SEC Power Rankings Week Three: Shuffling toward the top


Claire Barnett

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

Alyssa Muir

The second week of SEC football did not disappoint as it featured a major upset, a streak broken, and an important SEC East match-up. Some teams solidified their top rankings while others might already be looking forward to next season.


This Saturday will not only include Vanderbilt’s trip to South Bend, but also a couple of SEC West games that are sure to have major playoff implications. Before these games kick off, here are our updated power rankings.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide


Not much to say here. Nick Saban’s defense paired with a NFL caliber quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa is just scary. The Crimson Tide built off of their opening week win against Louisville and thrashed Arkansas State 57-7. Tagovailoa threw for 228 yards in this blowout. At this point, it is hard to imagine anyone beating this team.


  1. Georgia Bulldogs


No Nick Chubb or Sony Michel? No problem.


Georgia had the biggest win in week two, scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter en route to a 41-17 victory over South Carolina. Wide Receiver Mecole Hardman ran all over the Gamecock defense, racking up 133 total yards and Jake Fromm completed fifteen of eighteen passes with one touchdown to cruise to victory.


The Bulldogs erased any doubt about who the top dog in the SEC East is and they look poised to make another push for a berth in the playoff.


  1. Auburn Tigers


After an intense opening week win against Washington, the Tigers had a much easier game this Saturday, cruising to a 63-9 victory over Alabama State. Quarterback Jarret Stidham continues to impress and the front seven on defense is as tough as any in the nation.


This weekend will be another huge test for Auburn when the LSU Tigers come to Jordan-Hare Stadium. The winner of this game will assert themselves as, along with Alabama, the best in the west.


  1. LSU Tigers


After a week one beatdown of Miami, the Tigers continued their dominance as they beat Southeastern Louisiana 31-0.  Perhaps most notably, out from the shadows of Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, Nick Brossette has emerged as the next top running back at LSU and has 262 rushing yards on the season.


There are still questions surrounding LSU’s offense, but those can be silenced with a win at Auburn on Saturday.


  1. Mississippi State Bulldogs


The Bulldogs looked solid again in their 31-10 win against Big 12 opponent Kansas State. Nick Fitzgerald was back from a one game suspension and continued his success on the ground, rushing for 159 yards on 19 carries. However, he struggled through the air, only completing 11 of his 27 pass attempts with an interception. Fitzgerald will have to be a more complete quarterback going forward if Mississippi State has any hopes of competing in the loaded SEC West.


A major positive for the Bulldogs is the emergence of sophomore running back Kylin Hill. Hill finished Saturday’s game with 211 rushing yards and three total touchdowns and should help take some pressure off Fitzgerald in the future.


  1. Texas A&M Aggies


Although the Aggies lost on Saturday, they move up two spots in our power rankings thanks to their gutsy performance against Clemson. After being down 28-20 with four minutes left in the game, it appeared that Texas A&M was going to score but Quartney Davis fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone, giving Clemson the ball back. Instead of crumbling, the Aggies got a stop and a quick score. However, they were unable to convert the two-point conversion and lost the game 28-26.


This game showed that A&M has a true quarterback in Kellen Mond. Mond bounced back from big hit after big hit and finished the game with 430 yards and three touchdowns.


  1. Kentucky Wildcats

 The streak is over.


Four words Kentucky Wildcat fans were not sure they would ever hear.


The Wildcats avoided a 32nd consecutive loss to the Florida Gators as they dominated both sides of the ball and showed that they are more than just a basketball school this year. Benny Snell proved that he should be in conversation for top running back in the SEC with a 175 yard performance full of tough runs after initial contact.


  1. South Carolina Gamecocks


The Gamecocks were hyped up to be the team in the East that could dethrone Georgia, but the Bulldogs quickly squashed that narrative as South Carolina struggled to find any rhythm, especially in the second half. Jake Bentley threw two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and do-it-all receiver Deebo Samuel was held to a measly 33 receiving yards.


Even after a dud against Georgia, South Carolina still has solid players on both sides of the ball and might still be the second best team in the East.


  1. Missouri Tigers


The Tigers won easily again this week, defeating Wyoming by a score of 40-13. Drew Lock continued to impress, throwing for 398 yards. Through two games, Lock has thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. With Lock at the helm, there is no question that the Tigers can score with the best of them. It will be on the defensive side where Missouri needs to prove themselves in order to compete with the SEC’s top teams.


  1. Florida Gators


It briefly appeared like Dan Mullen’s team was headed back to the national spotlight not seen since the days of Tim Tebow.


After Saturday’s game against Kentucky, it is clear that this is not the case and that Florida has major issues on both sides of the ball. The offense continues to be underwhelming with Feliepe Franks only completing 17 of his 38 pass attempts. The defense was just as bad with missed tackle after missed tackle as Benny Snell ran all over them.


It will not get any easier for the Gators as their best cover corner, Marco Wilson, is now out for the season with a torn ACL.

  1. Vanderbilt Commodores


After getting past early struggles in the red zone, the Commodores looked sharp again in a 41-10 win against Nevada. Kyle Shurmur was terrific, completing 23 of 32 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target, Kalija Lipscomb, had 10 receptions while Ke’Shawn Vaughn rushed for 93 yards on just 11 carries.  Both guys had two scores.


The defense was suffocating, never allowing quarterback Ty Gangi and the Wolfpack to get into any rhythm.


The Commodores look solid so far, but this weekend’s game in South Bend will really show where the team is at.


  1. Ole Miss Rebels


The Rebels look better suited for the Big 12 this season. They have no problem putting up huge offensive numbers but struggle to stop anyone on defense. Against Southern Illinois, Jordan Ta’amu threw for 448 yards and five touchdowns and the Rebel offense piled up 76 points. However, they allowed 41 points to their FCS opponent which is just not going to get it done in the SEC.


  1. Tennessee Volunteers


After a beatdown at the hands of West Virginia, the Volunteers rebounded with a 59-3 victory against East Tennessee State. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is still struggling to find his footing this season, only throwing one touchdown so far. On the other side of the ball, Will Grier made their secondary look completely out of sorts in week one. New coach Jeremy Pruitt and his team need to make some big strides if they want to be more competitive when SEC games start.


  1. Arkansas Razorbacks


Pretty much every expert predicted Arkansas to bring out the bottom of the SEC West but their struggles began before their SEC games even started. The Razorbacks lost 34-27 at Colorado State on Saturday. Arkansas had a huge lead going into the fourth quarter and then the Rams scored 17 unanswered points to steal a win. This season might be one Razorback fans want to forget already.