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SEC Power Rankings: The LOLOL Edition

SEC Championship Trophy

Here’s the deal. I’m about to quit doing these because what’s the point? I mean, until these teams give me a little better blueprint to work with, it sorta feels like I’m just spinning my wheels.

EXAMPLE: South Carolina beat Georgia by 3 who, without Todd Gurley, beat Mizzou by 34, who beat South Carolina by 1. Seriously. What are we supposed to do about that?

Throw in the hi-jinx that have been unfolding in the West, what with A&M’s back-to-back beatdowns, Bama’s bumblings and Auburn’s meltdown, and it’s clear that RTI friend Chad Fields is onto something.

Still, try we must. So here goes:

14. Vanderbilt

I believe the Vol Colonel, dignitary that he is, put it best: What a train wreck. They held on to upset Charleston Southern. Consider this: Charlotte started its FCS football program from scratch just two years ago and they managed to push Charleston Southern to overtime. Which essentially means Vanderbilt’s playing expansion-FCS level football.

13. Tennessee

Last week’s performance was less than encouraging, at least on the offensive side of the ball. The Vols get Ole Miss, then Bama before the schedule relents a bit. Which means by season’s end, I don’t think they’ll be in the 13th spot. But right now, they’re the only team aside from Vanderbilt and Arkansas without a conference win which is but one reason why I’ve sandwiched them between the two. There’s simply no other place to put this team. For now at least.

10. Missouri, Florida and Arkansas

Hey! A three way. Good times. But far from it on the field for these three. Florida dropped a wild one at home to LSU and you just get the sense that half of Gator Nation is rooting against Will Muschamp. Me? I think he’s doing a great job. Hope he’s there for like 50 years. (Or at least till UT beats him, because, seriously, the Vols can’t go 0-4 against a man that could go down as one of the worst Gator coaches in the last 30 years.)

Turns out Missouri’s loss to Indiana was more the norm than their win over South Carolina. Maty Mauk (a) spells his name like a pirate and (b) is having a dreadful year. His stats for the last two games: 21-55 (38%) for 229 yards (4.16 yds per attempt), zero touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The game before that was only slightly better, but it was also the debacle against Indiana.

Arkansas, in my opinion, is the tough luck “loser” of the three, if you will, because they’re playing pretty decent football. Their effort against Auburn was akin to UT’s against Oklahoma. Their effort against Bama akin to UT’s against Georgia. And they really let one get away against A&M, yet another close loss.

One more close loss than UT has against quality opponents (Florida does not count) gets them the nod over the Vols in the power rankings.

9. South Carolina

They’ve lost to Kentucky, Missouri and A&M. They’ve beaten Vandy and Georgia. (How in the world did they beat the Bulldogs?) Keep your eye on Spurrier’s gang. If they stabilize, they’ll finish the season in the middle of the SEC Power Rankings. If they don’t, they’ll drop like a stone.

Is Spurrier over it, y’all?

8. Kentucky

Don’t adjust your screen. Kentucky is ranked eighth in this week’s SEC Power Rankings. Second in the East. What else do you want me to do? Check out the standings and you’ll see the sitting in FIRST in the East. We’re two weeks from Halloween, for crying out loud! They’re ranked 29th in the nation. They have a really good quarterback in Patrick Towles. They face LSU who is ranked 26th. Which means if they win, they’ll crack the top 25.

But that’s a big IF. Because for all their promise, Kentucky still hasn’t played anyone. Their only quality win is against South Carolina who, as we’ve mentioned, has its fair share of issues. It will be interesting to see just how far the Cats have come Saturday night in Death Valley.

7. LSU

Not the best season in the world for the Tigers, but they’re limping along at 5-2, 1-2 in SEC play. That’s the good news. The bad news is they have Ole Miss, then Bama before going on the road to take on Arkansas and Texas A&M. Four very loseable games. As it is, they’re the second lowest ranked team in the West. By season’s end, they might just be the last.

6. Texas A&M

It will be interesting to see how the Aggies fair from here on out. Early, they looked like world-beaters, but that was also in part because most assumed South Carolina was a lot better than they’ve proven to be. The season opening win over the Gamecocks is their only conference win over a team that has a conference win (if that makes any sense).

After getting waylaid by the Mississippi schools, they head to T-town this week to take on a team that’s probably pretty anxious to shut some people up.

5. Georgia

Hooray! The East’s best team sits at No. 5 in the SEC Power Rankings. If that seems too low to you (and I bet it doesn’t), then consider this: The SEC West is not only undefeated against teams outside the SEC, they’re also undefeated against against the SEC East. Which is why it will be very interesting to see how the highest ranked team in the East fares against the lowest ranked team in the West when the Bulldogs take on Arkansas on Saturday.

It’s clear that Chubb is making fans forget all about Gurley (record scratch), but will Chubb be able to stand up against the Hogs’ physical ground attack (oh my)? I have a feeling that’s going to be a great game in Fayetteville.

4. Alabama

I think I’m in the minority here. Don’t get me wrong. People are right when they say the Crimson Tide looks like a team struggling to find its identity. Particularly on offense. And I’d also agree that they don’t look as dominating on defense as they once did.

But all the  Kiffin hate, Bama’s-done talk, and UT-might-just-be-able-to-beat-Bama talk scares the hell out of me. Because while I’d agree that the Tide don’t seem to be what they once were, it still seems unwise to give them bulletin board material.

I see their game at home against A&M as a weather balloon of sorts for those wondering what to expect from them in Knoxville week after next. I have a feeling they wax A&M, but I hope I’m wrong.

3. Auburn

One can only wonder what type of game it would have been in Starkville had Auburn not come out of the gates with a couple of self-inflicted wounds. Simply put, you’re going to lose 19 out of 20 games to top-flight schools when you turn the ball over on your first two offensive plays. Particularly on the road.

Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone coming out of the West unscathed, so Auburn has a chance. But the next few weeks will be critical to those chances, two of them featuring road games against Georgia and Ole Miss.

2. Ole Miss

Every Tuesday, the RTI boys and I get together for a coupla hours, in part to sort out the power rankings. We were all in agreement that the margin between the Mississippi schools was razor thin. But if defense wins championships, it sure is hard to go against the Rebels. Plus, they have an easier path of getting to the Egg Bowl undefeated. Reed, Houston and Daniel all give the slight nod to Ole Miss, but I have them ranked at No. 2.

1. Mississippi State

Partly because I’m stubborn like that. But partly because I just can’t help myself. I genuinely believe Mississippi State is better than Ole Miss for two primary reasons. First, Mississippi State’s last three games. They didn’t just beat three top 10 teams in a row. They waxed three top 10 teams in a row. (Though I would concede that LSU wound up making a game of it, but still…)

More importantly, however, I think Mississippi State is the more complete team. Ole Miss can’t run between the tackles. Consider this: Mississippi State’s top two rushers (at 1265 yards) have been nearly three times as productive as Ole Miss’ top two rushers (at 461 yards).

It’s a virtual coin toss. And I reserve the right to flip flop even if both continue to win. But for right now, I’m with the AP voters. Mississippi State is the best team in the land.

Which is why they sit atop this week’s SEC Power Rankings.

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