The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

SEC football power rankings: Week 1


It’s that time of year again: SEC football is upon us.

It’s also time for our weekly power rankings. Every week, the Vanderbilt Hustler sports staff will break down how the SEC shakes out.

Here are our Week 1 rankings:

  1. Alabama

How can you not put the number one team in the country and defending national champions at the top? If they can figure out who their number one quarterback is (as we’ve seen at Vanderbilt, playing two quarterbacks hardly works), they’ll be the team to beat in the SEC, and the country, once more.

  1. LSU

Two words: Leonard Fournette. He rushed for 100 yards five times as a freshman and in 15 of his 25 games at LSU so far. As a junior, he’ll be looking to build his draft stock, and if he plays anything like he did last year, the Tigers could challenge the Tide for the SEC West title.

  1. Tennessee

No, Vols fans, Josh Dobbs is not the second coming of Peyton Manning. But, he’s a darn good quarterback, and the Vols are the favorite for the SEC East title. The East will likely be won on September 24 when the Vols take on Florida. Whoever wins that game will have the upper hand for the rest of the season.

Also, they’re playing a game at Bristol Motor Speedway. How cool is that?

  1. Ole Miss

When Hugh Freeze isn’t busy paying players and providing a gas mask for Laremy Tunsil, he’s actually a pretty good football coach. Look for the Rebels to be a dark horse in the SEC West, despite the fact that they lost 14 starters on offense and defense, including Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell.

  1. Georgia

A healthy Nick Chubb means a healthy Bulldogs team and a legitimate SEC East title shot. New coach Kirby Smart will have to follow up a 10-3 season, but with Chubb back from a nasty knee injury and some strong recruiting classes behind him from former coach Mark Richt, Georgia should be a fantastic team once again.

  1. Texas A&M

This is a pivotal season for the Aggies. Texas A&M has struggled to find consistency in the post-Manziel era. It hasn’t found a strong footing in conference play and can’t afford another lackluster season. In a stacked SEC West, graduate transfer quarterback Trevor Knight needs to be the rock of this team if it wants to make any noise.

  1. Florida

In the second season of the Jim McElwain era, the Gators look to repeat as SEC East champions. But it won’t be easy considering they have to play Tennessee, Georgia, LSU and Florida State. If they can snag three wins in those four games, especially against Tennessee, they’ll be back in the conference championship game.

  1. Arkansas

This Razorback team is inexperienced with a first-time starter in Austin Allen, but it is one that could make things interesting in the SEC West. Just one upset over Alabama or LSU could re-shape the entire division. They might not have a great division title shot, but watch out for them to be spoilers for some big teams.

  1. Auburn

The Tigers may have one of the toughest, if not the toughest schedule in the SEC. They have to play six of the eight teams mentioned above at some point this season, with two of them on the road. Barring another miracle at the Iron Bowl, Auburn will be good but not great.

  1. Mississippi State

How do you replace Dak Prescott? That’s the question Mississippi State must answer quickly if they want to compete in a stacked SEC West. Luckily for them, their non-conference slate is very light, and they get to play Kentucky and South Carolina in cross-division play. They’ll be a bowl team, but this post-Dak era won’t look nearly as pretty.

  1. Vanderbilt

Isn’t it weird to see the Commodores getting favorable picks from the national media? That’s just what’s happening. Multiple pundits have picked them to be a bowl team, and if sophomore Kyle Shurmur can hold it down at the quarterback position, his offensive line can protect him and the defense can be at least half as good as they were last season, Vanderbilt will be a bowl team.

  1. Kentucky

Mark Stoops has made Kentucky football reasonably exciting to watch, but he’s no John Calipari. The Wildcats are looking to make a bowl game for the first time since 2010. But, it won’t be easy, considering their SEC schedule includes Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. A 5-7 record is not unreasonable, but it’ll take a big upset to push Kentucky into a bowl game.

  1. South Carolina

While your grandpa aimlessly searches for Steve Spurrier on the South Carolina sideline, the Gamecocks are loaded with question marks going into this season. How will new coach Will Muschamp do in his first year? How will veteran players respond to a completely new coordinator staff? Will this season look much like Derek Mason’s first season at Vanderbilt? And finally, how many middle schoolers will chuckle when the crowd yells “Go Cocks?”

  1. Mizzou

Between a drop in enrollment, budget cuts and other ramifications from large-scale protests that swept the Missouri campus last year, things aren’t going well in Columbia. Coach Barry Odom has a lot of work to do if he wants to rally this community and this team to win ball games. Their schedule isn’t conducive to making a bowl game either, especially considering how good Vanderbilt and Arkansas could be. Drew Lock needs to step up as they try to move on from the Maty Mauk fiasco. Anything can happen on any given Saturday, but Mizzou has a big hole to climb out of.

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About the Contributor
Cutler Klein, Former Sports Editor
Cutler Klein ('19) was the Sports Editor of the Vanderbilt Hustler. He previously served as Assistant Sports Editor. He majored in communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When he's not writing stories, tweeting silly GIFs or watching any hockey game he can find, Cutler is running the sports department of VandyRadio, hosting VU Sports Wired on VTV and covering the Nashville Predators as a credentialed media member for Penalty Box Radio. Cutler has had bylines on and

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