A Note About Methodology
This ranking is meant to be prospective in nature. It will do its best to ask which teams would win if they played tomorrow, and then rank accordingly. A prospective ranking looks at the same evidence as a retrospective ranking -- it necessarily has to; the past is all we got -- but instead of formlessly using that evidence as an end in and of itself, it attempts to use that evidence as an answer to the question we all wanna know: who is actually better at the game of football if they played a game of football on a neutral field tomorrow.
Weekend Results Recap, For People Who Didn't Watch the Games (aka Brent Musberger, who was checking out ladies in the crowd)
|Team||Preseason S&P+||Week 1 S&P+||Week 2 S&P+||Week 3 S&P+||Opponent||Opponent Ranking||Result||Current Record|
|Alabama||2||2||2||2||So. Miss.||121||Alabama 52-12
||24||24||22||9||ULL||79||Ole Miss 56-15
|Texas A&M||11||9||6||10||Rice||91||TAMU 38-10
|Mississippi State||26||17||20||11||South Ala.||84||Miss St 35-3||3-0|
|South Carolina||7||22||17||20||Georgia||9||Carolina 38-35
|Florida||29||31||33||28||Kentucky||53||Florida 36-30 (3 OT)
|Arkansas||53||76||36||30||Texas Tech||50||Arkansas 49-28
|Kentucky||75||50||53||70||Florida||33||Florida 36-30 (3 OT)
Onto The Most Puissant Power Rankings In The Land
We see the first real movement of the season this week, as Missouri climbs out of the basement with a solid win over a decent Central Florida team and Steve Spurrier drops the top of the SEC East into chaos.
The SEC West Is Really Really Solid This Year
1. Auburn: The most exciting team in the conference early last season evolved into the most dangerous team, culminating with a national championship game appearance. Gus Malzahn has a returning starting quarterback for the first time in his college coaching career (for real, look it up), and, oh by the way, that quarterback is a senior and a Heisman Trophy candidate. Auburn should be in line for some regression in the luck department, but with overall team improvement, it might not matter. Although it's too early to know for sure, we suspect that this might be the best team in the land, and we're glad Tennessee doesn't have to play these guys.
2. Alabama: Still owns the World's Most Annoying Post-Game Victory Cheer, but they uncharacteristically struggled to put away West Virginia in the opener, even though the outcome was never really in doubt. For the record, one should note that they also struggled a bit against Virginia Tech on a neutral field in 2009 (a 34-24 win), and that season turned out pretty well, so we're not inclined to read too much into the final score. That said, the Crimson Tide defense played up to their usual standard against a well-coached Mountaineers' offense, allowing only 16 points (WVU cribbed a kickoff return for a touchdown), which is far from red flag material. However, the Alabama offense looked uneven and uncoordinated for much of the game, which may mean that future car dealership owner A.J. McCarron (Advertising catchphrase: "You don't want to PASS on a good deal.") will be missed more than expected.
Alabama hasn't played anybody worth their weight in Braxton Miller for Heisman paraphernalia since then, but we suspect they'll work over Florida like secondhand Play-doh. Lane Kiffin
may be is an immature, arrogant, liar, but he's better than decent as an offensive coordinator, and he's very good as a quarterback coach (at least based on the work he did with Jonathan Crompton). Blake Sims will remain a question mark at quarterback until he proves that he can play consistently, but the offense overall should improve as the season goes on. If it doesn't, it won't be because they don't have talent to work with Amari Cooper at wide receiver, T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry, and Henry's advanced hairline at running back, and O.J. Howard at tight end.
Alabama plays Florida this week, which sounds like a great game to watch, and by that we mean, we'll be watching a replay of the best Bachelor episode ever:
3. Texas A&M: The major league Aggies worked over South Carolina's young cornerbacks in Week 1 like a pair of truckstop hookers, then burned the ground and salted the Earth against an overmatched FCS team (thus communicating nothing of note) in Week 2. Texas A&M actually struggled to get going against Rice this past week, giving up a troublesome amount of yardage on defense and taking their sweet time to get up to speed on offense. We've now seen that this team is fallible, but there's a lot to like about the combination of Kevin Sumlin and Kenny Trill. We're not going to learn anything further about this team next week against the SMU Pony Boys (seriously, just look at that picture from EDSBS), which means that we'll have to wait for the Air Raid v. Hulk Smash match-up when Coach BERT comes to town (also the title of his homemade porno) in two weeks.
