RTI’s SEC Power Rankings: Week 2

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    Steve Spurrier-1-2

    The RTI boys and I suffered a little case of deja vu yesterday when we were trying to come up with this week’s SEC power rankings. Because last year, the rankings got to be a cluster. And the handful of head-scratchers that went down this past weekend, we found ourselves struggling once again on the pecking order of our favorite conference. Well, except for:

    OLD FAITHFUL

    14) Vanderbilt
    There is something to be said for consistency. Derek Mason can always hang his hat on that. The Commodores are once again bringing up the rear. (Ew.) They host Austin Peay on Saturday.

    BRETT FAVRE?

    13) South Carolina (-4)
    The Gamecocks did something no team had done in five years on Saturday. They lost to Kentucky at home, which has officially put Steve Spurrier in danger of landing in the much-dreaded Brett Favre Territory. The sad land of once-great sporting figures you wish would just retire already. His team travels to Athens this week where their woes will likely continue.

    PROVE IT ON THE FIELD

    11) Florida (+1) and Kentucky (+1)
    We were tempted to rank Kentucky ahead of Florida this week, as Kentucky’s made a statement on the field. Florida has not. All they’ve done is beat New Mexico St. and squeak by Eastern Carolina by a mere touchdown. But we decided to leave it to them to decide who’s better as the two meet this week at Kentucky.

    NO RESPECT ZONE

    10) Missouri (+1)
    The undefeated back-to-back SEC East champs come in at the No. 10 spot. Hooray! Look at it this way, Mizzou. We’re just trying to keep you motivated to prove everyone wrong again. Plus, you gained a spot, so there’s that.

    THE MESS

    These next four teams? Rank ’em however you like. Not sure it matters at this point, as we’ll learn so much more in the weeks to come. Still, here’s our stab at it:

    9) Arkansas (-3)
    Dude, seriously? Yes, the Razorbacks are dinged up, but no one saw them losing to Toledo. No one. We were tempted to throw the Hogs down beneath “THE MESS,” but part of our consideration for the power rankings is the actual team, not just its most recent showing. And we think Arkansas could still have a nice year and sorta see this Toledo loss similarly to the way we saw Missouri’s loss to Indiana early last season. So we’re not burying Arkansas, for now.

    8) Mississippi State (+2)
    A noble effort by Dak Prescott and the gang comes up just short at home against the more-than-game LSU Tigers. Their effort, combined with some other SEC clunkers, actually helps them move up this week. They get Northwestern State on Saturday.

    7) Tennessee
    The world loves to put things in boxes. It’s black or it’s white. Or, in our case, it’s orange or it’s white. Look no further than the stands on Saturday night for proof. Here’s the problem, though. In real life, few things are black and white. The truth is usually somewhere in between. (I held off on a smokey gray joke just then…)

    Take our beloved Volunteers. They’ve been in the “rebuilding” box for the first two years of the Butch Jones era, and rightfully so. But this year, everyone is tempted to move them into the “they’re back” box. And Saturday night, the Vols had a chance to prove they belonged in that box, but, instead, they became the first Tennessee team in the history of ever to lose a 17-point lead at home.

    Which leads us to the truth. This team isn’t rebuilding anymore. But they’re not back, either. At least not based on what we saw on Saturday. They’re somewhere in between. At least for now. Let’s get past this get-well game and see now the Vols fare against Florida and Arkansas and we’ll better know where this team belongs.

    6) Auburn (-2)
    Another one we could have dropped further down, but another one we didn’t for a similar reason cited for Arkansas. Bottom line here, however? It was a weird to see Malzahn channeling his inner Chizik on Saturday. (Hi Will!)

    SEC PLAYA PLAYAS

    5) LSU (+4)
    They looked good on the road against Mississippi State in what turned out to be their season opener. Would have been easy to drop that one, but they looked poised, and stood their ground late even as the Bulldogs tried to make a final run. That said, we’ll learn way more about LSU this weekend when Auburn comes to town.

    4) Georgia (-1)
    What can you say? A ho-hum road win over Vandy and one of the nation’s most dominant running backs are good enough for Georgia to crack the SEC’s top four. If they whoop up on South Carolina this weekend, the Bulldogs will be right where they wanna be. (Something tells me that won’t be as easy as some might think…)

    3) Ole Miss (+2)
    These guys have been scoring like Marshall Henderson on White Girl Wednesday. (Or so I would imagine.) Another 70-plus point game. I believe I remember reading they were the first ever SEC team to be so prolific in back-to-back weeks. Makes me eager to see how Rebel quarterback Chad Kelly and company fare this weekend against Bama in T-town.

    2) Texas A&M (+2)
    Does the Chief have the A&M defense on the mend? They’ve definitely looked much improved through two games. The offense looked good, too, under both quarterbacks used — Kyle Allen (three TDs) and Kyler Murray (one TD) — but they were playing Ball State, so, you know. They get Nevada this week.

    YOU AGAIN

    1) Alabama
    Nick Saban, bla-bla-bla, nasty defense, bla-bla-bla, Lane Kiffin, bla-bla-bla, Derrick Henry, bla-bla-bla. The Tide sits atop the conference as all eyes turn to Tuscaloosa this weekend to see if they get good enough play at quarterback to exact their revenge on Ole Miss.