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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 Nine

Claire Barnett
The Commodores play Alabama on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Vanderbilt lost 59-0. Photo by Claire Barnett.

The bye week is over, and that means SEC Power Rankings are back.

The SEC is a pretty hierarchical league right now, and it’s time to take a look at where each team falls.

Here are your power rankings for this week:

  1. Alabama

Fun Fact: Alabama QB Jalen Hurts has yet to play in the 4th quarter yet this season.

When you can afford to rest your starting quarterback, and a bunch of other starters, early and often throughout the season, it is a sign of true dominance over your opponents. Yet again, Alabama showed why they are miles ahead of the competition with a 38-point rout of Tennessee this past weekend. To give an even bigger insight into Alabama’s dominance, they had 604 total yards on offense and allowed just 108 to Tennessee. Next up, Alabama has a bye week (as if their starters needed any more rest) before facing their first ranked opponent since Week One in LSU.

2. Georgia

After a bye week this past week, nothing has really changed for Georgia as they have held on to the #3 spot in the nation that they were given last week. Throughout the year, Georgia has played fantastic football en route to their 7-0 start. With a margin of victory of nearly 31 points in their last 5 games, Georgia seems to have hit their stride at the right time, coming up against four straight SEC opponents, including Florida and Auburn, who have the potential to pose threats to Georgia’s dominance.

3. Auburn

Other than two one-score losses on the season to extremely tough opponents in LSU and Clemson, Auburn has looked fantastic all year. Led by a stout defense and a strong rushing attack in running backs Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway as well solid quarterback play by Jarrett Stidham, if their pieces can click they will be dangerous going forward. Despite giving up 20 points to Arkansas this past week, one of the touchdowns came in garbage time and another on a special teams lapse. With a bye week in store this upcoming week, Auburn will have to fix their small issues as they have a tough stretch of four games to end their season as they face two top-three teams in country in Georgia and Alabama.

4. LSU

LSU’s season has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. After starting the season ranked #13, they had shocking losses that took away their ranking. Yet, after their loss to Troy things have started to pick back up for the Tigers. In their last three games, they have defeated strong SEC opponents including a ranked Florida team and a ranked Auburn team, and have finally hit their stride. LSU must keep their head level and continue to ride this wave through their bye week as Alabama awaits on the other side.

5. Texas A&M

The Aggies are coming fresh off a bye week with a big game ahead of them. Mississippi State will surely come out ready to play, and ready to prove that they deserve higher consideration than Texas A&M. If the Aggies come into this game overly-confident as a result of their win at Florida two weeks ago, they could be in for a long day.

6. Mississippi State

The fact that Mississippi State is one spot below Texas A&M in our power rankings makes it clear that their matchup is going to be a huge game. They have plenty left to prove, and while they are no longer an elite team (elite meaning second tier–the first tier belongs to Alabama and Alabama alone), they still want to show the world that they’re ready for a big bowl game matchup.

While the Aggies are rested up, Mississippi State is coming fresh off a blowout win over Kentucky by a score of 45-7. Their defense somehow managed to stop Kentucky’s firepower and their offense proved its worth in the process–they managed to rush for 282 yards against Kentucky, who was previously the 10th-best rushing defense in the league. Mississippi State knows the stakes of this game, so the Aggies better not sleep on them.

7. Florida

Florida is coming off a much-needed bye week after losing a bad game to Mississippi State. This could not come at a better time given their previous loss, and their upcoming game against Georgia–currently ranked third in the nation. SEC Nation will even be joining Florida on campus. Gators fans, allow us to speak from first hand experience: when SEC nation comes to your school, it does not mean that the team will pull off an upset.

8. South Carolina

The Gamecocks are yet another team coming off a bye week. Two weeks ago, they beat Tennessee in a true sleeper of a game– the final score was 15-9. This week, they host the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Commodores are hungry and ready to pounce on every mistake that South Carolina may make. For Gamecock fans, hopefully their team doesn’t take Vanderbilt lightly.

9. Kentucky

Kentucky had a brutal showing against Mississippi State. To put it in the most simple way possible: when Stephen Johnson can’t get anything going, this team can’t get anything going. Sure, their run defense came into the game highly ranked, but that certainly changed this week. The Wildcats came out hot in the beginning of the season. At one point, they were considered a team not to mess with. Now, they’re spiraling out of control, and head coach Mark Stoops knows that they have a ways to go before they can prove themselves once more.

