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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 Power Rankings Week Five: Internet Meme Edition


“Just not Vandy’s day” -CBS Sports, Twitter

In the third quarter of Alabama’s rout of the Commodores this weekend, cameras caught Vanderbilt student Jesse Pullen basking in defeat–there may have been plenty of time left in the game, but after the Crimson Tide took a commanding 52-0 lead, it seemed unlikely, and to Pullen, impossible, that Vanderbilt would come back.

There were plenty of exciting SEC football games this weekend, but unfortunately, this was not one of them. Alabama, you may have gotten the best of the Commodores this time around (and now the last 22 times around), but don’t fret; Vanderbilt’s time will come.

After this image of Pullen was caught on the CBS broadcast, they were quick to tweet the image with the aforementioned caption. Soon enough, the photo blew up. Racking up over 6,000 likes and 1,000 retweets, it became a center of attention on all social media platforms. Thus, the “Sad Vandy Kid” meme was born. In honor of Pullen’s week of internet meme fame, we present to you this week’s SEC power rankings, where each team has been given a meme encapsulating their current state.

  1. Alabama – Mother of God

A 59-0 win against another undefeated SEC team. Mother of god.

Alabama had no issues against Vanderbilt this weekend, making the Vanderbilt students look silly for chanting “We Want ‘Bama!” after an upset victory over Kansas State the week before. They have done more than live up to the preseason hype, as they continue to play with a chip on their shoulder following a heartbreaking loss to Clemson in last year’s national championship.

The Alabama defense kept the red-hot Commodore quarterback Kyle Shurmur in check all game. In fact, they didn’t even give him an ounce of hope, limiting him to just 18 passing yards on four completions and one interception. On the offensive side of the ball, the Crimson Tide had their way with Vanderbilt’s rushing defense. On just 12 rushing attempts, Damien Harris finished the game with 151 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The way they finished this game made many college football fans take a closer look and think, “mother of god, what have I just witnessed?”

2. Georgia – Success Baby

Week after week it seems as if Georgia keeps getting better. This past week, facing a ranked SEC opponent, they completely dominated on both sides of the ball, well-deserving of a fist pump of celebration. Their running game, spearheaded by the combination of Senior Nick Chubb and Freshman D’Andre Swift, set the tone for the whole offense, combining for 150 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, quarterback Jake Fromm, who barely needed to throw the ball in this blowout, looked extremely poised when he had to throw the ball, completing 75% of his passes for two touchdowns and 201 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, they completely overwhelmed Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald, just one week removed from him picking apart the LSU defense, causing him to complete less than 50% of his passes with two interceptions. They limited to a Mississippi State team who annihilated the LSU Tigers just a week before to just three points. While they went into this game as the favorite, they came out with a 28-point win which in anyone’s book is a huge success.

3. Auburn – Kermit Sipping Tea (But That’s None of my Business)

Other than a narrow loss in which they only allowed 14 points to the third-ranked Clemson Tigers, the Auburn Tigers have quietly played some of the most impressive football in the country. Their most recent manhandling of Missouri is indicative of that fact. Led by five touchdowns from running back Kerryon Johnson, Auburn’s offense had quite the showing, putting up 51 points against a SEC opponent is impressive, even if it is Missouri.

Despite the fact that their defense could have been better, allowing 14 points to a very poor Missouri offense, their showing against Clemson a few weeks back showed that their defense is stronger than it seems against weak opponents; they truly come out to play against the better teams. Also, despite their incredible play thus far, they have only moved down in the rankings, from their preseason rank of 12, to 13. Up next comes a ranked, yet seemingly sluggish, Mississippi State team that just got blown out by Georgia, and yet they’re only 9 point favorites. We project them to continue riding the wave of their high powered offense and continue to “sip their tea” as they make their quest to prove themselves as a top 10 team in the country.

4. Florida – Challenge Accepted

Many doubted Florida going into their game against Kentucky. Sure, they were clearly a strong team, ranked 20th in the nation, but the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats were ready to give them a run for their money. Fortunately for Florida, this was a football matchup and not a basketball matchup. They went on to beat Kentucky 28-27, but their slim margin of victory was enough to move them down to 22nd in the nation.

Florida’s offense struggled for most of the game, forcing them to swap quarterbacks and to hope that one would prove himself. Both Luke Del Rio and Feleipe Franks threw a touchdown pass, but neither were able to complete the individual task of solidifying himself as a reliable starting quarterback. After all, if this team wants to have a chance against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game (if they make it that far), they will need help picking apart the Alabama defense. So far, Florida is second-to-last in the SEC in yards per game, and that’s accounting for the one game that was cancelled because of the hurricane.

Kentucky came close. In fact, they were a mere few feet away from winning the game: their kicker, Austin MacGinnis, was on target from 57 yards out as time expired, but the field goal attempt came up just short. Kentucky shouldn’t be taken lightly, but Florida knew that coming into the game. Even when they were trailing, even when they were without a true starting quarterback, they thought, “challenge accepted”.

