1. Alabama: The champions continue to impress. Nick Saban had his way with his alma mater Kent State over the weekend. The Tide’s 48-0 shellacking of the Golden Flashes was about what you’d expect. Bama will see both Texas A&M and Tennessee in October, but unless it loses either one of those, the Crimson Tide sits comfortably in the top spot.
2. Texas A&M: The Aggies are off to their first 4-0 start since 1939. With a big win over Arkansas at Jerry World over the weekend, A&M continues its momentum and kept a firm spot at the number two spot in our rankings. Trevor Knight looks to be a good fit in Kevin Sumlin’s offense. The Oklahoma transfer had 225 yards in the air and 152 more on the ground in A&M’s 45-24 win over the Razorbacks.
3. Tennessee: The Vols climb up to the third spot in our power rankings with a convincing second-half performance over Florida. Tennessee hasn’t put together two good halves of football, but also hasn’t needed to yet. I got the feeling over the weekend that getting over the hump against Florida may be the mental block that unlocks this team’s true colors in the first half. If the Vols play like they did in the second half against Florida, Tennessee could climb even higher up the rankings.
4. Ole Miss: They jumped out to another big lead this past weekend, but this time the Rebels kept the foot on the gas pedal. Ole Miss dismantled Georgia 45-14, asserting themselves into the number four spot in our rankings. When Chad Kelly is on, Ole miss is tough to beat. He threw for 282 and led the team in rushing with 53 yards.
5. Florida: Yes, the Gators collapsed in the second half against Tennessee, but don’t forget how good they looked early with a backup quarterback in a hostile environment. Florida’s defense was decent in the first half, but got exposed a bit in the second when Tennessee stopped making so many mental errors. Florida has only played one tough opponent thus far, so it remains to be seen how far the Gators may rise or fall in our rankings.
6. Arkansas: The Razorbacks looked good against Texas A&M until a goal-line stand by the Aggies stopped all of their momentum. Their win at TCU in overtime looks good, but there’s still a long way to go before we can call Arkansas contenders in the SEC West. The Razorback’s loss wasn’t as bad as Georgia’s last weekend, but it does bring them down to the middle of the pack.
7. Georgia: After struggling with Nicholls State and Missouri, Georgia looked flat for a third straight week in a blowout loss to Ole Miss. The Bulldogs’ defense didn’t have an answer for Chad Kelly, their offense struggled without Nick Chubb for most of the game, and Jacob Eason only threw for 137 yards. Eason will need to step up and become a star this weekend against Tennessee in order for Georgia to climb back up in our rankings.
8. Auburn: Leading the Tigers portion of our rankings is Auburn, who narrowly escaped with a victory at home against LSU. Auburn’s offense continues to struggle, but the Tigers finally found a way to win at home. On the defensive side of the ball, Auburn only gave up 338 yards to LSU, and held Danny Etling to 118 yards through the air. Auburn’s win was its first victory without scoring a touchdown since a 3-2 win over Mississippi State in 2009.
9. LSU: The Ed Orgeron era has begun in Baton Rouge, and it does so in the lower half of our rankings. LSU’s offense continues to struggle putting up points. Leonard Fournette rushed for 101 yards against Auburn, but simply needs more help. The Tigers get Missouri this week, where they’ll have a chance to right the ship in a very winnable game.
10. Missouri: These Tigers manhandled Delaware State 79-0 over the weekend, but they’ll face a substantially tougher test in Death Valley this weekend. One of the SEC’s most underrated players is Drew Lock, who threw for 402 yards last weekend. That’s the second time Lock’s thrown for over 400 this year, and he’ll have to be stellar in order to beat LSU on the road.
11. Mississippi State: The bottom four in the SEC have separated themselves from the pack. Mississippi State didn’t look great against UMass, giving up 35 points and 273 yards passing to the Minutemen on the road. The Bulldogs are off this week, but could potentially move up with a win over Auburn in two weeks.
12. Kentucky: The Wildcats got in the win column against South Carolina, stopping the bleeding from a rough start. Kentucky finally put together a solid defensive performance just a week after giving up 42 points to New Mexico State. Mark Stoops just has to be thankful that his protected rival in the West is Mississippi State.
13. South Carolina: The Gamecocks looked bad in Lexington, and the biggest thing keeping them from our final spot is a week one win at Vandy. Will Muschamp has his work cut out for him, starting with this week’s matchup with Texas A&M.
14. Vanderbilt: The ‘Dores won this weekend, but they occupy our final spot. A narrow come-from-behind victory in overtime against Western Kentucky showed some character, but a team in the Southeastern Conference shouldn’t find itself in that position. Thankfully for Vanderbilt, Kyle Shurmur had his best game of the year in Bowling Green, throwing for 279 yards. But it will take a lot more than that for the Commodores to make any noise in the SEC this year.