1. Alabama (1-0): We’ve gotten two glimpses at every SEC team except the Crimson Tide, which was off last weekend. Our first look at Alabama didn’t leave the kind of impression we wanted — 206 yards of total offense hardly screams “juggernaut” — but that’s going to improve. Being that they’ve won the last two national titles, the Crimson Tide have earned this spot until someone knocks them off. Could that be Texas A&M this weekend? My guess is “no,” but everyone remembers what happened last year.
2. Georgia (1-1): Georgia’s response to losing to Clemson was to go in and beat the Tigers’ in-state rival, South Carolina, behind another fantastic offensive performance. The defense hasn’t come around yet, and it may not wind up being elite, but UGA’s offense may be as potent as anyone’s east of Oregon.
3. LSU (2-0): The Tigers followed an impressive Week 1 win over TCU with a rout of UAB. The best news for LSU was great play out of Zach Mettenberger for the second-straight week. It’s a close pick between Georgia and the Tigers for that No. 2 spot, and the question as to which is better should be answered on Sept. 28, when the two teams play.
4. South Carolina (2-0): The Gamecocks couldn’t repeat last year’s 35-7 victory over Georgia, and yielding 13.4 yards per pass attempt perhaps raises some questions about the strength of the Carolina secondary. Meanwhile, Jadeveon Clowney is complaining that the coaching staff isn’t putting him in position to make plays. I’ll be watching closely to see if this is a one-week blip, or if a pretty good Vanderbilt passing attack can make the Gamecocks look bad this weekend also. The good news for Carolina: running back Mike Davis (9.4 yards per carry) looks like a real force.
5. Texas A&M (2-0): Pounding Sam Houston State for 714 yards, 38 first downs and 65 points didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about the Aggies. I’m not sure how much giving up 390 yards and 28 points tells us about the Aggie defense given how many players were missing from that unit, either. We’ll have more clarity this week with Alabama up, and those defenders coming back.
6. Ole Miss (2-0): We learned little about the Rebels in Week 2, but seeing Ole Miss beat Vandy in Week 1 told me what I needed to know. The offense is legit, and the defense should be better, and Ole Miss could well win 10 games this year, starting this Saturday with a victory at Texas that I think will happen.
7. Florida (1-1): The Gators’ defense continues to look great, but Jeff Driskel’s two key turnovers and the Gators’ inability to find a breakaway runner didn’t make anyone feel better about the offense. Don’t underestimate Will Muschamp’s ability to win ugly, but the Gators are probably heading for a season closer to the 7-6 campaign of 2011 than last year’s 11-2 campaign.
8. Vanderbilt (1-1): As with Ole Miss and A&M, the Commodores’ pounding of Austin Peay proved nothing. Still, Week 1 proved that VU and Ole Miss are about the same team, and if the ‘Dores can pull an upset against South Carolina last weekend, that gives James Franklin the only thing he’s realistically lacking on his VU resume´: a win over a Top 25 team.
9. Auburn (2-0): For the second-straight weekend, the Tigers posted a solid win. I still have a lot of questions about an Auburn defense that’s given up over 400 yards in both games, but the Tigers can really run the football and are much better coached than they were a year ago.
10. Arkansas (2-0): The 31-21 win over Samford didn’t tell us a lot, but after two games, it seems Arkansas will likely be much better in two areas this year: running the football and overall defense. This week’s opponent, Southern Miss, sports a 14-game losing streak, so we won’t know a whole lot more about the Razorbacks for at least another week.
11. Missouri (2-0): A win over Toledo was a nice step, but one troubling stat from the game: the Tigers were out-gained 387-384. Missouri has a week off until a potential shootout with Indiana on Sept. 21.
12. Tennessee (2-0): The Vols’ game with Western Kentucky was such a strange one that it’s still hard to get a great read on UT. My suspicion is that the Vols are still mediocre on both sides of the ball, but the problem is now that UT’s meat-grinder schedule won’t provide us a more fair test about this team until November.
13. Mississippi State (2-0): The Bulldogs did what the Bulldogs do best on Saturday, which is to humiliate weak opponents. Saturday’s game against Auburn gives us a better read on MSU, and getting quarterback Tyler Russell (concussion) back should help.
14. Kentucky (1-1): A dominating win over Miami (Ohio) was a step in the right direction, but I need to see more from the Wildcats in a game that matters before elevating them out of the basement.