The major league Aggies move up this week in the rankings largely on the strength of Georgia falling, but it also helps that the original Bulldogs lost to a team that Sumlin et al absolutely destroyed.
The Donnan-Richt Zone, aka Coaches Listed as the Personal Property of One Stephen Orr Spurrier
4. Georgia: Mark Richt is 127-46 overall at Georgia, but only 5-6 against Steve Spurrier: 0-1 v. Florida and 5-5 v. South Carolina. To put that into context, the Bulldogs' complete record against the Gamecocks in their "rivalry" is a stellar 47-18-2, which means that Spurrier owns almost one third of the South Carolina victories over Georgia ever. Richt needs to call up Tennessee Emperor-for-Life Phillip Fulmer (assuming Phil's manservant Mike Dubose can find the time to answer the phone between shining the crystal football and polishing the giant trophies from the last back-to-back SEC Championships) and find out what kind of ritual sacrifices he made to break the Florida streak over Tennessee. So don't be surprised next year if Richt arrives at Sanford Stadium with his ears plugged with beeswax and strapped snugly to the front of the Georgia team bus.
Mike Bobo will probably also end up flayed alive, but that's just a good ol' South Georgia Exit Interview.
Tons Of Talent, But Can They Be Trusted?
5. Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze has seriously upgraded the talent in Oxford, and with two years in the program, the experience level is starting to catch up with raw ability. This year's defense has been increasingly salty, in many ways similar to what Tennessee fans hope the Vols will look like next year (except of course without The License To Kahlil). On offense, they don't have any backs who frighten you, but they do have a man who can write a prescription to cure the average running game (and can also hook you up with some illicit SRIs and analgesics, because bro, you need to try taking some and then watch the Big Lebowski): Dr. Bo is his name.
Anyway, the Revanchist Confederates have a bye this week and play the University of Memphis the following week (usually this is where the jokes about two bye weeks in row would go, but Justin Fuentes has Memphis State playing like there's free barbecue at Cozy Corner after a win) before the team from Tuscaloosa comes to town on October 4th. That's one we're looking forward to, if only to see the awkward handshake conversation between Hugh Freeze and Nick Saban. "So, Hugo, I understand that you're a fisherman in your free time. I too, plumb the cold depths at night, but that's just the emptiness of a ruthless ego that can never be satisfied."
6. LSU: The Bayou Bengals were up only 10-0 at halftime at home against UL-Monroe. That's so Les! Okay, let's take a step back and think about what we have with this team:
- On the one hand, they lost 3 games last year in the SEC and then lost their quarterback, the best receiving corps in the country, and five other guys (besides Mett and the three receivers) to the draft. That sort of attrition makes it tough to expect a team, any team (Mizzou), to be as good as they were last year. Also, the win against Wisconsin, where LSU struggled for 2.5 quarters, is only impressive if the Badgers are far and away the best in a horrible, no-good, very bad conference.
- On the other hand, last year's team had noticeable holes in the front seven that meant the defense never really lived up to lofty expectations. With the way the Bayou Bengals recruit, it only takes a few highly-touted recruits panning out to make a huge difference, so there's a possibility that this year's defense could actually be faster and more dangerous than last year's. If the defense returns to the ferocious standard of prior years, it almost doesn't matter what the offense does. Sure, LSU struggled to defend the run against Wisconsin for the first two and some change quarters, but then they clamped down and absolutely smothered the Badgers' run game. With a huge offensive line, deep backfield, and an offensive game plan that calls for running as a first, second, and third option, how important are the quarterback and wide receivers, anyway (non-Alabama championship game rematch edition)?
