Power Rankings in the SEC After Week 5
Georgia Outlasts LSU, Make Big Move in SEC Power Rankings
This was a fantastic week of SEC football with the headliner being the back-and-forth affair in Athens between LSU and Georgia which may end up being one of the games of the year in the conference. With all due respect to the Alabama-Texas A&M game and the looming LSU-Alabama battle, the Tigers-Bulldogs game on Saturday was compelling drama.
Of course there has to be a loser and for that game, LSU suffered their first defeat of the season as they came up one play short of Aaron Murray's team, but Zach Mettenberger played his heart out and is easily the biggest surprise performer of the conference the first month. Nevertheless, Georgia made a big move in this week’s rankings — as one would expect — but how far should LSU fall?
The undercard to this past weekend’s slate of games was Ole Miss traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama, and the boys from Oxford were confident heading into this matchup. After four quarters of play, Hugh Freeze’s team was humbled by the two-time defending champions, but all hope is not lost as it gave the Rebels a chance to see how far they’ve come in the last two years under Freeze.
The defense played tough and if not for some overzealous coaching decisions, it could have been a one-possession game late. However, the team I’ve been championing since last winter fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, and I’m curious to see how this team responds to adversity.
After four weeks, I can no longer brush off their start, and the team who started the season near the bottom of the rankings is climbing toward the top half of the conference. To see who that mystery team is and how the rest of the conference stacks up against each other, click “next” at the top right of image of Mark Richt.
14. Kentucky (1-3)
Last week: Kentucky lost to No. 20 Florida 24-7
This week: Kentucky at No. 13 South Carolina
The Wildcats have been in the basement all season long and will likely be there at least over the next two weeks with Alabama on the schedule.
13. Tennessee (3-2)
Last week: Tennessee defeats South Alabama 31-24
This week: Tennessee hosts No. 6 Georgia
The Vols picked up the win but it didn't look pretty as South Alabama was on the precipice of tying it up late in Knoxville. Tennessee has the No. 112 ranked pass offense.
12. Mississippi State (2-2)
Last week: Idle
This week: Mississippi State hosts No. 10 LSU
The Bulldogs had an extra week to prepare for the Tigers, but will that be enough to beat a school they haven't beat since 1999? Tyler Russell is expected to be back at quarterback, but how much will he play with Dak Prescott looking great in relief?
11 Vanderbilt (3-2)
Last week: Vanderbilt defeated UAB 52-24
This week: Vanderbilt hosts Missouri
Vandy got big performances from quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who passed for 334 yards vs. UAB and running back Jerron Seymour, who had 107 yards and two TDs. A loss to Mizzou could set off a four-game losing streak with three ranked opponents up next.
10. Auburn (3-1)
Last week: Idle
This week: Auburn hosts No. 24 Ole Miss
Auburn will try to do what Alabama did to the Rebels last week and run it down the throats of the Rebels defense. Auburn has the horses to do so with the No. 22 rushing attack at more than 232 yards per game, but will face an Ole Miss team that played the Crimson Tide awfully tough on defense except for two big runs.
9. Arkansas (3-2)
Last week: Arkansas lost to No. 9Texas A&M 45-33
This week: Arkansas travels to Florida
The Hogs hung in there against the high-powered Aggies, but just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. It was only a five-point game entering the fourth quarter. Arkansas just doesn't have the depth they will have in the near future, but there were a couple positives to be taken out of this game. The ground game got back on track after struggling the week prior and Brandon Allen was back and actually passed for more yards than Johnny Manziel. This Arkansas team will not be a pushover like last year and will put some good teams on upset alert -- like Florida this week.
8. Missouri (4-0)
Last week: Missouri defeated Arkansas State 41-19
This week: Missouri at Vanderbilt
Missouri has to be the surprise of the conference through the first month of the season after only winning five games last year. James Franklin orchestrates the No. 9 scoring offense and the No. 29 passing game, and the Tigers boast the No. 16 rushing attack. October will determine how legit this 4-0 start has been with Vandy up Saturday before the team facing the three SEC east elite.
7. Ole Miss (3-1)
Last week: Ole Miss lost to Alabama 25-0
This week: Ole Miss at Auburn
The Rebels are playing their fourth road game in the first five games, but the next two home games are against two top-10 teams in A&M and LSU, so this is a relative must-win to maintain the momentum built in the 3-0 start. A quick touchdown on offense to start the game will wash that awful taste out of their mouths from the Alabama game.
6. Florida (3-1)
Last week: Florida defeated Kentucky 24-7
This week: Florida hosts Arkansas
The Tyler Murphy era is fully underway in Gainesville and after one start, it is looking pretty solid. He was helped out by a breakout game from Matt Jones in the backfield and one of the nation's sickest defense. I still have my reservations about the passing game, but that defense is good enough to win if the offense gives them 13 points.
5. South Carolina (3-1)
Last week: South Carolina defeated UCF 28-25
This week: South Carolina at Kentucky
The Gamecocks were almost upset by the Golden Knights last week, but even though they escaped with a win, they did lose quarterback Connor Shaw and running back Brandon Wilds. The positive is that Dylan Thompson is more than capable of filling in for Shaw and Mike Davis has been perhaps the second-biggest surprise on offense to only Zach Mettenberger at LSU.
4. Texas A&M (4-1)
Last week: Texas A&M defeated Arkansas 45-33
This week: Idle
The Aggies' offense may be even better than it was last year and boast the No. 6 scoring attack, No. 5 passing offense and No. 29 rushing attack with Ben Malena serving as the featured back alongside Manziel.
3. LSU (4-1)
Last week: LSU lost at Georgia 44-41
This week: LSU travels to Mississippi State
LSU came up one play short on the road vs. the Bulldogs, but Mettenberger had the game of his life in the losing effort. The defense was non-existent as was the running game. LSU gets a chance to get right again vs. a State program who has not defeated the Bayou Bengals since their 1999 season when they won the west division and fielded the top defense in the land.
2. Georgia (3-1)
Last week: No. 9 Georgia defeated No. 6 LSU 44-41
This week: Georgia at Tennessee
Georgia managed to get through their hellish September schedule with three top-10 teams on it with a 3-1 record and will only face one more team that is currently ranked on their schedule. They face a Tennessee team who is far from being ranked, but will be motivated to upset the 'Dawgs with a number of top recruits in Knoxville for the game.
1. Alabama (4-0)
Last week: Alabama defeated Ole Miss 25-0
This week: Alabama hosts Georgia State
It's almost boring to write about Alabama this year because it looks as if this team is just waiting for LSU on Nov. 9 and the chance to get back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game and the BCS Title Game. They shut out Ole Miss and didn't even really look that impressive -- all things considered -- in the process. Alabama is averaging 35 per game, but have so much more left in the tank including getting Amari Cooper involved in the offense. He has only nine plays for 100 yards this season after a 1,000-yard freshman season last year.