SEC Power Rankings Week Six: Teams separate into tiers

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SEC Power Rankings Week Six: Teams separate into tiers

Photo by Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Henry Hunter

Heading into October, the first two weeks of SEC games have been played, and the early results show a clear divide amongst the teams. As a result, this week’s SEC Power Rankings reflect the different tiers.

 

Tier One

  1. Alabama

Through its first five games, Alabama’s average margin of victory is at a staggering 41 points. With Heisman favorite Tua Tagavailoa at the helm, this might just be the most complete Alabama team of the Saban era, and if the Tide continues on this trajectory, we might have to start wondering whether this is the best team of all time.

 

Tier Two

  1. Georgia

While the season started with Georgia being thought of in the same class as Alabama, Georgia has not kept up with Alabama’s rampant pace. The Bulldogs were unimpressive at home against Tennessee, needing to turn to backup quarterback Justin Fields to help finish off the Volunteers. The problems are mainly on offense, as Georgia interchangeably playing two quarterbacks does not inspire a lot of confidence. Still, this remains one of the best teams in college football.

 

  1. LSU

Coming into the season with tempered expectations, LSU is off to a very strong start. On the road in Gainseville this week, LSU has an opportunity to vault past Georgia if they submit a dominant performance. While Tua deservedly gets a lot of attention, LSU transfer Quarterback Joe Burrow has helped turn LSU’s offense into something more substantive than the plodding style seen during the Leonard Fournette-Derrius Guice era.

  1. Auburn

Make no mistake about it, Auburn is the best one-loss team in college football.  Still, that’s not enough to crack the top three in the SEC.  The defense continues to anchor this football team, and Jarrett Stidham has been nothing but steady at quarterback. With already tough slates against Washington and LSU earlier this season, the Tigers once again have a chance to prove themselves in a tough road game in Starkville against Nick Fitzgerald and Mississippi State.

  1. Kentucky

The biggest surprise of college football this season, the Wildcats are 5-0, but they face a big test this weekend in College Station against Texas A&M. The Wildcats are grinding out their wins with tough defense, as they are yet to score more than 30 points in SEC competition. Their offense will probably be tested against A&M this week, and it will be interesting to see whether Kentucky can win a high scoring game.

Tier Three

  1. Florida

Florida’s loss to Kentucky no longer looks as damning, and the Gators can reestablish themselves with a win against LSU this weekend. However, the offense will need to put forth better effort than its 13 point showing against Mississippi State last week, which was narrowly enough to get by.

  1. Texas A&M

At the moment, A&M is one of college football’s most underrated teams. While the Aggies sit at 3-2, those losses came against Clemson and Alabama. A&M’s game against Clemson came down to the final possession, and while their 22-point loss to Alabama is far from impressive, it was a better showing than any other team has put forth against the Tide. Look to see whether A&M can force Kentucky into a track meet this weekend at home, as a high scoring game will be A&M’s best chance to win.

  1. Mississippi State

Probably the SEC’s most disappointing team, Mississippi State looked terrible at home against former Coach Dan Mullen. Having started 0-2 in the SEC with games against Auburn and LSU these next two weeks, the future looks bleak, but if Nick Fitzgerald can return to the Nick Fitzgerald of 2017, Mississippi State can push Auburn at home this week.

  1. Missouri

With only one SEC game under its belt, Mizzou might be the SEC’s greatest unknown so far. Time will tell whether Quarterback Drew Lock is good enough to be a difference maker in College Football’s strongest conference.

  1. South Carolina

The Gamecocks appear to be this season’s Good Bad Team. They’re good enough to beat other bad teams—remember their thumping of Vanderbilt two weeks ago?—but have been stomped in both of their games against strong competitions in losses to Georgia and Kentucky.

Tier Four

  1. Ole Miss

Ole Miss has not earned this ranking; instead, the three teams below them have simply played too poorly to be ranked higher than them. It seems impossible that Ole Miss recently had a defense strong enough to beat Alabama, because now this defense seems unable to stop anybody.

  1. Vanderbilt

There was so much optimism about the Commodores following their strong showing against Notre Dame, but that has since vanished. Last week’s narrow victory against Tennessee State University was embarrassingly close, as despite the strong weapons on offense, the Vanderbilt defense seems to have no difference-makers. Through the first two weeks, the pass rush seemed to be a real strength, but after three weeks of a largely dormant pass rush, it seems like those early sacks were more of a byproduct of the Commodores’ weak competition.

  1. Tennessee

Despite playing better than expected against Georgia, there is no reason to move Tennessee up in the rankings. At least Vanderbilt can lay claim to being the best team in the state.

  1. Arkansas

In the words of Cutler Klein, “The ghost of Bret Bielema lives on.”

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