SEC Power Rankings, Going Into Saturday
After five weeks of college football, we have begun to get a sense of which SEC teams are getting the job done and which are not, even though the grind of SEC conference play has yet to take place. WIthout further ado, here are the SEC power rankings through week five.
1. ALABAMA (5-0)
The Crimson Tide have continued to show why it is still the king of college football. Coming off of a national title and being on top of the rankings is no unfamiliar place. Alabama has obliterated its opponents thus far, winning by an average of 33 points. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has shown to be a true leader for the offense, combined with the rushing attack of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.
What is truly impressive is the Crimson Tide defense, which is ranked first in the nation, only giving up only seven points a game. It is hard to imagine anyone left on Bama’s schedule being able to stop them, unless LSU steps up and shakes off its slow start. It would truly be shocking if the Crimson Tide wasn’t playing for another title in January.
2. LSU (5-0)
The fourth-ranked LSU Tigers had a strong start to the season, but were barely able to sneak by a weak Auburn team. The very next week they allowed Towson to score 22 points. Now they will be tested as they take on the 10th-ranked Florida Gators in “The Swamp.” This team is good, but it will have to prove why it is ranked number four this Saturday. Zach Mettenberger has shown true potential throwing for over 1,000 yards with six touchdowns thus far. It is the LSU defense, however, that has been dominant through five games at No. 9 in the country. LSU has a true test with Florida this week, but will have to take on a strong South Carolina team and the top-ranked Crimson Tide down the road.
3. GEORGIA (5-0)
Yet again, another SEC team is ranked in the top 10, and the Georgia Bulldogs are deservingly so at No. 5. A few suspended players and the dismissal of former running back Isaiah Crowell have not slowed this team down one bit. The offense is ranked eighth in the nation, putting up 48 points a game under the strong play of quarterback Aaron Murray, freshman running back Todd Gurley, and wide receiver Michael Bennett, who has unfortunately torn his ACL and will no longer be playing this season. The defense has proven to be strong with players like defensive end Jarvis Jones, who shut down Missouri a few weeks ago. Georgia had a shootout with Tennessee and will have to take on South Carolina this week, but the Bulldogs are looking strong. Look for this team to compete with South Carolina for representing the East in the SEC Championship game throughout the season.
4. SOUTH CAROLINA (5-0)
After surviving a scare from Vanderbilt, South Carolina has shown it has what it takes to compete for an SEC Title and more. Quarterback Connor Shaw has been strong as of late, and nobody can deny the presence of running back Marcus Lattimore, who has helped to keep the offense flowing. On the defensive side, Jadeveon Clowney has been a strong force, with only one game without a sack. South Carolina now faces the true grind of its schedule as it takes on Georgia, along with LSU and Florida, on the road. This team is talented enough to contend for an SEC title, but will have to survive these next three games first.
5. FLORIDA (5-0)
After an unusual season last year only winning six regular-season games, Florida has had a strong start to the this season. Second-year Coach Will Muschamp, formerly the defensive coordinator for the Texas Longhorns, seems to have this team heading in the right direction. The team traveled to Kyle Field at Texas A&M and was able to deprive the Aggies of their first SEC win. It took care of a strong offensive team in Tennessee as well. However, the true question is if this 10th-ranked defense will be able to stop LSU this weekend or South Carolina and Georgia down the road. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel will have his hands full in the upcoming weeks. This team has definitely shown improvement from last year, but South Carolina and Georgia should prove to be too much for this team, not to mention taking on the 3rd-ranked Florida Seminoles to end the year.
6. TENNESSEE (3-2)
While this team already has two losses on the year, they came against Florida and Georgia, so don’t let its record deter you. This Volunteer offense is explosive with the exceptional play of quarterback Tyler Bray, who has already thrown for nearly 1,600 yards on the season with 14 touchdowns. There is no doubt he has had help from wide receiver Justin Hunter, who has nearly 500 yards receiving and four of those 14 touchdowns. This team put up 44 points against a Georgia defense, which is one of the best in the nation. The Volunteers still have to deal with South Carolina and Alabama, but look for this team to be playing a bowl game before it’s all said and done.
7. TEXAS A&M (3-1)
The Aggies put up a fight against a good Florida team and dismantled the struggling Arkansas Razorbacks, but have yet to play teams like LSU and Alabama. The offense and defense have been great, being ranked seventh and eighth respectively, however, the only true test this team has had was against Florida.
Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has had a phenomenal year thus far with over 1,000 passing yards and 16 combined touchdowns. This team has shown great potential under first year head coach Kevin Sumlin, and it will be interesting to see how the former Big 12 team handles the tough slate of SEC conference games. Look for Texas A&M to go bowling at the end of the year.
