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 Four: The Tide and the Tigers stay on top

With conference play on the horizon, not much changes in the SEC pecking order.
Emily Gonçalves

In a week without any top-25 matchups, mostly non-conference play established what most had already believed about the teams of the SEC. Alabama, LSU and Georgia continued to look dominant, with each team winning by more than 20 points. Teams near the bottom like Arkansas and Tennessee rebounded from demoralizing losses in previous weeks, but the gap between the best and worst teams in the SEC still looks wide. Here’s our power rankings going into Week Four: 

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide cruised to another victory on Sept. 14 in Columbia, beating South Carolina 47-23 despite a respectable effort from the Gamecocks. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa shined, throwing for a career-high of 444 yards on 28-of-36 passing attempts. Wide receivers Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith combined for three touchdowns and 258 yards receiving. Alabama looks to continue their dominant start against Southern Mississippi at home this weekend.    

  1. LSU Tigers

Despite trailing 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Tigers ended up stomping Southland Conference opponent Northwestern State 65-14. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow improved his case for the Heisman trophy last weekend, going 21-of-24 on passing attempts, totaling 373 yards and two touchdowns. After their rocky start, the Tigers held Northwestern State scoreless in the second half, proving that they deserve a spot near the top of the SEC. LSU faces its first SEC matchup of the season in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores this Saturday, Sept. 21.

  1. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia looked dominant once again on Saturday, crushing the Arkansas State Red Wolves 55-0 in Athens. The defense looked incredibly strong, keeping the Red Wolves off the scoreboard entirely and only allowing them across midfield once. The Bulldogs’ offense appeared just as good; they amassed 656 yards from scrimmage in the blowout. Head Coach Kirby Smart’s bunch faces a tough challenge this weekend as the seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to Athens for the first time ever.

  1. Auburn Tigers

The Auburn Tigers took care of business against the Kent State Golden Flashes, winning 55-16 on Saturday. After a subpar rushing attack against Tulane, the Tigers’ offense certainly rebounded last weekend, rushing for 467 yards against Kent State. Second-string quarterback Joey Gatewood, who replaced starting quarterback Bo Nix, had two rushing touchdowns and was one of three Tigers who rushed for 100 yards on Saturday. Auburn travels to College Station this weekend to begin SEC play against Texas A&M.

  1. Florida Gators

In a dramatic thriller, the Florida Gators came out on top against the Kentucky Wildcats. The win was not without cost; Florida’s starting quarterback Feleipe Franks went down in the third quarter with an apparent ankle injury and was carted off the field in the third quarter, when the Gators trailed 21-10. But Florida rallied behind backup quarterback Kyle Trask, who led them to a 29-21 win, thanks to a 19-point fourth quarter. On Monday, Sept. 16, Head Coach Dan Mullen confirmed that Franks will miss the rest of the season due to a dislocated ankle containing a fracture. Although it remains uncertain how Florida will fare following the loss of Franks, Trask certainly showed promise and the leadership needed to lead a team to a comeback victory. He and the Gators will face the Tennessee Volunteers at home this Saturday.

  1. Texas A&M Aggies

Rebounding from a loss to the top-ranked Clemson Tigers, the Texas A&M Aggies looked impressive on Saturday in a 62-3 drubbing of the Lamar Cardinals in College Station. Despite losing running back Jashaun Corbin to a hamstring injury, the Aggies’ rushing attack excelled behind freshman Isaiah Spiller, who ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Seven different players scored on offense, and Head Coach Jimbo Fisher hopes to recreate a similar performance on Saturday as they open up their conference schedule against Auburn at home.

  1. Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday against Big 12 opponent Kansas State. Although Mississippi State held the lead going into the fourth quarter, Kansas State quarterback Dalton Schoen retook the lead for the Wildcats with a 15-yard touchdown pass with only five minutes left in the game. Turnovers proved to be the problem for Mississippi State, as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback Tommy Stevens threw two interceptions and was benched for freshman Garrett Shrader. Mississippi State will try to make a comeback when they play Kentucky at home on Saturday.

  1. Kentucky Wildcats

The final score of Kentucky’s game against Florida was certainly not indicative of each team’s ability. Despite their loss, the Wildcats looked impressive and were in control for most of the game. Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith accounted for all three of the Wildcats’ touchdowns, but his three interceptions proved to be too costly to overcome once Kyle Trask entered the game. Kentucky will attempt to bounce back on their visit to Mississippi State this weekend.

  1. Missouri Tigers

Still trying to redeem themselves from a week one loss against Wyoming, the Missouri Tigers routed the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 50-0 last weekend. The Tigers’ defense held the Redhawks’ offense to a measly 94 total yards, and senior linebacker Cale Garrett returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. Missouri will try to see if it can improve even more before beginning SEC play against South Carolina at home on Saturday.

  1. South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks were no match for the Alabama Crimson Tide and Tua Tagovailoa’s powerful offense on Saturday. After losing to regional rival UNC in their opening game, the Gamecocks fell last weekend 47-23. Freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski filled in for an injured Jake Bentley, and showed promise, throwing for 324 yards and two touchdowns. South Carolina’s schedule won’t be getting much easier, as they face Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida in the next four weeks. 

  1. Ole Miss Rebels

The Rebels fended off a competitive Southeastern Louisiana team on Saturday, winning the game 40-29. Ole Miss finally saw what they had hoped for in freshman running back Jerrion Ealy, who finished with 273 total yards (including a 94-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown). The Rebels’ defense was crucial; their three interceptions put a stop to Southeastern Louisiana’s attempted comebacks. Ole Miss will play Pac-12 opponent Cal on Saturday.

  1. Vanderbilt Commodores

Despite not playing last week, the Commodores keep their spot near the bottom. An early bye week gave Vanderbilt a much-needed chance to prepare for a second matchup against a top-five team in only their third game. After allowing five passing touchdowns against Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar, Derek Mason is most likely evaluating his team’s defensive strategy before Heisman candidate Joe Burrow comes to Nashville on Saturday. 

  1. Arkansas Razorbacks

An unexpected loss against conference rival Ole Miss in week two inspired the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, beating the Colorado State Rams 55-34 behind transfer quarterback Nick Starkel. After entering the fourth quarter tied 34-34, the Razorbacks put up 21 points to pull out of the Rams’ reach. In his first start for Arkansas, Nick Starkel threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns, eliciting praise from head coach Chad Morris. The Razorbacks will host another Mountain West opponent, San Jose State, this weekend. 

  1. Tennessee Volunteers

The distressed Tennessee Volunteers finally captured their elusive first win of the season against in-state opponent Chattanooga. The Vols shut out the Mocs 45-0, and Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw three touchdowns in the first half and was 7-8 passing before being taken out. Tennessee’s blowout win isn’t enough to move them from the bottom of the power rankings after losses to Georgia State and BYU, and their schedule won’t do them any favors as Tennessee faces top-ten opponents Florida, Alabama, and Georgia in the coming weeks.

View comments (1)
About the Contributors
Jack Hollier, Former Staff Writer
Jack Hollier (’22) was a Staff Writer for the Sports section of The Vanderbilt Hustler. He has been with The Hustler since the first semester of his sophomore year as a staff writer. He is majoring in economics with a minor in business. Jack is also a staff writer for The Slant. Jack has been a fan of Vanderbilt sports since he was born. When he’s not watching the Commodores, you can find him on the tennis court, in the E.B.I. dining hall or being perpetually disappointed by his hometown Atlanta Falcons. He can be reached at [email protected].
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!
More to Discover

Comments (1)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Finney
4 years ago

Great article. As good as I have read on SEC played games, future games, and commentary.