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SEC Power Rankings: It’s Bama and Everyone Else

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After 3 weeks of play, I think we know enough to do our first proper rankings.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

As the subtitle above says, I think it is time to ditch the categories and layout a proper 1-14 ranking of the SEC. Some of our sister sites have been starting at 14 and waiting to the end to reveal who they have at number one, but unless you haven’t watched a game at all this season, you know who number one is, so let’s start there.

1. ALABAMA (3-0)

We have known for a long time that Alabama is a good team and that Nick Saban is a really good coach - maybe the best college football has ever seen, but (cue 30 for 30 voice in your head) what if I told you that the best coach in the history of the sport wasn’t the Madden cheat code for the Tide?

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi
Up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, A, B, A, B, select, start
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa is the QB that Bama fans have been waiting on and fans of other college football teams hoped would never find his way to Tuscaloosa. It is 100% fair to argue that this team hasn’t been tested yet, but the execution says they can do whatever they want against whoever they want.

2. LSU (3-0)

LSU still has so many problems, and most of them are named Joe Burrow. The problem may not even be that he is bad. It might be that LSU’s offense is designed to help this guy succeed. Yet, week after week they succeed and as of Week 4, no one in America has a better resumé than the Bayou Bengals.

LSU v Auburn
Coach O, seen here thinking about gumbo, has led LSU to two victories over top 10 teams.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It is still very possible that this whole thing is a house of cards, but right now Coach O has receipts. Auburn is no joke and LSU’s defense dictated the entire second half of that game.

3. GEORGIA (3-0)

2018 has just been one mauling after another by the Bulldogs. that has been overshadowed by the fact that Alabama is committing war crimes against their opponent, but make no mistake, UGA is a top 5 team for a reason.

Middle Tennessee v Georgia
Georgia’s run game is stupid.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Think about all the stuff Georgia hasn’t had to do yet. They haven’t had to get a 200-yard game out of Jake Fromm. They haven’t asked a single running back to carry the ball 25 times through three games. They have given up a total of 24 points for the season and they haven’t needed anyone in the front 7 to be an overwhelming force. Guys, Georgia is pretty good.

4. AUBURN (2-1)

The fun of doing SEC power rankings for GABA is no one bothers me and my word is taken as gospel. So yes, I know Mississippi State and Kentucky are still undefeated, but I do factor in eyeball test and overall strength of the roster in these rankings. Plus, I am not sure anything Kentucky has done against Murray State or Mississippi State did against Louisiana-Lafayette is enough to put them ahead of Auburn.

LSU v Auburn
“Look, you don’t have to call me dad, but you live in my house and I am married to your mother. You will show me more respect than just calling me Gus.”
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Auburn had a rough second half, but consider what this team is when they are firing on all cylinders. Hell, even when they aren’t they still find ways to beat a team like Washington and make a team like LSU sweat. Auburn has played two top ten opponents and are still a net +4 in those games. I’ll trust Jarrett Stidham and Kat Pettway over whatever Mississippi State or Kentucky have in their backfields.

5. MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-0)

Joe Moorhead came into Starkville and there has been no real transition. It is just like he hit pause to start things right back up after Dan Mullen bolted for Florida. This is a team getting so much out of its offense right now at every position and the fact that Montez Sweat is still doing Montez Sweat things is an added bonus.

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Mississippi State
To paraphrase Mary Poppins, a spoon full of defense helps the opponent go down in the most delightful way.
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs are entering the “put up or shut up” stretch of their schedule. Kentucky looks to be a harder out than we first gave them credit for. Next is Florida, and it’s never easy to play against your former coach. After that Mississippi State gets Auburn, LSU, and A&M. They do get a breather against La Tech before going to Alabama, so you know...that’s good.

6. TEXAS A&M (2-1)

I remain unimpressed by Jimbo Fisher as a football coach. Say what you want about him having a ring, he has never coached outside of a state with a natural recruiting advantage and his only two truly special seasons were the result of having one of the best QBs in the sports history. That being said, I cannot deny that Texas A&M has looked impressive this season. Granted, they lost their only game against a real opponent, but I expected Clemson would demolish the Aggies, so credit where it is due.