The Gooey Middle Is Gooey And Difficult To Rank
7. Missouri: Central Florida is a sneaky good team, and the other other Tigers absolutely smashed them. This team is at least 5-30% better than we thought they were last week, and so they make an accordingly large jump. The lesson as always: if you reserve judgment until you see someone play reasonable competition, you have to be willing to re-rank once the results are known.
8. Tennessee: The defense is legitimate, as in, ranked 12th in FBS in the S&P defensive rankings, but the offense has to improve from bag-on-the-head awful to mediocre for the Vols to have a chance in league play. Oklahoma's defense was good, but the conference schedule is littered with defenses that are
as good arguably better and stacked significantly deeper with future NFL guys. Don Mahoney has his work cut out for him improving the offensive line, because Tennessee can't turn the ball over twice, give up five sacks, and expect to win many games. However, Trevor Knight is probably the best quarterback the Vols will see all season, and it's much easier to win a game where the offense doesn't have to score more than twenty-something points.
9. South Carolina: The HBC clowned one of Mark Richt's deepest and most talented teams on national television, apparently just for the fun of it. How good do you think Spurrier could be if he felt like working more than 3 hours a day (aka, the time between breakfast mimosas and golf)?
In any case, the Gamecocks' secondary is still terrifyingly incompetent, and this win, while good, is nothing to get too crazy excited about. Unless you just really feel like playing Sandstorm. Okay, okay, okay, play Sandstorm again.
10. Arkansas: Bert has his trademarked Hulk Smash offense up and running against the mid-majors of the world, and Auburn's inexplicably poor tackling defense. Significantly improved from last year, but what is this offense going to look like against LSU, Ole Miss, and Alabama? In the meantime, we get to watch what should be an extremely entertaining matchup of dissimilar styles when Bert's wife goes shopping at the
Galleria of Houston Northpark Center in Dallas (EDIT: apparently we missed that this game is in Jerryworld) for fine joorey and Juicy Couture. As an undercard, the Razorbacks play at the major league Aggies later that night.
11. Mississippi State: This team was not particularly impressive against UAB and a certain someone was not pleased with the Cowbells' inability to cover that spread. However, they did reward a certain someone's decision to jump back on the Midnight Express to Starkville this past Saturday by covering against South Alabama, in as unimpressive a blowout victory (35-3) as one will ever see. But here's the problem, yet again, with predicting big things for Mississippi State this year: they're undefeated against absolutely atrocious competition. The Cowbells' best win this year is against South Alabama, a team that checks in at a scintillating 81st in FBS, behind such luminaries as Ball State and Toledo. Dan Mullen has made a career out of treating Mississippi State fans like Lucy treats Charlie Brown, building up their collective hopes for a breakthrough season only to cruelly dash them at the last possible second. How many times can this same exact sequence of events play out before the good denizens of Starkville realize that dominating terrible teams while building up a gaudy but insubstantial record makes them the Cleveland Browns of the SEC?
We Didn't See This Tier Coming
12. Kentucky: Wildcat fans, we feel you. It's bad enough that the refs screwed you with one of the most egregious calls since the Colorado Fifth Down game, but over at Alligator Army, they're crying about an uncalled late hit on Kelvin Taylor like the Gainesville Belk store stopped carrying jorts and self-tanner. Have Gator fans ever actually watched their team play defense under Will Muschamp, or were they too busy restocking the Mike's Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice? All of those personal foul penalties weren't for Excessive Gentlemanliness or Unnecessary Politeness.
13. Florida: When you play Kentucky at home, with a fancy new offense, and you play them to a standstill in regulation, and then again in a first overtime, and then again in a second overtime -- and did I mention they were at home? -- that means Kentucky is better than you on a neutral field. We can't wait to parse the tortured prose from
Landon Bearsgowhee Bardon Wheresmytee Marbstom Hearsaflea whatever-that-guys-name-is when he inevitably ranks Florida ahead of the Vols. We just can't wait. Great South Carolina and Florida fansite that guy has.
Is This The Worst SEC Team In the Modern Era?
Vandy: RELEGATORS! Mount up.
Bonus Power Ranking: Best Use Of Music In a Movie Scene, by KidB
This list has been made with complete accuracy and precision according to my subjective whims and personal preferences. If you'd like to tell me how terrible my list is and how you would have ranked them instead...well that's why God made comment sections.
