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SEC Power Rankings: Vols Still Near The Top Edition

Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics
Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

Well football fans, Week 6 is in the rearview mirror and we’re officially half way through the regular college football season. It’s sad to say that we’re on the downhill slide to the end of the season, but not as sad as the bottom five teams of this week’s SEC Power Rankings.

So without further ado here they are, our SEC Power Rankings heading into the week 7 slate of games.

1. Alabama: The Tide rolled once more through another helpless victim, this time it was the Razorbacks of Arkansas who got the shellacking. The final score of 49-30 makes this game seem like it was closer than it truly was, but the Crimson Elephants had full control of this game from the first whistle. By halftime they were up 35-17, and held a commanding 42-17 lead until 4 minutes left in the third, it is safe to say that Saban was semi-merciful in the fourth quarter and took his foot off the gas pedal.

2. Texas A&M: The Aggies were able to survive the second half magic from the Vols, but only barely. Tennessee turned the ball over seven times and still forced double overtime, but an untimely interception would spoil the comeback for the Vols, and give TAMU the 45-38 victory. Although I do believe Tennessee was the better team in College Station, I said last week I will not punish a team for winning no matter how ugly. Thus A&M remains at No. 2 heading into their bye week before heading to their matchup with the reigning Kings of College Football.

3. Tennessee: The Vols, for the sixth week in a row, played what would be a top 10 college classic on the much loved NCAA football game (RIP). After trailing 28-7 at one point, Tennessee rallied back and forced overtime in College Station even after turning the ball over six times in regulation. Being able to turn the ball over that many times and still make this a competitive game truly shows how talented the Vols are. It only makes you think how bad Tennessee might have beaten the Aggies had it held that ball a little tighter. The Vols welcome in the Crimson Machine this week for a top 10 showdown in Knoxville. Don’t expect the same late-game battle if the turnover troubles are still lingering for the Vols.

4. Ole Miss: Ole Miss is coming off its bye week looking to salvage the season. After starting a disappointing 3-2, the Rebel Bears head to Arkansas for their next Western Division showdown. We can’t forget that Ole Miss is still a very talented team and had huge leads in both of those losses, but two horrible late game meltdowns lead to a lackluster start for Reverend Freeze and his Rebels. We also can’t forget that teams coming off a loss from Bama don’t typically bounce back well the next week.

5. Auburn: The Jump of the week goes to the Auburn Tigers after opening up a can of you know what on Mississippi State. The Tigers seemed to have found some kind of offensive consistency to go along with their steady defense. The Tigers got up 35-0 at halftime and coasted to the end – winning the game 38-14. They head into their bye week a solid 4-2 and riding a three-game win streak, after a well-deserved week of rest Auburn will welcome in Arkansas to Jordan-Hare Stadium for what might shake out to be a top-25 matchup.

6. Arkansas: The Razorbacks were outmatched in almost every phase of the game this past Saturday against Alabama. The Tide Rolled over Arkansas with ease, getting up as much as 42-17 at one point in the third, but Arkansas never said die and fought to the end, making it a more or less respectable game at 49-30. Of course these late points mostly came when the Alabama starters were sitting and young,  but still very talented players, were in the game for the Tide. Arkansas will look to bounce back against an Ole Miss team coming off a week of rest and riding a two game win streak. If the Razorbacks are able to knock off the Rebels they could easily jump next week

7. LSU: This past week LSU played… Oh yeah, they didn’t. LSU-Florida has been indefinitely postponed due the very serious Hurricane Mathew. Of course all of us at Rocky Top Insider want to say the victims of this terrible storm are all in our thoughts, and we wish them well. Nevertheless, this is about football, which was not played on Saturday so I’m sorry Bayou Bengals but you fall to No. 7 for not playing, and we will talk about moving you back up after your matchup with Southern Miss this Saturday.

8. Georgia: The Bulldogs played a less than exciting game against South Carolina this weekend, beating the Gamecocks 28-14. Georgia got up 14-0 at half and then traded touchdowns with South Carolina twice to roll onto a lackluster victory. Kirby Smart looks to right the ship as they welcome in the Commodores between the hedges for an Eastern Divisional clash. With Nick Chubb finally playing consistently again, Michel getting his carries, and Eason hitting his stride at QB, this could be another snoozer.

9. Florida: Florida drops down for refusing to play its scheduled game against LSU. Like I said before, I’m all about being safe and mindful of serious storms, but Florida had the opportunity to move the game to later in the weekend or to Baton Rouge in an empty stadium. Therefore they move down for being more afraid of LSU and Coach O than a Hurricane. Which –and yes hindsight is always 20/20 – didn’t significantly affect Gainesville. Florida might play Mizzou this Saturday if, of course, it isn’t too hot out for the Gators liking. Mizzou is coming off a bye week, which was preceded by an LSU beat down, so the Tigers are looking to bounce back this week against the Gators

10. Kentucky: This week I decided the king of the losers would be the best win/loss record which happens to be the Ferocious Felines of Kentucky. At a whopping 3-3 they’re a solid one game ahead of the next four and actually do have wins over both the teams they played below them. This seems fair to me. Kentucky played Vanderbilt this weekend and squeaked out a 20-13 when over the Dores. The Wildcats seemed to have control of the game heading into halftime up 17-3, but in the second half the Commodores were able to string together a couple of unanswered scores to cut it down to 17-13. Nonetheless the comeback would not be complete as Kentucky made a field goal late in the game to stretch the lead to seven, and that’s where the game would end. Kentucky gets a week off before taking on Mississippi State in two weeks

11. Missouri: Missouri got the week off to prepare for its upcoming matchup with the Gators in Gainesville. Missouri is most likely still stinging from the 42-7 whooping it got at the hands of a reborn LSU team, and is looking to bounce back. Drew Lock was shut down in that game and will have another tough secondary to work against this Saturday. Oh and I will not pass up another chance to say that Florida too got the week off to prepare for Mizzou because of the fear of the destruction that could’ve been caused by Hurricane Orgeron.

12. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs were absolutely manhandled Saturday by Auburn. Auburn, a team that at one point this season was hiding QBs behind the line of scrimmage, looked like it could do no wrong on offense – gliding to a 35-0 deficit at halftime and coasting through the second half to finish the game 38-14. Dan Mullen is starting to see that life without Dak Prescott at Mississippi State isn’t as sweet. The Bulldogs need to find an answer to their woes on… well every phase of the game quick as they travel to BYU for an out of conference test on Friday night.

13. South Carolina: The Gamecocks did exactly what I was looking for this week, don’t suck the least, and alas they didn’t! South Carolina may not have ever been in the game with Georgia, but at least the Gamecocks kept on fighting and that’s all you can ask. They did cut down the lead to seven twice, but just as they were able to cut the lead Georgia was able to build it back. The Gamecocks are getting better, they’ve played two decently close games against formidable opponents and now they get to relax with an easy one this week… the bye week. I expect South Carolina to win this matchup and the next against UMass in two weeks.

14. Vanderbilt: Finally rounding out our SEC Power Rankings, a team that is no stranger to the bottom of the barrel: Vandy. The Commodores lost to Kentucky Saturday 20-13, which dropped them to 2-4 (0-3) on the season. Vanderbilt has shown promising things on the defensive side of the ball and has a serviceable run game behind the legs of Ralph Webb, but Webb is just about the only weapon on Vanderbilt’s struggling offense, and they have no time to try and find any help for him as they travel to Athens this week for their game against the Bulldogs. I fully expect Vanderbilt at the bottom of this list again next week.

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