10. Ole Miss

This week, Derrius Guice proved to us he’s the real deal, while the Ole Miss defense proved to us that they were not ready for such fierce competition. Guice ran for a whopping 276 yards and a touchdown en route to an easy 40-24 win for LSU. Not only did Guice have himself a day, but quarterback Danny Etling picked apart the Ole Miss defense. While he only threw 13 passes, he completed nine, and was still able to reach the two hundred yard mark, with two touchdowns in the process.

It didn’t stop there–LSU running back Darrel Williams also eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark. It’s clear that the Ole Miss defense didn’t bring their A game (or maybe they don’t have an A game). As for their offense? Not much better. Shea Patterson had a mediocre completion percentage with barely 100 passing yards, no touchdowns, and a whopping three interceptions before he was pulled from the game. Better luck next year, Olé.

11. Vanderbilt

It seems like an eternity ago that Vanderbilt beat #18 Kansas State and started the season 3-0. Since then, the Commodores have lost four straight, including an embarrassing defeat to Ole Miss prior to their bye week. Good thing for the Commodores is that this past week was their bye week and they had much needed time to fine-tune their defense. Hopefully for them whatever changes they made worked as they try to regain their early season form as they come up against South Carolina this upcoming week.

12. Mizzou

Missouri was finally able to snap their five-game losing streak this past week with a tremendous offensive showing as they put up a whopping 68 points led by quarterback Drew Lock, who had 467 yards passing and six touchdowns.

On the other hand, they played a pitiful Idaho team and still managed to allow 21 points. While their offense has showed throughout the season that they can put up points even against tough defenses, their defense has allowed an absurd 39 points per game, which isn’t a very strong showing to say the least and surely isn’t good enough to give them wins against SEC opponents or anyone with a very competent team.

13. Arkansas

This weekend, Auburn steamrolled past Arkansas by a final score of 52-20. Auburn’s running back Kamryn Pettway rushed for 90 yards and three touchdowns to make amends for their poor performance last week against LSU. Quarterback Cole Kelley had a lackluster performance, throwing for only 163 yards with no touchdowns.

Now, Arkansas mourns the loss of injured quarterback Austin Allen even more. While they have scored nearly 30 points in their last two games without Allen under center, they only scored 20 this game. Clearly, their current offense won’t cut it, and if head coach Bret Bielema wants to keep his job, he better hope that this team doesn’t end this season like they did their last.

14. Alabama 2nd Team

Filling in for quarterback Jalen Hurts after he decided his work in the game was done, freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sliced up the Tennessee defense with two total touchdowns and 9 completions, earning the Alabama 2nd team a higher spot than Tennessee in this week’s rankings.

15. Houston Astros

Game Two of the world series was an absolute thriller. The Astros ended up winning in eleven innings, by a score of 7-6. The win, however, did not come easily. In the bottom of the sixth inning, ESPN marked the Dodgers’ win expectancy at 84%. They were winning 3-1, and Houston couldn’t get much going. Fast forward to the top of the ninth, and Kenley Jansen comes in to try and close out the game for the Dodgers, as they were winning 3-2.

Of course, after blowing just one save all season, he lets up a homerun to Marwin Gonzalez, tying up the game. What ensued in extra innings was unheard of: according to ESPN there have been just 17 extra-inning home runs in history, and in just two innings we saw five last night. After an action-packed tenth and eleventh inning, Yasiel Puig works Houston relief pitcher Chris Deveksnki into a full count. Devenski dealt a cruveball, which Puig swung and missed at, thus giving the Astros this game and tying the world series at one game apiece.

This is good enough to slot them in at 15th in our SEC football power rankings, right?

16. Tennessee

Since starting off the season ranked and going 2-0 (great pick, AP Poll), Tennessee has taken a tumble, going 1-4 in their last 5 games, with their only win coming to UMass by a mere four points. While it is hard to blame them for getting routed by Alabama, because most opponents do, the fact that Alabama’s backup quarterback was able to rack up 170 yards and 2 touchdowns while not playing the whole game while Tennessee’s offense only gained 108 total the entire game is concerning. Up next is a must-win game for Tennessee against Kentucky, as they likely need to win 3 of the next 5 games for a chance at a bowl game bid.

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About the Contributors
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]    
Claire Barnett, Former Multimedia Director
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