The SEC Power Poll is upon us again, and here is the ballot for Rocky Top Talk. Explanations, numbers, etc. follow after the jump.
- Florida Gators Some of you will want Alabama here, understandably, but the numbers still favor Florida. More on that later.
- Alabama Crimson Tide If not #1, then obviously #2.
- LSU Tigers If it weren't for Chavis, this team would be toast. I wonder if they realize this.
- South Carolina Gamecocks When in doubt, go with defense. Strong offenses are more prone to FAIL than strong defense. Which brings us to
- Auburn Tigers Of all teams to fall to, did it have to be such a terrible defense?
- Tennessee Volunteers Again, defense rules. They've not only played some very tough offenses, they've played very well. If Crompton can maintain success, you'll see this rating increase.
- Mississippi Rebels At least they have some defense, because their quarterback situation is - dare I say it - shakier than Tennessee's.
- Georgia Bulldogs This team fell harder than any other this week, and is probably lucky to stay at #8 for now.
- Arkansas Razorbacks Yes, I know, Mallet. But again, offenses are far more variant and prone to fail when you need them. That shambles of a defense will be their undoing.
- Kentucky Wildcats Though the loss of Hartline could make this the highest they see from here on out.
- Mississippi St. Bulldogs Like Tennessee, it's the right direction. They just have a lot more ground to make up and fewer resources with which to pull it off.
Vanderbilt Commodores If only SBNation's story editor would allow me to record a keystroke macro to have Vanderbilt here.
The raw numbers, with the highest in each category (except Win/Loss) in green and the lowest in red:
In graphic form:
Unsurprisingly, Florida and Alabama are head and shoulders above everybody else. Likewise, MSU and Vandy bring up the rear. In the middle, things get dicey.
- LSU is somewhat secure at #3 thanks to a strong SOS and strong overall defensive metrics. Yes, the offense is abysmal, but they should at least have a chance to win almost every game on their schedule. In fact the only weakness on LSU's defense is [must hold straight face] that their third down defense [chortle] is well below NCAA average.
- Stock going up: South Carolina and Tennessee, though both teams have Alabama next. That's great for SOS, but horrible for about everything else. Fortunately, there's really nobody below them who'll be able to overtake them. (Ole Miss might for a week or two, but no more unless Snead wakes up from his coma.)
- Stock going down: You have to worry about Georgia and Arkansas, as both have very highly suspect defenses. However, Georgia has actually done better on defense than Arkansas, and that against better competition. If it weren't for Mallet, Arkansas would be absolutely abysmal right now. Otherwise, LSU may very well get clipped by the South Carolina / Tennessee winner by year's end. They still have the Tide and Auburn to wade through.
- The train wreck match of the year will occur with LSU's offense takes on Arkansas's defense. Hide the women and children.
How the SEC Fares
Unsurprisingly, the SEC is still overall the strongest conference in the NCAA. The biggest advantage the PAC-10 has is the lack of a huge bottom end, thanks to having only 10 teams. (Wazzou is their cellar, but everybody else is at least passable.) But otherwise, the rest of the BCS conferences are basically a pick'em. The MWC is the best mid-major, but the nonconference slate didn't quite hold up this year. That BYU loss to FSU and Utah's loss to Oregon made a pretty big difference in their overall strength, as they just don't have the top end to balance out New Mexico.
So basically, even in a down year for the conference, the SEC is at least legitimately competitive against anybody else in the nation. And this year, there's really nobody to stop the Florida / Alabama from playing for the fragile football thingy.
By the way, is it too early to speculate about a Florida/Alabama rematch for the NC? One Texas Longhorns loss might be enough to do the trick, and they're vulnerable.