5. Texas A&M – That Escalated Quickly

To quote a famous Ron Burgundy line, “That Escalated Quickly”. And by “that,” there is no question that Ron was referring to Texas A&M’s most recent game against Arkansas.

This was a shootout, which bodes well for A&M’s budding offense with Freshman quarterback Kellen Mond at the helm, but not so much for their defense. Despite their defensive struggles this past week, however, their offense was able to get them the win in overtime. Their offense was able to put up a whopping 50 points, including an overtime touchdown, mostly because of Mond. Even though he is a freshman, Mond has been playing tremendous football which has come to the surprise of many, racking up 216 yards passing, another 109 on the ground and 2 total touchdowns this past game.

Overall, despite their defensive woes thus far, their offense has been potent enough to carry them to a 3-1 record and into a game against South Carolina that they should be able to win. However, after that their schedule will “escalate” as they face 5 ranked SEC opponents in a row right after, a true test of Mond and the rest of the Aggie team.

6. Mississippi State – Facepalm

Mississippi State came into their last game red-hot, but they knew there was still plenty left to prove. They were 3-0, boasting a huge 30-point win in their last game against 12th-ranked LSU. This win was good enough to move them to 17th in the nation, but it was truly their only meaningful win. If they wanted to distinguish themselves as a great SEC football team, they had to beat 11th-ranked Georgia on the road.

Star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald couldn’t get a rhythm going, giving Georgia’s defense one less problem to worry about. He was 14 for 29 through the air, barely surpassing the 80-yard mark, with no passing touchdowns and two interceptions. That won’t cut it against an elite Georgia team, as Mississippi State’s defense struggled. They let up 31 points–due to Georgia’s success running the ball, Jake Fromm was able to play an incredibly efficient game. He only threw 12 passes, but completed nine of them for 201 yards and two touchdowns. You had your chance, Mississippi State, but you blew it. This loss was certainly worthy of the facepalm meme.

7. LSU – Futurama “Not Sure If”

Despite the fact that LSU is still ranked we are certainly “Not Sure If” LSU is deserving of a ranked spot as they haven’t performed like one yet this season. An uninspiring and unimpressive win against Syracuse certainly didn’t help this cause. However, there were some positives to take from this much needed bounce-back win after they got destroyed by Mississippi State just a week prior.

For one, even with a bad performance from running back Derrius Guice, their running game looked strong, accounting for three total touchdowns for the Tigers. In addition, quarterback Danny Etling added two of his own in the air. But even with these individual performances, the Tigers’ offense still has a lot of things to improve on as their blocking was atrocious. In the first two quarters, they limited Syracuse to just three points and almost took an interception to the house on their first defensive play. Their defense was tested constantly throughout the game as Syracuse attempted a whopping 54 passes, and this fatigue likely caused their second half demise on defense as they allowed 23 points in the second half.

Overall, LSU has given AP voters and fans alike little to no reason to bump them up from their #25 spot or show that they are anywhere near capable of living up to expectations and as a whole, we are “not sure if” LSU will be able to stay ranked much longer as, after next week’s game against Troy, they face Florida and Auburn back to back.

8. University of Kentucky – LOL Guy

It’s about time their winning streak came to an end. The Wildcats are best suited sticking to what they’re good at: basketball.

In actuality, they played an extremely close game against Florida. Even though they lost as time expired because their field goal attempt was just short, they proved to the football world that they truly can compete with an elite team. Florida was forced to play catch-up all game, and Kentucky’s quarterback Stephen Johnson had a stellar, three touchdown performance.

Wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. even had a clutch 25-yard completion on a tricky playcall by head coach Mark Stoops. In crunchtime, Stoops had Bowden get the ball on a double reverse play, who then completed a pass to a fellow wide receiver. The extremely courageous and extremely clever playcall paid off, but of course, they missed a field goal that allowed Florida to continue their win streak against Kentucky to a whopping 31 straight games.

9. Vanderbilt – Sad Vandy Kid

Not too much to say about this one. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t all that it was hyped up to be. Alabama put on a clinic, as evident by their 59-0 margin of victory, and the Commodores couldn’t really get much going.

Their top-ranked defense couldn’t contain the likes of Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Quarterback Jalen Hurts and backup Tua Tagovailoa didn’t even have to throw the ball much because their running game was so effective. Kyle Shurmur had a tough bout against the tough Crimson Tide defense, while Ralph Webb was also struggling to move the chains on the ground.

Unlike Alabama’s upcoming game against Ole Miss, Vanderbilt does not have an easy matchup coming up, as they will travel to the swamp to take on Florida. This game is absolutely huge for the Commodores; in order to stay in SEC East contention, they’d have to compete with Georgia and Florida for the rest of the season. We can hope for the best this week, but until the Commodores can avenge this loss, all fans will sulk in the memory of the Sad Vandy Kid meme (that is, other than Jesse, who must be enjoying his week of internet fame).