10. Joe Dirt - Sheriff "When I'm With You" - "Brandy Interrupts Kid Rock By Riding In On A Horse": Many many movies have had scenes where a really hot girl enters the scene with accompanying music. As a stand in for all of those scenes -- and because I love this particular scene and have an irrational love for Joe Dirt generally -- is this bad boy right here. One minute you've got Kid Rock riduculing/taunting our antihero, and, then, hold on...is that music I hear?
Brandy: so fine!
9. Rocky IV - "No Easy Way Out" - The Flashback While Driving His Sports Car Scene: There have been many montages and there will be many more, but this is my numero uno. You've got Rocky, his sweet sports car with "Sothpaw" plates, and memories flashing through his head -- Apollo, Drago, Rocky's wet-blanket wife (who goes out of her way to ruin as many scenes as possible) -- while Survivor fills the background with goodness and totally appropriate lyrics. Well done, Rocky IV.
Aside: Rocky IV ended the cold war. But you knew that.
Rocky IV - "No Easy Way Out" (via Philip Dilip)
8. Ocean's 11 -- Claire De Lune: I'm not certain that Ocean's 11 is the best movie ever made, but it's certainly the most rewatchable. And what a send off.
7. Cruel Intentions - Colorblind: I also have an irrational love for this movie, though I'm not certain it's totally irrational. Either way, this scene is brilliant; the song, by Counting Crows, is fantastic; and the two share a symbiotic relationship. I'm impressed.
6. Love Actually Ending - God Only Knows: Ain't nothing irrational here. This scene is awesome, the song is awesome, and the movie as a whole is awesome. Fact, fact, and fact. Hugh Grant as Prime Minister? Liam Neeson meeting Claudia Schiffer at an elementary school function? So much to like. In fact, I debated putting another Love Actually scene in this list, but then thought it too gratuitous. But do google "love actually all I want for christmas".
5. Goodfellas, "The Copacabana Scene": Just so well executed. Many thanks to The Crystals for their contributions to this classic scene.
4. Almost Famous - Tiny Dancer: "You ARE home." I love you, Kate Hudson. I don't care how many rock stars you've been with. Now at this point you're probably asking: why isn't Bohemian Rhapsody from Wayne's World on this list? The answer is this: Bohemian Rhapsody from Wayne's World isn't on this list because Almost Famous did with Tiny Dancer everything that Wayne's World did with Bohemian Rhapsody -- including the part where they made a great song that wasn't famous enough way more famous -- and did it all way better. And so I consider the Bohemian Rhapsody scene from Wayne's World to be a poor man's version of the following scene, even if they did it first.
3. Fight Club Ending - Pixies, "Where Is My Mind": Oh, so he's Tyler Durden. Well then him and his girl Marla should hold hands and enjoy the fireworks. Roll credits.
2. Boogie Nights -- The "Sister Christian" Scene: This is only the single most intense movie scene ever. Would it work just as well with another song? Well, I guess we'll never know. But this Night Ranger classic fits the time period and it's awesome and so is the scene. If you haven't seen this one -- and you're okay with adult language and themes -- give it a google if . And if you've already seen it, you'll know it's awesome and will want to watch it again.
1. 8 Mile -- Final Rap Battles: Bonus points here for the music being not only prevalent and performed by the actual characters in the movie, but actually serving as the climax to an excellent movie. There is something very cool about rap battles, and this one was beautifully played by Mr. Jimmy Smith Jr. (aka Bunny Rabbit). "Now while he stands tough, notice that this man did not have his hands up." Here is an oral history of the rap battles, which is safe for work. The battles themselves likely aren't (due to language), so check them out at home.
Honorable Mention: too many to list. I could freaking create a 64-team NCAA-style bracket with solid scenes. In fact, please feel free to comment on the potential awesomeness of such an idea in the comments section. And of course list the various scenes that I might include in a lengthy lengthy honorable mention section, or even in the top ten if my ranking didn't suck (it doesn't, but I'm sure some will present that argument...and that's okay).