Wanna hear a secret? I missed last week’s Power Rankings. And I’m late on this week’s. And, no, it’s not because I’m a slacker. It’s because I’ve been really busy working on a couple of things behind the scenes that we can’t wait to tell you about.
But wait, we will, and dive right into this week’s rankings without further delay.
Vanderbilt has the notable distinction of being the only team in the power rankings to occupy the exact same spot each week, so even if the Commodore’s play on the field has left something to be desired, there is, indeed, something to be said for consistency.
Speaking of consistency, the Wildcats have been just that. At least in the different halves of the season. The first half, they looked great, making it clear they were much improved. But it was also clear that things would get tougher for Big Blue once they started playing better competition, which they did during the second half of the season. Hence their five straight losses by an average of 25.6 points. The Vols hung half a hundred on them, leaving the Wildcats with but one chance remaining to get their bowl-qualifying win.
This one is tough. On the one hand, they’re 4-4 with quality win over one of the two top teams in the East in Georgia. But on the other, they had a free-fall loss against South Carolina over the weekend and now sit with a lame duck coach. So here they land in spot No. 12.
Another tough one. On the one hand, Arkansas only has one conference win, but on the other, they played extremely tight games against the two top teams in the West in Alabama and Mississippi State, and they also play in the West which is obviously brutal. So we felt they deserved props for what they’ve accomplished. Don’t tell me for a second that Ole Miss isn’t scared to death of their matchup in Fayetteville this weekend, land shark defense or not!
10. South Carolina
Spurrier’s team has been all over the place this year with more bad performances than good. But they got a huge win in the Swamp, the one that ended Muschamp’s (mediocre) reign, even if he is going to coach out the rest of the season.
If I’m not mistaken, the Vols landed inside the top 10 of the RTI SEC Power Rankings for the first time all year. Armed with a win over South Carolina, and a real chance to win their remaining two games, they could finish as high as 4-4 in the conference. But even if they split (because Vanderbilt seems like a given), they’d still finish with the same conference record as the Gamecocks with the W in head-to-head action, so No. 9 spot, one ahead of South Carolina, is, indeed, the right spot for UT. But if they win both those last two games, look for them to continue to rise in the SEC Power Rankings.
8. Texas A&M
We struggled on where to put the Aggies. One could argue they deserve to be a couple of spots higher, but their impressive win over Auburn was not only a bit flukey, but also rendered a bit less impressive after Georgia’s dismantling of Auburn over the weekend. With a middle of the road SEC record at 3-4, but with some really big blowouts in those four losses, it seems only fitting to put them smack dab in the middle of the pack, specifically, the lower of the two middle spots.
The Tigers clock in at No. 7 with a 3-4 record. It’d be the other way around had they taken care of business against Arkansas, but they didn’t, getting shutout 17-0 to boot. They travel to A&M to try to square their conference record on Thanksgiving day.
The Tigers got dismantled by Georgia to take any remaining sizzle on the season right off the skillet. (That makes zero sense, but stay with me…) What looked to be another potential season of destiny has turned into a season of heartbreak. Nothing that a win in the Iron Bowl couldn’t cure, however. Auburn has a get well game against Samford where they’ll end their two-game slide as they set their sights toward season redemption against Bama a week from Saturday.
This is pathetic. I mean how in the world can a team that lost to Indiana at home be the second highest ranked team in the East let alone the fifth best team in the entire conference. The answer is simple. Aside from Indiana and Georgia, Missouri has found a way to win. Example: they got thoroughly outplayed in the Swamp yet still won. By 29. Perfect microcosm for their season. That said, even without AJ Johnson and Brian Randolph (for the first half), Tennessee should give Mizzou all they can handle. I, for one, am glad the Tigers come in with dreams of Atlanta still in check. Because should the Vols prevail, it will make their victory a nationally prominent one. And as well as UT’s been playing, that seems only appropriate.
Think UGA would like the Florida game back? My goodness. Regardless, Georgia flat out walked the dog on Auburn, a dominant victory that had to leave Bulldog Nation wondering “what if…” With it, the Bulldogs are in the clubhouse, waiting only to see if they will get to represent the East in the SEC Championship game. All it would take is one Mizzou loss in the last two games. Time will tell, but with the devastating injury to Todd Gurley in the fourth quarter, one thing’s for certain. If Georgia’s going to be prevalent in the national scene from this point out, it’ll be thanks to a steady diet of Chubb.
3. Ole Miss
The bad news for the Rebels is they travel to Fayetteville to take on a dangerous Arkansas team that finally proved to itself that it can, indeed, win in the SEC. The good news is they’re coming off a bye, so they’ve had two weeks to prepare for them. Three, really, since the week before their open date the played Presbyterian. Before Presbyterian, Ole Miss dropped two straight heartbreakers. It will be very interesting to see if the Rebels can get it done this weekend. I’m guessing they do NOT and continue to their descent toward the middle of the pack.
2. Mississippi State
Dak Prescott and company finally came back down to earth last week in Tuscaloosa, but, as many predicted, even with the loss, they’re still ranked inside the top 4. As it stands now, they’d have a chance to avenge that loss should they run the table. But they’ll have to do it convincingly. Anything short of a boat race against Vanderbilt could allow a team like TCU or Ohio State to leapfrog ahead of them. But if they take care of business like they should, the Egg Bowl on November 29 will be one of the most compelling games of the year.
Alabama earned a convincing enough win over Mississippi State to jump all the way to the top spot in the land. The Tide has a tuneup against Western Kentucky before heading into an Iron Bowl. As most anticipated long ago, the SEC race is going to come down to two of its biggest rivalry games.
So get ready for a nice little weekend of SEC football. But be sure to leave room for next weekend. Because it’s going to be a treat.