10. Tennessee – Condescending Wonka

Even though they got the win, it is hard to be anything but condescending towards Tennessee after their 4 point win against the UMass Minutemen who have yet to win a game thus far this season. They went into this game as huge favorites as UMass is touted as one of the weakest teams they will play in their season and they just barely got the win, which is concerning for their success going forward against harder opponents,

The only bright spot on offense for Tennessee would be the work of RB John Kelly who posted his third 100-yard game of the season as they just struggled to get anything going unless the ball was in the hands of Kelly. Their defense looked stingy throughout most of the game, recording 7 total sacks and holding the Minutemen to three of 14 on third down. Both of these statistics should lend to a big win for the Vols but the offense just couldn’t pull away and capitalize on the defense’s success. Their offense will need a massive tune-up going forward or else all hope of a solid season for the Vols will be out of question.

11. Arkansas – Crying Dawson

Two weeks removed from getting blown out by a TCU team that just seems to be rolling through everyone, Arkansas was pumped up to get a new start in SEC play against Texas A&M. And it showed in their play, coming out the gate with the first score of the game and it didn’t stop there for their offense as they put up a whopping 43 points. Led mainly by their two top backs Chase Hayden and David Williams, who combined for 3 touchdowns, their offense looked extremely potent and capable of scoring against any team.

However, their demise came on defense and special teams. Allowing a 100-yard kickoff return late in the 4th quarter and a key, game-tying drive that ended in a field goal with four seconds left, the Razorbacks’ defense just seemed unable to hold any lead the offense left them with. Despite their strong offensive play, because of a few late mistakes, they couldn’t come out with the win which most certainly dampened the team’s spirits.

12. Ole Miss – Bad Luck Brian

The Ole Miss Rebels truly cannot catch a break. Starting a season off with a postseason ban is enough to make any team give up from the start, yet Ole Miss started fighting back, winning their first two games which, while against weak opponents, is always a good way to start the season. Week three, they went into Cal and blew their nine-point halftime lead and ended up losing by 11.

Now after a bye week, they play away at Alabama who couldn’t possibly look any better than they did last week. Desperately in need of a bounce-back win, this just doesn’t seem like the place for the Rebels to do it. At the end of the day it just seems as if this season is a lost cause for the Rebels who truly can’t catch a break much like “Bad Luck Brian” as it just seems as if those first two wins were meaningless as they will most certainly get slaughtered by Alabama, spiraling them into a terrible mindset going into the rest of their season.

13. South Carolina – Winter is Coming

As Ned Stark, a character in the famous TV series Game of Thrones, once said “Winter is Coming”. While college football barely goes into the winter, the gist of what Stark was saying rings very true for this South Carolina team who had to come back to beat an incredibly weak Louisiana Tech team, scoring all 17 of their points in the 4th quarter. The loss of star wide receiver Deebo Samuel really showed in their offensive showing, as they couldn’t string together any good drives until the fourth quarter. In his absence, sophomore Bryan Edwards really stepped up with 122 yards and a touchdown which could be the only promising thing to come out of this game for South Carolina

Essentially what Stark meant when he said “Winter is Coming” was that bad things were coming and it seems as if bad things are in store for South Carolina as the rest of their schedule includes strong SEC teams such as Georgia and Florida and a seemingly unbeatable Clemson team to cap it all off. They won’t be able to rely on last second heroics from kickers or three scoreless quarters against weak defenses for much longer.

14. Missouri – Crying Jordan

Missouri’s season started off slowly. Now, their future seems even more hazy. You have to give Auburn some credit; the Tigers are a good football team. But similar to Vanderbilt, losing 51-14 is a big hit to their confidence. The Commodores’ season is far from over though, as they are still 3-1. Missouri’s 1-3 record (0-2 in the SEC) is not something to be proud of.

Quarterback Drew Lock did his very best, posting a completion percentage of almost 60%, along with 2 touchdowns and over 200 yards. If this Mizzou team wants to stay anywhere near the hunt for SEC stardom, they are going to need more from their running game and their defense. Head coach Barry Odom needs to find a way to rally his troops, and until they can pull off a major upset, they’ll be on the outside looking in. With that being said, a win against Mississippi State this weekend would be a step in the right direction. Until that happens, they’re the Crying Jordan meme.

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About the Contributor
Simon Gibbs, Former Sports Editor
Simon Gibbs (‘21) is the former Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He has been on staff since the first semester of his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Senior Writer and Deputy Sports Editor. Simon is also the host of VU Sports Wired on Vanderbilt Video Productions and The Hustler Sports 30 on VandyRadio. Simon has attended several events as credentialed media, including the 2019 NFL Draft, 2019 College Baseball World Series and the 2019 SEC Tournament. Outside of his Commodore coverage, Simon has had bylines published on and When he's not writing, you can find Simon watching his hometown New York Mets, waiting for that next ring. For tips, comments or concerns, please reach out to: [email protected]    
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