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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 4

Monica Gallagher
Vanderbilt defeats Middle Tennessee State with a final score of 47-24 at Vanderbilt Stadium, September 10, 2016.

The Vanderbilt Hustler sports staff bunkered down earlier this week to work out a fresh batch of power rankings. Will Vanderbilt occupy the cellar? Read on to find out.

1) Alabama (Last week: 1)

The defense showed signs of weakness for the first time this season but still managed two defensive touchdowns en route to snapping a two-game losing streak against Ole Miss. Questions still surround the offense, particularly the passing game, but the Crimson Tide remain the clear-cut leaders of the SEC.

2) Texas A&M (Last week: 3)

Led by the impressive play of running back Trayveon Williams, the Aggies moved to 3-0 on the season with a win against Auburn last weekend. Williams rushed for 127 yards on just 8 carries, including an 89-yard touchdown to seal the game in the fourth quarter. A&M faces No. 17 Arkansas this Saturday in an important SEC showdown.

3) Arkansas (Last week: 9)

There’s not much to say about the Razorbacks this week. They were dominant in their 42-3 victory over Texas State, holding the Bobcats to 105 yards of total offense and no touchdowns. We’ll learn more about Arkansas next week when it faces the No. 10 Aggies in Dallas.

4) Florida (Last week: 5)

The Gators’ 32-0 victory over North Texas on Saturday was marred by Luke Del Rio’s knee injury. The Florida quarterback was hit low by a North Texas defender after tossing an incomplete pass and crumpled to the ground in pain. It now seems as though Del Rio could return in two to three weeks, so the Gators must hope that Purdue transfer Austin Appleby can lead the way as the SEC schedule gets going in full force.

5) Ole Miss (Last week: 4)

Had the Rebels not blown 21-point leads in two of their first three games, they would likely be sitting near the top of the polls by now. Instead, Ole Miss sits at 1-2 on the year. If this team can put four full quarters of good football together, it is as good as any in the country. The Rebels will look to do just that this weekend as they host the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs.

6) Georgia (Last week: 2)

The Bulldogs have combined to win their last two games by just three points, and those wins came against Missouri and Nicholls State. Georgia can silence its critics with a convincing win in Oxford this weekend, as it takes on a Rebels team that is desperate for a victory.

7) Tennessee (Last week: 7)

Tennessee is 3-0 but lacks any notable wins and has struggled against teams such as Ohio and Appalachian State. They have an opportunity to pick up an important win against the Gators this week, who are without their starting quarterback. However, the offense has struggled thus far, and the dominant Florida defense could give the Vols some issues.

8) LSU (Last week: 6)

The Tigers offense has been terrible all year, despite the best efforts of star running back Leonard Fournette. A matchup with Auburn this weekend gives them an opportunity to right the ship, but the defense will need the offense to find its rhythm fast if LSU wants any chance at jumping back in the playoff conversation.

9) South Carolina (Last week: 10)

The Gamecocks look terrible but sit at 2-1, which is better than some other SEC East teams can say. They enter this week’s matchup with Kentucky as two-point underdogs, and it will be interesting to see which team will be less horrible for those four quarters.

10) Auburn (Last week: 8)

While the Tigers should be given some credit for playing both Clemson and Texas A&M close at home, they have yet to beat a relevant opponent or play a game on the road. This week, they host an LSU team whose offense is only marginally better than their own. Expect a low-scoring game at Jordan-Hare this weekend.

11) Missouri (Last week: 12)

Missouri nearly squeaked out a win at home against Georgia this weekend, which would have boosted its standing considerably. They essentially have a week off this week with Delaware State in town and should starting looking forward to a conference showdown with LSU on October 1.

12) Mississippi State (Last week: 13)

The defense played well this weekend against LSU, so that’s a positive. The offense is a certifiable mess, but luckily for the Bulldogs, they have five consecutive winnable games upcoming on their schedule, beginning with a trip to UMass this weekend.

13) Vanderbilt (Last week: 11)

The Titans won this weekend.

14) Kentucky (Last week: 14)

The defense has given up over 40 points in every game so far, and their lone win came against New Mexico State. The basketball season begins November 11th.

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Torben Ginsberg, Author

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