NCAA Football: UL Monroe at Texas A&M
Forget the guy in the whites, carry off whoever is in charge of the laundry at A&M! That looks marvelous!
John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

Kellen Mond is a really good QB, and if he is capable of not getting decapitated by Clemson’s front 7, it is possible that he can have some success against Bama, who may be talented, but has had so much turnover in the secondary that it may just be amateur of facing a really good QB before they start to show cracks.

7. KENTUCKY (3-0)

The monkey is already off this team’s collective back. If Kentucky goes 0-9 the rest of the way, their fans can still consider 2018 a success and I assume Mark Stoops will get a contract extension. That’s what happens when you are the first coach since the Regan years to beat Florida! Things are going to taper off for the Wildcats though. That is just what happens when you start a 6 game stretch that includes Mississippi State, Carolina, A&M, and UGA.

NCAA Football: Murray State at Kentucky
Benny Snell, pictured here doing Benny Snell things, looks very handsome in checkerboard sleeves.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Now, to this point, you cannot take anything away from Kentucky. They have played well and done everything asked of them. I just wonder how much their very limited passing attack can do to take some pressure off of Snell when they face someone a little better than Central Michigan.

8. MISSOURI (3-0)

Let’s look beyond the SEC for a minute. I am someone that thought Jeff Brohm was going to have Purdue setting the world on fire in 2018. Obviously, I was wrong. Mizzou started the game in great shape and little by little let Purdue get back in it. Should they be dinged for that? I don’t know. I think you can make an argument for either side.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Purdue
One of approximately 7,923,934,521,250 passes Drew Locke has thrown this season.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

What Mizzou has done well this season is let Drew Locke be Drew Locke and let the offense continually put on a display. This is an offense that has put up at least 550 total yards in every game. If they can do that again this week against Georgia (SPOILER ALERT: They cannot.) they may have a shot to pull the upset.

9. SOUTH CAROLINA (1-1)

The losing streak is stopped at 1! In all seriousness, let’s hope and pray that everyone without power gets it back soon and everyone effected by the storm comes through stronger on the other side. Now on to football.

NCAA Football: Georgia at South Carolina
Will Muschamp is confused by the lack of jokes in that first paragraph.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

After the Georgia loss I said that I thought it was more likely the gulf between the Dawgs and the Cocks was bigger than we wanted to admit than it was that this was just a bad team. I still believe that. Vndy, Kentucky, and Mizzou in back-to-back-to-back weeks will be a good chance to prove that.

10. VANDERBILT (2-1)

Vandy has absolutely feasted on bad competition this season. On Saturday they almost did it again, because here is something I noticed: Notre Dame is kinda ass this season. Maybe not as ass as they have been, but my god, if not for the strip of Lipscomb on Vandy’s final drive, Brian Kelly is having to explain to fans how the Irish were the second best team in South Bend on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Notre Dame
We all hate Notre Dame right? I mean, win something this century before you pound your chest about being the best program in history.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Vandy’s defense has been nasty and that will be enough to spring some upsets in the SEC this season. Where they will struggle in conference play is scoring enough to make sure their defense’s effort is not in vain. They are college football’s Jacob de Gromm in that way.

11. OLE MISS (2-1)

Now that we’re in the double digits, these are going to get short and sweet. Your coach looks like the one clean member of a corrupt Southern sheriff's department, not because he is a kind and just man, but because all of the other deputies know he is too stupid to keep a secret.

I assume this was taken after the very first play. Otherwise, there is nothing I can think of that these people would be cheering about.
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations! You have a prolific offense that has demolished two opponents. That gets wiped away by a 55-point loss to a conference opponent.

12. FLORIDA GATORS (2-1)

The one thing you had going for you was a ridiculous winning streak against Kentucky. You don’t have that anymore.

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Florida
Congratulations on avoiding a loss to a team you are still paying to hire away the coach that you have already fired.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, at least you won the No One Here is Coached by Jim McElwain Bowl!

13. TENNESSEE (2-1)

Hey, you aren’t Arkansas!

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Tennessee
It takes UTEP (UTEP!) to make Tennessee look like an SEC calibre defense.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

14. ARKANSAS (1-2)

Let’s all just watch it on a loop.