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 Three: Tide keep rolling, LSU leapfrogs Georgia

After some big Week Two matchups, our SEC rankings see some slight changes, but there’s still a big gap between top and bottom of the conference.
Photo by Emily Gonçalves

The second full week of football had some marquee matchups for the SEC, including two games with potential college football playoff implications. After an exciting second week of football, we learned a lot about the SEC. LSU showed its strength, while Vanderbilt and Tennessee each suffered another loss. After two weeks, the top of the SEC looks strong, while the bottom looks as weak as ever. Here’s a look at another edition of our SEC Power Rankings:


1. Alabama

Coach Nick Saban’s  team rolled over New Mexico State this past weekend. Alabama got off to a fast offensive start when Tua Tagovailoa’s first throw went for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. The Tide never looked back after that, and Tagovailoa finished with 260 total yards and four total touchdowns, while thedefense stifled the Aggie offense. Alabama heads to Columbia, South Carolina this week to face the Gamecocks, and both teams will look to start off SEC play on a good note. 


2. LSU

The LSU Tigers went into a hostile environment this past week and took care of business in Austin, Texas, defeating the Texas Longhorns 45-38 in a game that came down to the wire. Joe Burrow lit up the stat sheet, completing 31 of his 39 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns. Coach Ed Orgeron’s team proved that they can compete with the best in the country, and can be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC West. The Tigers come back home to an easy match-up with Northwestern State this week. 


3. Georgia

Georgia crushed Murray State at home in Athens this past week. The game started with a slow first quarter, but Georgia erupted for 35 points in the second, making the game 42-7 at the half. The Bulldogs didn’t need to do much to beat Murray State soundly, winning by a final score of 63-17. Georgia gets another easy non-conference matchup at home this week when they face Arkansas State. 


4. Florida

Dan Mullen’s team manhandled UT-Martin at home in the swamp on Saturday. The Gators shut out an overmatched UT-Martin team, winning 45-0 in a game where Feleipe Franks looked in prime form, completing 15 straight passes to start the game, and finishing with 270 yards and two touchdowns. Florida did lose WR Kadarius Toney and CB CJ Henderson in this game, though, and both are questionable to return next week. The Gators travel to Lexington to start off SEC play against Kentucky, who will look to start a streak of their own after breaking a 31-game losing streak to Florida last season. 


5. Auburn

Following an electric Week One win over Oregon, the Tigers looked sluggish Saturday at home against Tulane. The offense amassed just 20 rushing yards in the first half, and Auburn led the Green Wave by a slim margin of 14-6. However, the Tigers’ defense stifled Tulane, holding them to just over 200 total yards and 2-15 on third down conversions. Bo Nix completed 19 of 37 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown. Auburn gets another favorable matchup this week as Kent State comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium. 


6. Texas A&M

The Aggies are the only team in our top seven to lose their game this week, and perhaps they get a pass for playing one of the best teams in the country: the Clemson Tigers. After a very closely contested matchup last season, this year, Trevor Lawrence proved to be too much for the Aggie defense. Clemson’s tenacious defensive line gave Lawrence some breathing room, as they shut down the Texas A&M ground game and left the Aggies’ quarterback, Kellen Mond, to shoulder much of the load in the passing game. Mond completed only 24 of 42 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown, along with one interception. The Aggies look to get back on track this week as they host Lamar in College Station. 


7. Mississippi State

The Bulldogs are off to a 2-0 start in Joe Moorhead’s second year as head coach. Mississippi State faced Southern Miss in Starkville this past week, and won soundly by a score of 38-15. Junior running back Kylin Hill lead the Bulldogs to victory, rushing for 123 yards and a touchdown, while transfer signal-caller Tommy Stevens completed 9-10 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns before getting injured late in the first half. The Bulldogs get to face another non-conference opponent this week as Kansas State travels to Starkville. 


8. Kentucky

While the Wildcat’s offense has looked great through two wins, there are some issues of concern for Kentucky. First, their opponents thus far have likely not provided much of a test. How will the offense (and defense) stack up against SEC level competition? Second, and probably more concerning, is the news that starting quarterback Terry Wilson is out for the season. Can Sawyer Smith guide the offense or will they crumble as conference play approaches?


9. Missouri

A blowout win against West Virginia certainly helps cleanse the palate after their opening week loss to Wyoming, but only time will tell if Mizzou can prove itself worthy of any preseason hype. Quarterback Kelly Bryant and the offense posting back to back 30-point games to open the season seems to be a positive sign however, and the Tiger’s fairly easy upcoming schedule should provide an opportunity to start racking up wins early.


10. South Carolina

72-10 is a highly impressive margin of victory, but wait to give the Gamecocks credit until they win a game against a Power Five team. After a bad loss to UNC and injury to starter Jake Bentley, South Carolina got in the win column with new quarterback Ryan Helinski under center. He’ll get a significantly larger test this week with Alabama coming to town.


11. Ole Miss

Ole Miss got their first conference win of the year against a division rival, but how much credit do they truly deserve? The Rebels bounced back from their rocky start by defeating the lowly Arkansas Razorbacks in Week Two, but the real test comes in Week Four. They should have no problem taking down Southeastern Louisiana this Saturday, but if the Rebels are to be taken seriously, they must continue their winning ways through the following home matchup against Cal.


12. Vanderbilt

Despite a competitive first half, the Commodores came out flat in the third quarter and dropped their first non-conference game to Purdue. On the bright side, Riley Neal seemed to look more comfortable in the offense, putting up 378 yards passing. The bad news? The Vanderbilt defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed, letting Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar put up 509 yards through the air.


13. Arkansas

While many picked Ole Miss to finish last in the conference, the Rebels embarrassed a heavily favored Arkansas team in Week Two. The Razorback offense was inept for three quarters on Saturday, as they struggled to find the end zone until late in the fourth. Their first score was simply too little, too late — the Razorback offense will need to turn things around in the coming weeks if they want to crawl out of the conference basement.


14. Tennessee

Another week, another out of conference loss for the Tennessee Volunteers. After losing handedly Georgia State in Week One, their second loss came to BYU in double overtime. If Tennessee can’t right the ship, there’s a real chance they are looking at a two-win season at best. Nothing is going right for the Volunteers, and with better competition coming up in conference play, it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better on the Rocky Top.

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