this year. Austin Allen is better than we possibly could have known, as if Bret Bielema needed another reason to sound excited.
4. Ole Miss
Last week: 5
Skinny: If the SEC’s top four teams always played like they played on Saturday, any one of them could win the national championship.
3. Texas A&M
Last week: 2
Skinny: America has been slow to react to what the Aggies are doing, in part because hot September starts are nothing new under Kevin Sumlin. This team, this year, is different. Credit Trevor Knight — the only real difference between this year and the past two years — for calming the seas.
2. Week 4 Tennessee
Last week: NR
Skinny: We hadn’t seen Week 4 Tennessee since Jan. 1 in Tampa, when Joshua Dobbs did all sorts of Joshua Dobbs things to Northwestern. Dobbs accounted for 5 touchdowns Saturday against Florida. He was an unstoppable mix of run and pass — career-high 319 yards, including key deep strikes. This is the Tennessee we predicted to win the SEC East. This is the Tennessee I predicted to win the SEC championship.
(Disclaimer: I made that pick banking that Nick Saban would not turn his team over to Jalen Hurts …)
Last week: 1
Skinny: In Jalen Hurts I Trust. So, too, do Saban and Lane Kiffin.
0.5 First-Half Ole Miss
Last week: NR
Skinny: The only team in America that’s better than Alabama.
Chris Wright is Executive Editor at SaturdayDownSouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.