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 Power Rankings Week Two: High Tide and a Rocky (Top) start

The juggernauts took care of business, but some brutal losses in the East polarized the conference.
Photo by Hunter Long

After nearly eight months without college football, fans were finally treated to a full slate of games on Saturday and the first week did not disappoint. From a game that went down to the wire between two top twenty teams, to numerous upsets of big-name schools, Saturday had excitement across the board. In the SEC, the top dogs of the conference solidified their preseason rankings while a few of the teams at bottom embarrassed themselves in painful fashion. Here are our SEC power rankings going into Week Two. 


1. Alabama Crimson Tide 

After going scoreless in the first quarter and only leading 14-3 at half, Nick Saban’s bunch turned it on in the second half and looked like the Alabama we are used to seeing, crushing Duke 42-3. Heisman hopeful Tua Tagovailoa completed 26 of his 31 passes and threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns. The Crimson Tide have another easy match-up next week with New Mexico State.


2. Georgia Bulldogs 

The Bulldogs overpowered Vanderbilt 30-6 and looked every bit deserving of their third overall ranking in the AP Poll. The Bulldog defense stifled the Commodores, and running back D’Andre Swift could not be brought down, averaging 9.2 yards per carry and rushing for 147 yards. Georgia should cruise again next week when they host Murray State.


3. LSU Tigers

The LSU offense looked completely revamped under new passing game coordinator Joe Brady as they thrashed Georgia Southern 55-3. Quarterback Joe Burrow, who had an up-and-down season last year, threw for five touchdowns and 278 yards. The Tigers have an enormous test this week as they travel to Austin, Texas to face the tenth ranked Texas Longhorns. This game should show if LSU really has what it takes to seriously compete for the SEC West title this year. 


4. Auburn Tigers

Auburn and true freshman quarterback Bo Nix looked overwhelmed for much of their highly anticipated game against the eleventh-ranked Oregon Ducks. However, Nix led the Tigers to two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead touchdown pass with ten seconds left on the clock and Auburn escaped with a 27-21 win. The Tigers will host Tulane this Saturday.


5. Florida Gators 

The Gators were idle on Saturday after they narrowly escaped Miami 24-20 the week before. Florida should cruise this week against UT Martin as they look to shore up their offensive inconsistencies and tackling issues. 


6. Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies played on Thursday night and destroyed Texas State by a final score of 41-7. Kellen Mond was extremely impressive and looked much-improved, throwing for 194 yards and three touchdowns in addition to rushing for a score. Mond and the Aggies have a chance to really make some noise this week when they travel to South Carolina to face top-ranked Clemson. Jimbo Fisher’s squad only lost this game by two points last year. This year is a whole different animal, though, as Trevor Lawrence didn’t get the start the last time these two teams met.


7. Mississippi State Bulldogs 

Mississippi State had to battle for it, but they eventually pulled away from Louisiana with a 38-28 win. While the Bulldogs were not overly impressive, they were good enough to earn a ranking right in the middle of the conference. Tommy Stevens, the Penn State transfer, completed 67 percent of his passes and threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs get Southern Mississippi this week in Starkville.


8. Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats also got off to a slow start but they turned it on in the second half and finished with a 38-24 victory over Toledo. Quarterback Terry Wilson, who will be asked to do more this year after the departure of Benny Snell Jr., threw for 246 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Additionally, three Wildcat running backs combined for 176 yards on the ground. Kentucky will face Eastern Michigan this Saturday in Lexington looking to go 2-0. 


9. South Carolina Gamecocks 

In a game that Will Muschamp’s team basically had to win to combat an absolutely brutal schedule that features five teams ranked in the preseason top 15, including the trio of Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia, they were unable to put away North Carolina. Despite leading by 11 points going into the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks could not hold on and their defense surrendered 15 unanswered points. South Carolina should get back on track this Saturday when they host Charleston Southern.


10. Vanderbilt Commodores

The Commodores were unable to get anything going on offense and fell to Georgia 30-6. Riley Neal was named the starting quarterback before the game but he was unable to complete a pass longer than 12 yards and the Bulldog defense began to key on Ke’Shawn Vaughn (75 rushing yards) which resulted in Vanderbilt not being able to score a touchdown. The Commodores did show some promise on the defensive side of the ball, limiting Georgia to 9 points in the second half. The Commodores have another tough, yet winnable, match-up on Saturday when they travel to Ross-Ade Stadium to face a Purdue team that was stunned by Nevada last week in a 34-31 loss. 


11. Missouri Tigers

The Tigers contributed to the rough day for the SEC East as they were upset by Wyoming 37-31. Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant was impressive, completing 31 of 48 passes and threw for 423 yards but Missouri could not overcome a second quarter in which they surrendered 27 points. The Tiger defense will be tested again this week when they face a West Virginia team that is always capable of putting up a lot of points.


12. Arkansas Razorbacks

For a team that went 2-10 last season, a win is a win and that is what the Razorbacks got this weekend as they edged Portland State 20-13. Despite the win, Arkansas remains low in our power rankings because they did not look impressive at all in their win over an FCS school. Quarterback Ben Hicks completed less than 50 percent of his passes and only averaged 4.9 yards per completion. The Razorbacks have their first SEC match-up this weekend when they travel to Ole Miss. 


13. Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss got off to a rough start in the 2019 season as they fell to Memphis 15-10. Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Corral looked incredibly uncomfortable in the pocket in his first start and he finished with 93 yards and an interception while only completing nine of his nineteen pass attempts. The Rebels weren’t able to get much on the ground either as star running back Scottie Phillips only finished with 62 rushing yards. Ole Miss will host Arkansas on Saturday in a battle of the SEC West bottom-feeders. 


14. Tennessee Volunteers 

Tennessee’s day began with a boat in the “Vol Navy” bursting into flames, and that really could not have been a better metaphor for how the Volunteers would start the season. Their 38-30 home loss to Georgia State, a 26-point underdog who they paid 950,000 dollars to play, is arguably their worst loss in modern history (and they have had a lot of terrible losses in recent memory). Jeremy Pruitt’s group was out-physicaled at the line of scrimmage by a Sun Belt team who finished 2-10 last year and quarterback Jarret Guarantano struggled with pressure all night. The Volunteers will host BYU on Saturday in hopes of turning their season around. 

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About the Contributor
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].    
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