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SEC Power Rankings Week Nine: Battle near the bottom

Vanderbilt+loses+to+Kentucky+in+football+on+Saturday%2C+October+20%2C+2018+in+Lexington.+The+final+score+was+7-14.+%28Photo+by+Claire+Barnett%29
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SEC Power Rankings Week Nine: Battle near the bottom

Vanderbilt loses to Kentucky in football on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Lexington. The final score was 7-14. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Vanderbilt loses to Kentucky in football on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Lexington. The final score was 7-14. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Claire Barnett

Vanderbilt loses to Kentucky in football on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Lexington. The final score was 7-14. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Claire Barnett

Claire Barnett

Vanderbilt loses to Kentucky in football on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Lexington. The final score was 7-14. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

Mississippi State continued their downwards slide and Vanderbilt came close to upsetting Kentucky but all and all there was not a whole lot of change in the standings this week.

Here are our SEC power rankings headed into Week Nine of the season.

  1. Alabama

The Crimson Tide stay at the top of our rankings and the AP Poll for the ninth week in a row after their 58-21 win over Tennessee. They still have not really been tested, but that will change in two weeks when they head to Baton Rouge for a game between two top-five teams.

Against the Volunteers, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 306 yards and four scores but left the game after taking a bit hit midway through the third quarter. Head coach Nick Saban wasn’t concerned with Tagovailoa’s health after the game, but he has been dealing with a knee injury for the past few games. An injury to him might be the only thing that will stop Alabama from hanging another banner at the end of this year.

  1. LSU

The Tiger defense that has been fantastic all season long picked off quarterback Nick Fitzgerald four times and held Mississippi State to three points. The offense is still not great, but has been playing well enough to win big games under quarterback Joe Burrow. They are off this week before a huge showdown with Alabama next week.

  1. Georgia

Jake Fromm and company enjoyed a much-needed bye week after a beatdown the week before at the hands of LSU. The Bulldog offense has been just mediocre the entire season and they will need a spark this Saturday to beat the Gators in a game that might decide the SEC East.

  1. Florida 

The Gators also got a bye week before their big showdown with Georgia, who is currently favored by a touchdown. Dan Mullen’s team is third in the nation at turnovers gained with 18. They will need to force Fromm and the rest of Georgia’s offense into a couple on Saturday to pull off the upset in Jacksonville.

  1. Kentucky

The Wildcats came out with an ugly 14-7 win against Vanderbilt and improved to 6-1 on the season. Benny Snell did his usual damage on the ground with 169 yards and a touchdown but Kentucky definitely has reason to be concerned with their quarterback play. Terry Wilson completed three (!!) passes on the night.

If Wilson has another horrendous performance like that, the Wildcats won’t beat Missouri on Saturday, much less Georgia in two weeks, and their SEC East championship dreams will be crushed.

  1. Texas A&M

Texas A&M also had a bye week and will play at Mississippi State this Saturday. Quarterback Kellen Mond has been impressive the whole year. He has ten touchdown passes and has thrown for 1800 yards but has already been sacked 22 times.

  1. Auburn

Auburn rebounded from their embarrassing loss at home to Tennessee with a solid win over Ole Miss by a score of 31-16. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham looked much better in throwing for 215 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. The Tigers now sit at 2-3 in conference play and this season has been a massive letdown for a team that once had playoff aspirations.

  1. South Carolina

After a narrow loss to Texas A&M, the Gamecocks did not play this week. They will play Tennessee at home on Saturday. Quarterback Jake Bentley has been solid in the five games he has played; throwing for 1,151 yards and ten touchdowns.

  1. Missouri

The Tigers beat Memphis 65-33 for their fourth win of the season. Quarterback Drew Lock threw for 350 yards and four scores and ended up with a superb quarterback rating of 226.2. Missouri gets a touch matchup this weekend when Kentucky comes to town. The Tigers are still searching for their first conference win and defense continues to be the main issue for this team.

  1. Mississippi State

Ever since Dan Mullen left Starkville to become the Gators’ coach, the Bulldogs have taken big steps backwards. They are 1-3 in conference play and had their worst loss of the season a few days ago against LSU in their 19-3 loss. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw for only 59 yards to go with his four picks. It doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs who get 16th-ranked Texas A&M this week.

  1. Ole Miss

The Rebels got beat bad on Saturday against Auburn. In an otherwise disappointing season, quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has been absolutely terrific. He has now thrown for 2,622 yards on the season which ranks third overall in the nation. The problem for Ole Miss continues to be their defense which has given up an average of over 34 points a game.

  1. Tennessee

The Volunteers got blown out by Alabama and dropped to 3-4 on the season. Pretty much everyone has been getting blown out by the Crimson Tide so that loss doesn’t say much about their team and they had a nice win against Auburn the week before. Still, this team isn’t anything special in their first year under coach Jeremy Pruitt. They will have a chance to move one step closer to a bowl game when they play at South Carolina on Saturday.

  1. Vanderbilt

The Commodores squandered yet another opportunity to pull off a big upset against Kentucky. This year they have had real opportunities to shock the world and beat Notre Dame, Florida, and Kentucky but they have not been able to come away with any wins. This loss was even more frustrating because Terry Wilson only threw for 18 yards on three completions. The offense had lots of trouble getting into the end zone and Kyle Shurmur was under heavy pressure all game. The Commodore offense should get back on track against Arkansas with running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn expected to return from injury.

  1. Arkansas

The Razorbacks beat Tulsa 23-0 for their second win of the season. This was the program’s first shutout since 2014. Arkansas will get Vanderbilt at home on Saturday and one of those teams will walk away with their first SEC win of the season.

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About the Contributors
Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

Cutler Klein ('19) is the Sports Editor of the Vanderbilt Hustler. He previously served as Assistant Sports Editor. He is majoring in Communication Studies...

Claire Barnett, Multimedia Director

Claire Barnett ('19) is the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. As the director of all photo and video content, she is rarely seen without a...

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