8. MISSOURI (3-2)
Like Tennessee, Missouri had a rude awakening against tough SEC teams Georgia and South Carolina, who will likely be competing for a spot in the SEC Championship game. This program has come a long way under the tenure of Gary Pinkel, but the team has quickly learned that it is no longer in the Big 12. The defense has shown sparks of greatness, but has looked weak recently, allowing South Carolina and Central Florida to throw all over them. The offense still has yet to find its true rhythm under quarterback James Franklin, as there has been controversy between staying with Franklin or going to freshman Corbin Berkstresser. The Tigers have a chance to grab their first SEC win at home against Vanderbilt, but it will be no easy task. Missouri will have all it can handle next week against the top-ranked Crimson Tide as well. The SEC hasn’t been kind to Missouri yet, but this team should become bowl eligible before the end. Missouri still has quite a few adjustments to make before it will be able to compete for an SEC title.
9. MISSISSIPPI STATE (4-0)
While the Bulldogs are undefeated thus far, the toughest team they have faced is a weak Auburn team. The Bulldogs were able to dismantle Auburn 28-10, but found themselves in a dog fight the next week with the Troy Trojans and barely came out on top by six points. Running back LaDarius Perkins has put up some numbers with nearly 400 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Chad Bumphis has put up an equal number of touchdowns as well, but this team has yet to play the tough part of its SEC schedule. It is very possible for this team to become bowl eligible, but don’t look for Mississippi State’s undefeated record to stand much longer.
10. OLE MISS (3-2)
The Rebels of Ole Miss began the season well but things quickly turned when they played the Texas Longhorns. In that game, the Rebels gave up 66 points, which isn’t a common trait among SEC defenses. Two weeks later they took on top-ranked Alabama and lost their second game of the season. However, there is still hope for this team as Donte Moncrief has put up 380 receiving yards and four touchdowns. This team still has Georgia and LSU on its schedule, but if it can figure out a way to turn things around, it is very possible for the Rebels to go bowling.
11. VANDERBILT (1-3)
Vanderbilt showed true potential to begin the season, by only losing to South Carolina by four points. Thing haven’t gotten easier for the Commodores, though, as they dropped games to Northwestern and Georgia. They now face SEC newcomers Missouri on the road in Columbia, so things certainly won’t be getting easier as they continue SEC play. As tough as the season has been thus far, there is still hope as Zac Stacy has been averaging 7.4 yards a carry. It will be tough for this team to become bowl eligible, but if it can perform like it did against South Carolina, it certainly wouldn’t be impossible to do so.
12. AUBURN (1-3)
Things certainly haven’t been easy for the Auburn Tigers this year as they began the season losing games to Clemson and Mississippi State. The Tigers were fortunate enough to squeak by a competitive Louisiana-Monroe team in overtime, but continued their losing ways in an impressive fight against LSU.
Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier has had his work cut out for him with only two touchdowns and seven interceptions, and the defense hasn’t been one that Auburn teams are used to putting out. One can certainly say that this team truly misses the play of former quarterback Cam Newton and the level of excellence Auburn put on the field not long ago. There is time to turn things around, but don’t expect much to happen this year for the Auburn Tigers.
13. KENTUCKY (1-4)
Kentucky began the season with a loss to Louisville and has only found success against Kent State through five games, which also includes a loss to Western Kentucky. The Wildcats made things interesting against South Carolina last week for awhile but continued to struggle, which has been consistent throughout the season. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith has put up decent numbers with nearly 1,000 passing yards and eight touchdowns, but the defense has not helped him out thus far, giving up 30 points a game. Being in the SEC, things won’t get easier for Kentucky, and it will have to figure things out quickly if it is to make a bowl game this season. Otherwise, it has the hardwood and basketball season to look forward to, coming off of a national title.
14. ARKANSAS (1-4)
Things have gotten ugly in Fayetteville. With the controversy surrounding former coach Bobby Petrino and his dismissal, this may be one of the worst starts to a season Arkansas had had in quite some time. Things seemed hopeful with a win against Jacksonville State, but the Razorbacks have dropped four straight games, including games against Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers. Senior quarterback Tyler Wilson has the makings of a great quarterback, passing for 1,355 yards and nine touchdowns, but has received very little help from his team with the exception of Cobi Hamilton, who has nearly 600 receiving yards and four touchdowns. The Razorback defense has been extremely poor, giving up 40 points a game. Arkansas fans may want to look toward next year as things won’t be getting easier in the SEC.