If you could believe it, SEC play kicks off at the end of next week.
The non-conference contests have finally started to separate the men from the boys in the conference, and on that note, it’s finally time to give proper 1 to 14 rankings.
Around a majority of the SEC suffered some pretty painful losses this past weekend, so we are bound to see some movement.
Let’s dive in!
A win versus Lehigh doesn’t mean too much, but hey, they are still undefeated. If they enter SEC play that way, they don’t deserve to have a ranking any lower.
After a great start to the season defensively, this Arkansas team has given up at least 65 points in three straight games, and the competition hasn’t been stiff either. In a conference where most teams have that one “guy,” they have two playmakers in Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe. That and having one loss is enough for me to justify their #2 ranking.
Although things have gotten bad, they are still Kentucky. Should I overreact to a loss at the hands of the fifth ranked team in the country? I don’t think so. The Wildcats have dropped two in a row, but they will be back.
Well, they beat Jacksonville State. Not a big resumé win, but the bigger issue here is that Lamonte Turner played his last game in this one. The Vols already had trouble scoring and losing a starter won’t make that issue any better.
I’m not going to penalize them too much for scheduling a tough non-conference slate, but they did drop a close one to a good Utah State team. A silver lining for the Gators would be no one played particularly well in this game, and they only lost by three. Florida will likely transition into SEC play with eight wins, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
6. South Carolina
Clemson? Defeated. Virginia? Dominated. This Gamecock squad is a surprise to me, and they now have a resumé that stacks up with the best in the SEC. Since Keyshawn Bryant returned from injury, this has been a completely different team.
Just like Florida, I won’t be too harsh on them for losing to a good team that they didn’t have to play. Despite very possibly being more talented than South Carolina on paper, I gave the edge to the Gamecocks because the Tigers have had all these chances and still haven’t acquired that statement dub yet.
8. Ole Miss
This is probably my one arguable ranking. The Rebels just recently beat a 3-8 Southeastern Louisiana team by 7 and that would be inexcusable for a team ranked higher than this. They still are a good team with a hell of an offense, but these mishaps need to get eliminated (and I’m still not over them dropping a meager 37 points in a 41 point loss to Oklahoma State).
The Tigers are riding high on a three game winning streak, with their most recent win coming against a pretty good Illinois team. The good news is they don’t have a bad loss yet, but the bad news is they still don’t have an effective offense. Their bench had more players scoring double digits than their starters, and that stat is more than enough of a reason for me to panic.
Georgia won two games in a four day time period, but neither of those wins created any noise in my opinion. Anthony Edwards continues to lead this team in the scoring department by a wide margin, but that isn’t a bad thing. The Bulldogs have a special talent in Edwards, and that will keep them around in most ball games.
Nothing to brag about, but they beat Samford on Saturday. Something TO brag about, they dropped 92 in the contest. Wow. If they fix that whole defense thing, this could be a tough team to slow down.
12. Mississippi State
Although this team is 8-3, they aren’t a pretty 8-3. Their most recent game was a loss to New Mexico State. To put it kindly, they shouldn’t have lost that game. One of their other losses was to LA Tech, and that is pretty painful to look at as well. So yes, they will go into conference play with the luxury of having won nine games, but they have yet to respond well to a challenge thus far.
The losses are starting to come, but there was nowhere to go but up after last year. They will accept the easy wins, like their most recent game versus UNC Wilmington.
14. Texas A&M
The Aggies showed some life in their 15-point win over Oregon State, but they are still pretty bad.