Not so fast John, this trainwreck is back on the tracks this weekend using the 100+ years of homecoming mojo! Basketball will wait...until next week anyway!
Week Eight is in the books and there’s been a little bit of shuffling up and down our Power Rankings’ chart.
As usual, we’ve placed each of the SEC’s 14 teams into one of four different categories. Inside those categories, we list the teams alphabetically. This isn’t the 1-14 simple list that everyone else does. We like to be a little different.
Our rankings are based upon how well teams are currently playing, what they’ve accomplished to date, and what we believe each squad’s ceiling to be at this moment.
So without further ado, here’s this week’s MrSEC.com Power Rankings:
National Title Contender
Alabama (7-0) – Ex-Auburn coach Pat Dye says Bama is the best team he’s ever seen. We’re still not quite sure if they’re better than last year’s squad or not. This week they’ll be tested by an unbeaten Mississippi State team that does not beat itself. Then they’ll travel to LSU. Are they the best team in the country? We think so. Better than last year’s bunch? We’ll know more in two weeks.
Florida (7-0) – For all those who said ex-Nick Saban assistants don’t make good coaches, take a gander at the job Will Muschamp’s doing at Florida. In Year Two — after a lot of attrition in Year One — the Gator’s head man has his team playing a smashmouth style of ball that’s suited perfectly for late-season action. Run the ball, play good defense. That’s been the recipe for most if not all of the SEC’s six straight BCS title-winners. Very impressive work from Muschamp and crew.
LSU (7-1) – Les Miles may not be perfect, but he darn sure knows how to field a tough-minded football team. The Tigers suffered a painful loss at Florida three weeks ago but since then they’ve bounced back with a home win over South Carolina and a come-from-behind road win at Texas A&M. The passing game is still nowhere near where it needs to be, but these Tigers once again control their own destiny in the SEC West.
Top 25 Contender
Georgia (6-1) – Saturday’s game against Florida in Jacksonville is huge for the Bulldog program. Win it and they’ll be in the driver’s seat for the East title. Lose it and Dawg fans will begin to howl once more about Mark Richt’s supposed inability to win the “big” game. UGA’s defense will need to have its best day this weekend.
Mississippi State (7-0) – I like this football team. No, they really haven’t played anyone of note but if seven cupcakes are put in front of you, you’re supposed to eat them. State has. They are well-coached and as mentioned above they don’t beat themselves with turnovers or silly mistakes. That 24-point underdog role against Bama this weekend? Too big.
South Carolina (6-2) – Injuries (especially one to Marcus Lattimore) and possibly a bit of cockiness (pun intended) have dropped Carolina from our top category to our second this week. USC has lost two games in a row and its run game has disappeared. Without its run game, Carolina’s passing game has been exposed. All this has happened after an “all the stars aligned” type butt-whoopin’ of Georgia. Might one or two USC players have started buying into their own hype at that point? Or was it simply a matter of playing Georgia, LSU and Florida back to back to back? Probably a little of both.
Texas A&M (5-2) – While folks in College State are disappointed over Saturday’s come-from-ahead loss to LSU, this writer saw more positives than negatives from the Aggies. Johnny Manziel turned the ball over like a redshirt freshman, yes. But he is a redshirt freshman. A&M stood toe-to-tow with an SEC heavyweight and was still just one play from victory last weekend. That’s not a step backward, folks. That’s a step forward.
Bowl Game Contender
Arkansas (3-4) – The Razorbacks have been aided by their schedule. Just as they appeared ready to hit rock bottom, up popped games against Auburn and Kentucky. Still, this team has weapons on offense and its defense — whether aided by bad opponents or not — has shown improvement in recent weeks. A decent bowl game is still a possibility.
Ole Miss (4-3) – The Rebels had the weekend off to prepare for Saturday’s trip to Arkansas. The winner of that game will solidify their bowl hopes. The loser will take slight step into reverse. Mississippi still has road trips to Georgia and LSU on the docket and home game with Vandy and Mississippi State. There are wins to be found in there, but it’s also possible UM could drop all five games. Hugh Freeze has done a fine job this season, but now it’s make-or-break time for his football team.
Vanderbilt (3-4) – Don’t look now but here come the Commodores. After a game with UMass on Saturday, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Wake Forest round things out. Are there three wins to be grabbed from that group of games? Absolutely. So long as Vandy is protecting the football and avoiding major special teams blunders, they can be competitive with just about anyone in the SEC. James Franklin’s did a good job of captaining his team through stormy waters — a 1-3 start — early in the season.
Auburn (1-6) – Oh, this mess just keeps getting worse and worse. All the highly-ranked recruiting classes just aren’t panning out. Neither have Gene Chizik’s coordinator hires, at least not yet. How is it possible that Auburn can look so bad so soon after a national title win?
Kentucky (1-7) – Say this for Joker Phillips: He had his team ready to play against Georgia. The fates were against him again as starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow had to come out due to an in-game migraine, yet the Cats continued to put up a fight with Morgan Newton behind center. Instead of passing, UK ran it. Effectively. And they hung around a Top 15 team all night. If they repeat that kind of performance this weekend at Missouri, they could win.
Missouri (3-4) – It appears the Tigers will once again be without quarterback James Franklin who has yet to run on his banged up knee since injuring it back on October 6th. Without him, Corbin Berkstresser will again get the call. Saturday’s matchup with Kentucky could determine who winds up in last place in the SEC East this season. Here’s guessing Tiger fans and Wildcat fans who mingle before and after the game will talk more about the upcoming hoops season than they do Saturday’s contest.
Tennessee (3-4) – Could the curse of Carolina cost another Tennessee coach his job? Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer were both dumped after losses to the Gamecocks and the hot-seat strapped Derek Dooley heads to Columbia this weekend towing a three-game losing streak and an 0-4 conference record. Now Dooley has put quarterback Tyler Bray on notice that he’ll yank him if he doesn’t protect the football. Will Bray and the Vols fight back… or will they collapse?