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

Power Rankings Week Five: Rocky bottom

Hunter Long
Vanderbilt plays South Carolina on Saturday, September 22, 2018. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Week Four in the SEC was highlighted by another Alabama beatdown, Kentucky’s emergence as a football school, and six, yes six, Tennessee Volunteer turnovers.

Here are our updated power rankings heading into Week Five of college football.

  1. Alabama

The Crimson Tide showed once again just how far ahead they are of everyone else in the SEC, and really in the entire country, with a 45-23 win over then-ranked Texas A&M. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa continued to put up Heisman numbers with 387 passing yards and four touchdowns. The Tide should coast to another easy win this weekend as they take on Louisiana.

  1. Georgia

Georgia’s defense suffocated Drew Lock and Missouri en route to a 43-29 victory. The Bulldogs have four non-offensive touchdowns on the season and Jake Fromm has thrown nine touchdowns already. Georgia has proved so far why they are heavy favorites to win the SEC East.

  1. LSU

After a thrilling victory over Auburn the previous week, the Tigers were not nearly as sharp this week in their 38-21 victory over Louisiana Tech. There are still question marks surrounding their offense but their defense is one of the best in the country. Nick Brossette has filled Derrius Guice’s role nicely, rushing for five touchdowns and 409 yards so far.

  1. Auburn

The Tigers bounced back nicely from their tough loss to LSU with a 34-3 blowout win over Arkansas. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham continues his solid play and the defense has only allowed 12.5 points per game. Auburn will need to further develop its offense and find more playmakers to stay in contention for the playoffs.

  1. Kentucky

No, this is not a typo.

The Kentucky Wildcats are ranked fifth in our SEC power rankings and 17th in the AP poll. The Wildcats showed that their decisive victory to end a 31-game losing streak against Florida was not a fluke as they dominated Mississippi State this weekend on both sides of the ball.

Benny Snell Jr. has made a case to be considered not only the best running back in the SEC, but also one of the best in the entire country. Against the Bulldogs, Snell rushed for 165 yards, looking close to impossible to bring down after initial contact. He also scored all four of Kentucky’s touchdowns.

  1. South Carolina

The Gamecocks looked solid on all sides of the ball in their 37-14 win. Jake Bentley completed 19 of his 28 pass attempts for 261 yards and a touchdown. Running back Rico Dawdle rushed for 112 yards to go along with a touchdown carry. South Carolina will face a tough test this week as they travel to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats who are 2-0 in SEC play.

  1. Mississippi State

The Bulldogs had a tough game on Saturday as they dropped their first SEC game to Kentucky 28-7. Nick Fitzgerald only threw for 145 yards along with one pick and the Mississippi State offense could not get anything going all game. On the other side of the ball, the Bulldog defenders had no answers for Benny Snell. They have a big opportunity to bounce back this week against Florida as Dan Mullen makes his return to Starkville.

  1. Florida

The Gators were all over the Volunteers from the beginning as they forced turnover after turnover en route to a 47-21 win in Knoxville. Feleipe Franks only completed nine passes but somehow went for 172 yards and three touchdowns. The Gators are currently second in the nation in takeaways with 3.7 a game. The inconsistent Florida offense will need more help from the defense again this week when they play Mississippi State, who is looking for revenge from both their bad loss to Kentucky and Dan Mullen’s departure from Starkville.

  1. Texas A&M

A&M has played an absolutely brutal schedule so far with losses to both Alabama and Clemson. Sophomore Kellen Mond has been impressive, throwing for 1,020 so far and showcasing his big-play ability. But, he is still learning how to play against the tough SEC defenses. He threw 2 costly picks against Alabama last week. The schedule eases up for the Aggies this week as 1-3 Arkansas comes to town.

  1. Missouri

Missouri stayed somewhat competitive without Georgia throughout their 43-29 loss but early turnovers and special teams miscues doomed them from the start. Drew Lock completed less than half of his passes and had no touchdowns with one interception. The Tiger defense is still struggling and Missouri will not be a legitimate SEC contender unless this changes.

  1. Ole Miss

The Rebels easily defeated Kent State by a score of 38-17, bouncing back from a blowout loss at the hands of the Crimson Tide last week. Jordan Ta’amu threw for 442 yards and two scores and Scottie Phillips ran for 112 yards and a touchdown. Like Missouri, Ole Miss does not have the defense to be competitive in the SEC at this point. The Rebels will have another tough test this weekend when they travel to Baton Rouge to battle LSU.

  1. Vanderbilt

It looked like Vanderbilt was headed back on the right track after a narrow loss at Notre Dame but South Carolina came to Nashville this past Saturday and dominated the Commodores. It was not Kyle Shurmur’s day at all. Shurmur threw a pick and fumbled twice and Vanderbilt could not get any momentum on offense.

The Commodores usually go how Shurmur goes so they will need him to get back on track for their upcoming SEC match-ups. This weekend should be a good one for Vanderbilt to regroup when they play Tennessee State at home.

  1. Arkansas

Arkansas only moved up a spot in our rankings because of how bad Tennessee played, not because they are showing many signs of improvement. The Razorbacks did not score a touchdown against Auburn and could not finish their drives. It’s not getting much easier for them as they have to play Texas A&M and Kellen Mond this weekend.

  1. Tennessee 

Tennessee’s game against Florida could not have gone any worse. The Volunteers turned it over six times including a fumble inside the ten yard line for a touchback on a play that appeared to be an easy score and another fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half down 26-3. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had no protection from his offensive line, taking big hit after bit. The Volunteers might end up going two seasons in a row without a single SEC win if they keep playing like this.

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About the Contributors
Alyssa Muir, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Alyssa Muir ('21) was Deputy Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in economics with minors in business and sociology. When she has free time, she can usually be found binge-watching Grey's Anatomy or rooting on her hometown teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning. For tips and comments, feel free to reach out to: [email protected].    
Hunter Long, Former Multimedia Director
Hunter Long (’21) is from Austin, TX and double majored in molecular biology and medicine, health and society. He is an avid lover of film photography, good music and all things coffee. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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