Thrill of Victory

Alabama stays atop the SEC power rankings

Last weekend was one of the more interesting weekends of Southeastern Conference football played thus far for two reasons: we got to see how Alabama would respond to a challenge, as well as who’d win that epic Georgia-LSU clash. But that wasn’t all of interest in the SEC last weekend, and here’s how our power rankings shape up after the fifth weekend of football.

  1. Alabama (4-0, 2-0 SEC): Georgia looks great, but it would seem ridiculous to rank anyone of the two-time defending national champions now that they have two wins over Top 25 clubs (and another nice resume´bullet point in a win over Virginia Tech, a team that just missed making the rankings this week.) So maybe the Crimson Tide aren’t the machine they were the last two years, but after three tough tests in four games, they’re out-scoring opponents 35-14.5 (though the yardage totals are a less-impressive 387-331) on a per-game basis. With the possible exception of Arkansas on Oct. 19, ‘Bama won’t be tested until LSU on Nov. 9, and then probably not again at all until the SEC title game.
  2. Georgia (3-1, 2-0): The Bulldogs have probably played the toughest slate in America to this point, and yet have emerged with just one loss and their national title hopes perhaps still intact. Defense (32.5 points, 404 yards per game) is still a concern, but nobody can stop Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs offensively (41.4, 554). Star running back Todd Gurley could miss a little time with a sprained ankle, but between the fact that UGA still has Keith Marshall running behind an awesome offensive line, the Bulldogs can withstand that hit.
  3. LSU (4-1, 1-1): There’s on shame in losing by a field goal in Athens the way LSU did Saturday. Remember, I had these teams as “2a” and “2b” a week ago, and while Georgia earned the nod with the victory, Saturday’s game only proved the teams are as evenly-matched as we suspected.
  4. South Carolina (3-1, 1-1): The Gamecocks survived a scary road trip to Central Florida, which got scarier when quarterback Connor Shaw hurt his shoulder for the umpteeth time early and couldn’t play any more. The Gamecocks have Dylan Thompson to fill in, and for a backup, he’s pretty good. But, he doesn’t have Shaw’s arm or mobility, so watch this situation going forward. It appears Shaw will play against Kentucky.
  5. Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1): Take Georgia, make its offense even more potent (though also more one-dimensional), add nothing that even resembles a defense, and you get the Aggies.
  6. Ole Miss (3-1, 1-1): Okay, so the Rebels stumbled big-time against Alabama. But: a. It’s Alabama, and; b. the Rebels still have road wins at Texas and Vandy, which is two better wins than most of the league has.
  7. Florida (3-1, 2-0): Gators open league play with the league’s two worst teams, don’t impress anyone on offense ad may or may not have something in Jeff Driskel’s replacement, Tyler Murphy (72 percent completion rate the last two weeks). However, what they do have is defense: the Gators lead the SEC in rush and pass defense by a considerable margin.SEC Football
  8. Vanderbilt (3-2, 0-2): I know, I ranked the Commodores 12th in my poll last week, and a win over UAB shouldn’t normally move a team up four slots. What I wanted to see is if the team I saw last year — and remember, Vandy returned 15 senior starters from a team that finished in the Top 25 — would show up this season, and it finally did on Saturday. The ‘Dores haven’t played their best, but let’s also forget they’re not far from being 4-1, either.
  9. Missouri (4-0, 0-0): I’m not sure how much a 4-0 start means when Missouri’s best win is over Indiana, but the Tigers’ offense does look impressive, and a win at Vanderbilt this weekend would probably mean more than the other four combined.
  10. Arkansas (3-2, 0-1): The Razorbacks gave A&M a good run over the weekend. I’m still not quite sure what to do with them as am still getting flashbacks to that awful 2012 season, and they haven’t beaten anyone yet. This weekend’s test against Florida will be a good one — if the Razorbacks can move the ball, there’s hope.
  11. Auburn (3-1, 1-1): The Tigers aren’t that impressive on paper — they have given up exactly as many yards as they’ve allowed — and yet they do have a pair of decent wins over Washington State and Mississippi State.
  12. Mississippi State (2-2, 0-1): I’ve been down on the Bulldogs for a while, but it’s worth noting that they’re out-gaining opponents by 143 yards a game. MSU just needs a quality win, which… (scratches head, flips through record books, comes up empty…)
  13. Tennessee (3-2, 0-1): Watching the Vols have to dodge a last-minute bullet against a South Alabama team that’s only in its fifth year of playing football at any level made me feel as if I were living in some sort of parallel universe somewhere. The best news of a UT fan’s weekend came when former coach Lane Kiffin got fired at Southern Cal.
  14. Kentucky (1-3, 0-1): The Wildcats never really had a shot at Florida, even with Tyler Murphy getting some of his first real reps for the Gators. UK managed just 173 yards of offense. A drubbing at South Carolina awaits.