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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 Seven: Shake-Up in the Top Five

As the College Football season heads into October, several teams in the SEC have stood out amongst the crowd
Hunter Long
Photo by Hunter Long

Week Six featured some of the first few matchups that will shape the outlook of the Southeastern Conference. While several teams, including the new #1 Alabama Crimson Tide, had their bye weeks, the rest of the SEC still had games to play. LSU and Georgia continued to live up to the hype in lopsided victories. The Florida Gators won impressively over Auburn, throwing themselves into the running for the SEC East crown. After all was said and done, here are this week’s SEC Power Rankings:


1. Alabama Crimson Tide


Alabama looks to get back into action this weekend coming off of a bye. The Tide has been rolling recently, scoring just over 51 points per game while holding opponents to just 15. Heisman-hopeful quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been at the top of his game this season, completing over 75 percent of his passes for 23 touchdowns and no interceptions. The top-ranked Tide will go on the road for one of their hardest games so far this season, as they head to College Station to take on Kellen Mond and the Texas A&M Aggies. 


2. LSU Tigers


Quarterback Joe Burrow’s breakout season has been quite the pleasant surprise for the LSU Tigers. This past weekend, Burrow became the first LSU quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards in four straight games. The Tigers easily defeated Utah State 42-6, and Burrow continued his hot streak, throwing for five touchdowns. LSU’s schedule gets a lot tougher in the coming weeks, as three of their next four games are against teams that were in the AP Top 10 this past week. This week, fifth-ranked LSU has a primetime matchup in Death Valley versus the seventh-ranked Florida Gators, who are coming off of a statement win against Auburn. 


3. Georgia Bulldogs


The Georgia Bulldogs continued to roll through their opponents this past week, defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 43-14. However, the win did not come as easily as the final score may indicate. The Bulldogs trailed for most of the first half before taking a 20-14 lead with a 1:59 left in the second quarter. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, the second half played out far more favorably, as a balanced offensive attack and smothering defense allowed Georgia to pull away. This upcoming week, Georgia returns to Athens to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks.


4. Florida Gators


The Florida Gators jump up in this week’s rankings after defeating the Auburn Tigers 24-13 in The Swamp. Running back Lamical Perine and wide receiver Freddie Swain did most of the heavy lifting for Florida’s offense, as the two of them each accounted for at least 140 yards of total offense. Defensively, the Gators were aggressive, forcing four turnovers, including three interceptions by Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. The Gators put themselves on the map, and they have a chance to continue their upwards rise this week as they head to Death Valley to play the LSU Tigers.


5. Auburn Tigers


The Auburn Tigers were on the other side of that matchup, falling in their primetime matchup to Florida. The Tigers looked outmatched Saturday afternoon, and the offense was mainly to blame. Auburn finished with only 269 total yards, and Bo Nix completed only 11 of his 27 passes for one touchdown and three interceptions. Overall on offense, the Tigers had four turnovers and six three-and-outs, and the Auburn defense allowed Florida to run free. Auburn will be looking to recover this weekend, as they get a bye before heading to Arkansas in Week Eight.


6. Texas A&M Aggies


The Texas A&M Aggies were another SEC team that had an off week this past weekend. This week, Jimbo Fisher and his Aggie team will be looking to pull of an upset, as they get to face the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field. Before the bye, A&M squeaked out a win against Arkansas, 31-27, in a game where the Aggies didn’t play particularly well. The Aggies will be looking for a much better game this weekend, especially from quarterback Kellen Mond, as they will try to make a statement and defeat the Crimson Tide.  


7. Missouri Tigers


The Missouri Tigers played a non-conference matchup against the Troy Trojans this past week, winning 42-10. Quarterback Kelly Bryant scored four total touchdowns as Missouri took care of business rather easily. However, Bryant was injured on his final pass of the game when he took a low hit. Although not officially ruled out for future games, it is unknown how this injury may affect him or the Tigers. Missouri will suit up once again this upcoming week to take on the Ole Miss Rebels.


8. Mississippi State Bulldogs


The Bulldogs had a critical bye week this past weekend after getting blown out by Auburn the week prior. Head coach Joe Moorhead will be looking to get the Bulldogs back on track, and likely used the bye week to clean up the sloppy play that has plagued the team this season. Mississippi State heads to Knoxville this weekend, hoping to get on track and back into the win column against the Tennesse Volunteers. 


9. South Carolina Gamecocks


The South Carolina Gamecocks had a bye this past week, a much needed break for a banged-up team. South Carolina remains in the nine spot this week, largely based on their 24-7 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats in Week Five. This week, the Gamecocks return to action in a challenging matchup against the mighty Georgia Bulldogs.


10. Kentucky Wildcats


Like South Carolina, the Kentucky Wildcats had a well-timed bye week. After an ugly loss to the Gamecocks in the previous week, the Wildcats needed the week off to try to fix their stagnant offense. This week, the Arkansas Razorbacks will travel to Lexington for a must-win game for the Wildcats.


11. Ole Miss Rebels


The Ole Miss Rebels dismantled the Vanderbilt Commodores this past weekend in Oxford, winning by a final score of 31-6. The Rebels run game was dominating, and as a team, they ran for 413 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee made his first career start for the Rebels, and while Plumlee wasn’t forced to pass much, he ran all over the Commodore defense (22 carries, 165 yards, one touchdown). On the defensive side of the ball, the Rebel defense held Vanderbilt to 264 total yards and a mere 2-for-17 conversion rate on third downs. Ole Miss is on the road this weekend, heading to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers.


12. Tennessee Volunteers


The Tennessee Volunteers were thoroughly defeated 43-14 this past week by the Georgia Bulldogs, falling to a 1-4 record for the season. Although Tennessee has been massively disappointing this year in respect to fan expectations, there were some positive takeaways against Georgia. The team fought hard against the Bulldogs, and freshman quarterback Brian Maurer, making his first career start for the Volunteers, showed flashes of his potential. Nevertheless, Tennessee was still overmatched throughout its game against Georgia and remains unimpressive in many areas. The Volunteers will have the chance to bounce back this upcoming week against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.


13. Vanderbilt Commodores


The Vanderbilt Commodores suffered a terrible 31-6 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels this past Saturday. Vanderbilt was barely competitive in its defeat, as the team was outperformed in nearly every facet of the game. The offense was largely inept, as the offensive line and quarterback Riley Neal failed to produce a single touchdown. Even after backup quarterback Deuce Wallace was put in, the offense remained stuck in the mud. The defense fared even worse, allowing Ole Miss to rush for an unprecedented 413 rushing yards and four touchdowns. In a game that was entirely winnable on paper, the Commodores had possibly their worst performance yet. Vanderbilt returns to Nashville this week to play the UNLV Rebels, hoping to avoid an embarrassing 1-5 start.


14. Arkansas Razorbacks


The Arkansas Razorbacks had an off week this past week, after losing a close game to Texas A&M the week before. The Razorbacks have lost 10 straight SEC matchups, and have looked like one of the worst teams in the conference (if not the country) for most of this season. They’ll look to end the SEC losing streak and get back in the win column this week against the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. 

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About the Contributors
Luke Mukundan, Former Staff Writer
Luke Mukundan ('22) was a staff writer for the Sports section born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He majored in political science. Among other things, Luke is an avid film buff and an audiophile in the making. He is also a life-long Vanderbilt sports fan, which is, in fact, a real thing. He can be reached at [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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