Week 3 SEC Power Rankings
SEC Team Power Rankings
For the second week in a row, the marquee game of the college football weekend revolved around the SEC, and for the second time in as many weeks, it involved Georgia. Unlike last week, the Bulldogs were able to redeem themselves after dropping their opener to Clemson and gave South Carolina their first loss of the season. This win likely will have ramifications three months from now as Georgia is back in the BCS mix.
The eastern division saw Florida lose to Miami after a dreadful performance from Jeff Driskel and the Gators offense as Missouri and Tennessee are tied for the best record in the division. Raise your hand if you had that three weeks ago. Also on the east, Kentucky and Vanderbilt picked up their first wins of the year after dropping their openers to Ole Miss and Western Kentucky, respectively.
Alabama was idle this week in advance of the highly anticipated rematch with Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel who defeated the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa last season. The reigning Heisman winner looked as good as ever in throwing for 403 yards vs. Sam Houston State. While that game is the main event for the weekend — and maybe the entire season — don’t sleep on the Ole Miss game at Texas. The Rebels couldn’t quite hang with the Longhorns last season, but they can this year and I smell an upset.
Auburn and Arkansas look to have strong running games with young quarterbacks who are gaining more confidence every week. Speaking of young quarterbacks, Mississippi State may have a quarterback controversy on their hands with an impressive first start from Dak Prescott filling in for the injured Tyler Russell.
After two weeks, here is how I rank the teams from worst to first. Keep in mind this is the best and deepest conference — by far — in the nation and teams near the bottom of the rankings are still bowl-caliber teams. Check back in next Sunday to see how this weekend’s games shuffle the rankings.
14. Kentucky (1-1)
Kentucky improved to 1-1 with an outburst of points behind Max Smith at quarterback over Miami (OH). Mark Stoops' club will be in for a tough test next week when they host Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville.
13. Mississippi State (1-1)
This really was an unfair ranking for Mississippi State. At 13, I still believe this team can be in a bowl game despite the overwhelming lack of seniors on this team. They played with Oklahoma State for a half before losing Tyler Russell and dominated Alcorn State. Next week's game vs. Auburn will tell a lot about each team and a win for the Bulldogs will have them inside the top 10.
12. Missouri (2-0)
Missouri is tied with Tennessee for the best record in the SEC east, but the Tigers haven't looked convincing in their two wins. They played well against their level of competition, Murray State and Toledo, but I have doubts they can hang when conference play starts. Luckily for them they are off this week before traveling to Indiana next week.
11. Vanderbilt (1-1)
Vanderbilt cruised to an easy victory over Austin Peay one week after a crushing home loss to Ole Miss. The Commodores will face their stiffest test yet next week in Williams-Brice Stadium vs. South Carolina. A win there and the 'Dores will see a big rise in next week's rankings
10. Arkansas (2-0)
Arkansas was a little sluggish in the second and third quarters vs. Samford and even trailed entering the fourth quarter. However, that's when Arkansas realized they were Arkansas and started to run the ball down their throat. I still believe in this team despite not blowing out Samford and their ground game could be among the conference leaders in yards per game.
9. Auburn (2-0)
Nick Marshall looked much more comfortable behind center for Auburn in his second start and showcased his dual-threat abilities in the Tigers win over Arkansas State. The defense looks solid and Gus Malzahn has three quality running backs at his disposal. Auburn hosts Mississippi State Saturday and will look to exact revenge on the Bulldogs after MSU beat them last year.
8. Florida (1-1)
Disappointing loss by Florida at Miami this weekend, but not one that was surprising, what was surprising was the manner they lost. The five turnovers by the Gators with three in the red zone continued a disturbing trend by Jeff Driskel. Florida will benefit from a bye this week in advance of hosting Tennessee in two weeks.
7. Tennessee (2-0)
The Butch Jones era continues to go swimmingly at Tennessee as the Vols picked up a convincing win led by an opportunistic defense over Western Kentucky. The schedule gets considerably harder as they travel to Eugene to take on No. 2 Oregon on Saturday.
6. Ole Miss (2-0)
Ole Miss used their momentum from their week 1 win over Vanderbilt and raced out to an early lead vs. Southeast Missouri State and rested their starters late. This week's game at Texas will be a crucial test to determine how good this year's Rebel team can be. It's certainly winnable, but will need their best effort at a difficult road arena.
5. South Carolina (1-1)
South Carolina drops three spots from last week's ranking after a tough road loss to Georgia. I can't drop them too much considering it was to a preseason top five team on the road and it was close with nine minutes to go. If Steve Spurrier plays it safe, which is an oxymoron, and goes for the field goal to make it an eight-point game midway through the fourth instead of getting stuffed on fourth and goal, perhaps its a different outcome. The Gamecocks will regroup next week when they host Vanderbilt.
4. Georgia (1-1)
Georgia is a bad snap on a field goal away from potentially having two wins over top eight teams to start their season. Todd Gurley and Georgia rebounded in a big way with an 11-point win over South Carolina. Georgia is off this week before hosting North Texas on Sept. 21.
3. Texas A&M (2-0)
The Texas A&M offense can score with any team in the country, but defensively I have some concerns after giving up more points to Rice and Sam Houston State than Kevin Sumlin would prefer. This week's contest vs. Alabama is a candidate for the game of the year and could decide the western division.
2. LSU (2-0)
Offense looks to be as good as it's ever been at LSU and the defense continues to dominate with a host of new faces. The Tigers have Jeremy Hill back in the backfield and should continue to roll next week as they host Kent St.
1. Alabama (1-0)
Alabama was idle this week as Nick Saban and A.J. McCarron prepare for the epic rematch vs. Texas A&M this Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station. The winner of that game should be in the top spot next Sunday.