Sports, Thrill of Victory

Southeastern Conference power rankings, Week 3

Last weekend’s schedule of Southeastern Conference games was perhaps as unattractive a slate as we’ll see all year, and hence, there wasn’t a lot of movement in the rankings. Anyway, here’s an update on how I rank the 14 teams heading into Week 3.

1. Alabama (2-0): A 41-0 pounding of Florida Atlantic boosted ‘Bama’s defensive stats (145 yards allowed) and prepared the ‘Tide for an even easier game against Southern Miss this weekend.

2. Georgia (1-0): The Bulldogs rested for a weekend in preparation for a huge test at South Carolina, a place where UGA’s always had trouble scoring points.

3. Auburn (2-0): Through two games, the Tigers have rolled up 544 yards and 52 points per game, on average. Auburn, though, has eight tough games on its schedule and the first one won’t be for two more weeks in a road trip to Kansas State.

4. LSU (2-o): Tiger quarterback Anthony Jennings wins the early-season award for the strangest stat line: he’s got a 47.1 percent completion rate, yet has thrown five touchdowns to zero interceptions and averages a remarkable 12.6 yards per throw.

5. Texas A&M (2-0): We’re all still waiting to see how legit A&M’s numbers–a nation-leading 655 yards of total offense and 62.5 points per game, against a very respectable 338 and 15.5 allowed–are. Unfortunately, it’ll be four games before now, when A&M goes to Mississippi State, before we’ll know more.

6. Ole Miss (2-0): The Rebels are known for coach Hugh Freeze’s offensive prowess, but the defense–288 yards, eight points a game–has been stout, too. The Rebels head into a home game with Alabama on Oct. 4 undefeated and ready for their biggest game in years.

7. Mississippi State (2-0): Was allowing 435 yards and 34 points to UAB a chink in the armor, or just a one-game blip? If it’s the former, a trip to South Alabama this weekend could be a little tougher than expected.

8. South Carolina (1-1): The Gamecocks allowed 453 yards to a powerful East Carolina offense in a 33-23 victory over the weekend; if you’re looking for some good news, that’s 17.2 points and 13 yards below what the Pirates averaged a season ago. Seeing running back Mike Davis healthy enough to carry 18 times for 101 yards was good, too.

9. Missouri (2-0): It’s been hard to discern exactly what the Tigers are after a pair of so-so performances against a pair of so-so foes. Of course, that sounds an awful lot like what we were saying about Mizzou this time a year ago…

10. Tennessee (2-0): The Vols may not have been quite as sharp as they were a week ago, but looked solid in a defeat of Arkansas State. That road trip to Oklahoma would be a whole lot easier with injured receiver Von Pearson, who looks like a serious play-maker.

11. Florida (1-0): Okay, so Florida’s 655 yards and 65 points came against Eastern Michigan, which may be the country’s worst FBS team. Still, Gator fans will take it: UF couldn’t score points against much of anyone a season ago.

12. Arkansas (1-1): The Razorbacks, winless for nearly a year, got off the schnide with a 73-7 drilling of lowly Nichols State. If struggling Texas Tech’s not careful this weekend, UA may have a winning streak about which to boast when it leaves Lubbock.

13. Kentucky (2-0): A win over Ohio doesn’t normally count for much, but after coach Mark Stoops’s club allowed three points and 223 yards vs. Ohio on Saturday, that’s perhaps a small sign of progress in Lexington.

14. Vanderbilt (0-2): The Commodores have been unimaginably bad through two weeks, scoring their one touchdown only when an opponent mis-handled a punt. The only thing that could conceivably make things worse is if Vandy can’t handle UMass this weekend, and that’s far from a gimme the way the ‘Dores have played.