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 8

Blake Dover
October 15th, 2016 – The Commodores defense makes a stop during their 17-16 win against the University of Georgia in Sanford Stadium Saturday afternoon.


With another week gone by in the SEC, the same old stories prevail. Alabama remains dominant, the bottom of the league remains toothless and underwhelming and Vanderbilt pulls off a huge road upset.

Wait, what?

Maybe the ‘Dores aren’t who we thought they were. In the meantime, here are our league power rankings for this week.

  1. Alabama (Last week: 1)

The offense looks lethal, scoring 49 points in back-to-back weeks and racking up over 500 yards of total offense in both contests. The defense is as good as ever, with the highest per-play defensive efficiency rating of the last 10 years in college football at 98.5, according to Alabama has yet to show a chink in the armor, and while this week’s showdown with Texas A&M is its toughest test yet, look for the Tide to keep rolling toward an inevitable playoff berth.

  1. Texas A&M (Last week: 2)

Hopefully the Aggies took advantage of their bye week in preparation of the showdown with Alabama this weekend. While A&M has looked pretty strong all year, its performance on Saturday will give us a better idea of just how good these Aggies are.

  1. Arkansas (Last week: 7)

The Razorbacks picked up a big conference win on Saturday at home against Ole Miss and climbed to No. 17 in the AP Poll. With Auburn, Florida and LSU on the horizon, Arkansas faces a stretch that will determine their conference standing and bowl future.

  1. Auburn (Last week: 4)

Coming off a bye week, the Tigers will be looking to pick up their biggest win of the season on Saturday with Arkansas coming into town. Auburn boasts one of the best defenses in the nation, and improved play by quarterback Sean White recently has allowed the offense to pick up some momentum. If it can knock off the Razorbacks this weekend, the nation will begin taking Auburn a lot more seriously.

  1. Florida (Last week: 6)

Quarterback Luke Del Rio struggled Saturday against a half-decent Missouri secondary, throwing three interceptions in his first game back from injury. The defense, however, was its usual dominant self, contributing two touchdowns in addition to a kick return touchdown on the day. The Gators have the week off and will look to help Del Rio shed some of that rust ahead of a matchup with Georgia.

  1. Ole Miss (Last week: 3)

The defense could not force stops when it needed to against the Razorbacks on Saturday, and the Rebels hype train came to a grinding halt as they picked up their third loss of the season. Quarterback Chad Kelly struggled throwing the football, posting just a 52.5 raw quarterback rating, per, and completing fewer than half his passes. Ole Miss looks forward to a matchup with LSU this weekend.

  1. Tennessee (Last week: 5)

Yes, Alabama is really good. But these Volunteers are also not quite as good as they looked to start the season. Their best wins to date are a home victory against a Florida team that was without its starting quarterback and a narrow win over a mediocre Georgia team. Tennessee is essentially out of the College Football Playoff race now, but without a challenging opponent remaining on the schedule (Vanderbilt excluded), the Vols should coast to a 10-2 record and a nice bowl game.

  1. LSU (Last week: 8)

The Tigers smacked Southern Miss on Saturday, 45-10. A crucial matchup looms this weekend with Ole Miss. If LSU can pick up this conference win at home this weekend against a reeling Rebels squad, it might allow the Tigers to carry some much needed momentum into a November 5 meeting with the Tide.

  1. Georgia (Last week: 9)

It is truly a testament to how bad the remaining teams on this list are that Georgia didn’t fall a spot after losing to the ‘Dores on Saturday. With the Vandy defense locking down running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel all day, the Bulldogs were forced to turn to the passing game far more than they would have liked. Georgia gets the week off before a big matchup with Florida on October 29.

  1. Kentucky (Last week: 11)

The Wildcats sit at 3-3 coming off their bye week and have some very winnable conference games coming up, starting with Mississippi State on Saturday. Kentucky wants a bowl game this year, and if it takes care of business in the coming weeks, that goal is very much in sight.

  1. Vanderbilt (Last week: 14)

The Commodores shocked everyone with a pivotal win on the road against Georgia this weekend. The defense, led by superstar linebacker Zach Cunningham, is on fire recently even as the offense continues to find itself. Vandy somehow managed to win this week despite racking up just 171 yards of total offense. A bowl game is now not out of reach, as there are winnable games left on the schedule.

  1. South Carolina (Last week: 13)

The Gamecocks move up a spot in the rankings for not losing. They didn’t play, so they couldn’t lose. With a UMass team coming into town that actually played Mississippi State pretty tight earlier in the year, we here at the Hustler are putting South Carolina on upset alert.

  1. Missouri (Last week: 10)

Missouri’s woes in the passing game rival even Vanderbilt’s, with quarterback Drew Lock going 4-for-18 for 39 yards and two interceptions on Saturday against Florida. Missouri has yet to beat a quality football team this year and is in danger of slipping to 2-5 after a matchup with Middle Tennessee this weekend.

  1. Mississippi State (Last week: 12)

The Bulldogs lost to BYU on Saturday, and it isn’t even their worst loss of the season. Fans should take solace in the fact that program legend Dak Prescott is thriving in the NFL. Other than that, there is little to be cheering for this year. Mississippi State travels north for a matchup with Kentucky this weekend, which it will likely lose.

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About the Contributors
Torben Ginsberg, Author
Blake Dover, Author

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