And then there were two left at the top of the SEC … and there was a complete jumble behind them.

Week 7 might be the most confusing grade card yet to give out. But let’s process a wild weekend, and pass them out.

As per our tradition, we’ll give each team a grade and then pick a couple of teams for hall passes (good work) or detention (bad work) on offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.

Overall grades

SEC West

Alabama: A

Alabama absolutely dominated a banged up Tennessee team in Knoxville. And maybe they should have, but while they did it, they made another case that in the SEC, there is Bama, and there’s everybody else.

Arkansas: A-

The Razorbacks gave up some big chunks of yardage to the Rebels, which is why they don’t quite join Alabama at the head of the class. But when it was winning time, Arkansas made the plays, and beat the Rebels for the third consecutive year. Alabama went 1-2 against Ole Miss during that time span.


The Tigers were impressive again, moving the ball at will in the air and on the ground and playing stifling defense. Southern Miss isn’t Tennessee or Ole Miss, but there’s not much else to say against LSU’s effort. The Tigers look like a key player in the West race, and that was unimaginable a few short weeks ago.

Ole Miss: C+

It’s hard to put a happy face on this one for Ole Miss. The Rebels put up 400 yards, but the defense gave up more. Ole Miss has been a mild disappointment, and if they don’t  change things soon, they’re closer to Music City Bowl than a New Year’s Day game.

Mississippi State: C-

It’s not really that State played that badly, because their swarming defense gave BYU headaches all night. But the Bulldogs offense has been hit and miss all year, and it’s left them vulnerable in close games. Dan Mullen’s magic hasn’t saved them this year, and a loss next week at Kentucky would all but formally end their bowl hopes.

Auburn, Texas A&M: Incomplete

Fall break for these two.

SEC East

Vanderbilt: A-

Yes, I’m giving a great grade to a team that was outgained 421-171. Vandy gave up 346 passing yards to Georgia, barely threw for 100 themselves, and managed just 1.9 yards per carry on the ground. And they won, for the first time on the road in Derek Mason’s three seasons at Vandy. How many teams ever win a road game where they compare at -250 yards of offense and break even on turnovers?

It was the opposite of pretty, but I’ve got to reward the Commodores for making a win out of almost nothing.

Florida: B+

With Luke Del Rio back, Florida can be who they are. A sparkling defense that shut down Drew Lock and Missouri’s passing game and a competent offense that will grind out wins against weaker foes. The Gators find themselves in the driver’s seat for the SEC East, but nobody is entirely sure how that will hold up against decent competition down the stretch.

Georgia: D+

So by the same token as above on Vandy, I’m giving Georgia an awful grade for a game in which they racked up 421 yards, held the opponent to 171 yards, and didn’t turn the ball over. The inability to get Nick Chubb and Sony Michel going on Vandy the week after the Commodores were gashed by Kentucky’s ground attack has to be troubling. So was the play calling in putting Chubb at fullback on the game’s decisive play.

Missouri: D-

Missouri looked like a competition for a few weeks, but the passing game, which torched weak defenses, is getting eaten alive by quality opponents. And the Tigers looked like an all-but-certain bowl team, but now look to be staying home this winter.

Tennessee: F

Not an F because they lost to Alabama. An F because they looked completely overmatched. Offensively, it felt like watching Kentucky’s game with Bama again. And if UT shouldn’t beat Alabama, they at least shouldn’t look like Kentucky.

Kentucky, South Carolina: Incomplete

Not the first time you’ve seen “incomplete” in connection with these two.


Hall Pass

Alabama: 594 total yards against UT. Sure, these banged up Vols aren’t the ’85 Bears, but statement made.

Arkansas: Excellent balance pulls the Hogs through. They passed for 229 and rushed for 200, and gutted out the W.


Missouri: Sure, it’s Florida. But Drew Lock can’t go 4-for-18 for 39 yards and a pair of pick-sixes.

Tennessee: If you told us that they would be outrushed 438-32, I think we all would have gotten the picture.


Hall Pass

Alabama: Held UT to 163 total yards and equaled the Vols offense in point production. They’re pretty solid.

Vanderbilt: Allowing 421 yards and forcing no turnovers equals … 16 points against? Lots of grit from the Commodores, and LB Zach Cunningham is seriously underappreciated.


Missouri: Sure, the offense gave them nothing to work with, but the Gators offense put up 523 yards, including 7.4 yards per carry on the ground.

Ole Miss: Plenty of firepower on this Ole Miss team. … The offense has played well enough to be undefeated. The defense has brought about three losses.

Special teams

Hall Pass

Vanderbilt: Part of the secret to Vandy’s success was on special teams. Darrius Sims had a 95-yard kick return to set up 7 of Vandy’s 17 points, and the kicking game was rock solid as well.


Ole Miss: Mediocre punting and a missed extra point didn’t help the Rebs’ chances.


Hall Pass

Alabama: They just might have something in this Saban guy.

Vanderbilt: Derek Mason picked a great time to win his first SEC road game in three seasons. It’s also a great argument for why he deserves — at least — a fourth year.


Tennessee: Again, it’s not the loss. It’s the utter lack of imagination that disappointed here. You don’t get many chances like this, and UT played it as conservative as possible.

Missouri: Many good candidates for this spot, but the Tigers’ quick shift from contender to also-ran earns Barry Odom the last spot in the doghouse.