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The Most Powerful SEC Power Rankings: Week 2

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In which we don't discuss Nelly, but do discuss many other issues of import, such as gentlemanly beer consumption, facts about Lamar, and Dr. Bo.

Number one to they mama, at least.
Number one to they mama, at least.
Frederick Breedon

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 Coaches' Poll Voters)

Team Preseason S&P+ Week 1 S&P+ Opponent Opponent Ranking Differential Result Current Record
Alabama 2 2 FAU 108 -106 Alabama 41-0 2-0
Georgia 10 8 Bye NA NA NA 1-0
Texas A&M 11 9 Lamar FCS NA 73-3 2-0
Auburn 8 14 San Jose St 54 -40 Auburn 59-13 2-0
Mississippi State 26 17 UAB 103 -86 Miss St 47-34 2-0
LSU 12 18 Sam Houston St FCS NA LSU 56-0 2-0
South Carolina 7 22 East Carolina 48 -26 Carolina 33-23 1-1
Missouri 22 23 Toledo 47 -24 Mizzou 49-24 2-0
Ole Miss 24 24 Vanderbilt 75 -51 Ole Miss 41-3 2-0
Florida 29 31 Eastern Michigan 121 -90 Florida 65-0 1-0
Kentucky 75 50 Ohio 98 -48 Kentucky 20-3 2-0
Tennessee 55 52 Arkansas State 73 -21 Tennessee 34-19 2-0
Vanderbilt 61 75 Ole Miss 24 +51 Ole Miss 41-3 0-2
Arkansas 53 76 Nicholls State FCS NA Arkansas 73-3 1-1

Onto The Most Powerful Power Rankings In The Land

Not a ton of change from last week, and that's not because we're unwilling to pay little mind to the previous week's rankings -- especially early in the season -- and rank the teams on a completely clean slate, but because there just wasn't much in the way of meaningful data provided by the weekend's slate of games.

Still A Six-Pack Of Solid Teams, But Is It Really a Holiday Five-Pack?

1.  UGA:  They prevailed against Bye, who is nearly as good as probably better than Lamar, Sam Houston State, and Nicholls State.

2.  Auburn: This Auburn team looks primed to again be almost completely unstoppable on offense.  It's difficult to get a great read on their defense, but with the talent that the coaching staff is collecting, one would expect the defense to improve from last year's dismal effort (a scary thought for opposing teams). Fortunately, there's little-to-no actual evidence that the defense has improved at all, which should be perplexing to even the most casual observer: the War Tigles have two convincing wins, but the run defense was gashed against Arkansas (5.88 non-QB YPC, 1 TD allowed) and the pass defense was boom-or-bust against San Jose State (7.9 YPA, 1 TD allowed, 3 INTs).

There are arguments for Auburn to be in the top slot, but we're going to keep them here in the silver medal position for the time being.

3.  Alabama:  One might have expected Bama to beat FAU even worse than 41-0, but this really can't be held against Bama as (a) Saban is not one to run up the score against outmatched opponents, and (b) the game was called with 9 minutes to go because of lightning. Another reason the score differential didn't reach Brobdingnagian proportions was the quarterback rotation of Blake Sims and Jacob Jake Coker, both of whom had a chance at the controls of the Death Star, with Sims receiving 24 snaps over 4 drives and Coker getting 48 over 6. Normally there would be a clear breakdown between garbage/non-garbage time, but Florida Atlantic is the hottest of flaming dumpster fires, thanks in part to 'Hot Carl' Pelini (aka, the fun Pelini, and no, Bo, riffing on your catlady fake twitter doesn't convince us).

Anyway, it's unusual to have a team this highly ranked without a settled starting quarterback, especially one from the Saban Assembly Line of ChampionsTM.

4.  Texas A&M:  You could probably throw together a team of guys named Lamar by cold-calling residents in the Houston phone book (question: do they still make phone books?) and the score wouldn't look too much different. However, in honor of the Texas A&M schedule-maker, here are the top five things I learned about Lamar University from Wikipedia:

(1) Lamar is in Beaumont, Texas, which is a complete [FULMERIZED]-hole of a town that you have to drive through on I-10 on your way from NOLA to Houston. Most of the towns on that stretch of I-10 (aka, "Future Chemical Engineers of America: Here Be Your Jerbs") are redeemed by having friendly folks and good food of one variety or another: andouille, gumbo, crawfish, etc. But not Beaumont; it's just a carbuncle on the face of Texas.

(2) Lamar was named after Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second governor of the Republic of Texas, who was called "The Father of Texas Education," although whether or not this was intended as an insult is unclear.

(3) Lamar was recognized for having a well-designed curriculum in a study conducted by a non-profit of which I'd never heard (the American Council of Trustees and Alumni). A columnist for the Washington Post was so excited by this news that she wrote the line "Forget Harvard and think Lamar" into her column, which suggests she has either never heard of Harvard or is bad at making judgments about things and thus shouldn't be writing for a national newspaper, but hey, I'm just some guy on the internet.

(4) Lamar has a handy nutrition calculator on the dining hall website, which is great for pre-planning your freshman fifteen. Should you go with the buttered grits (70 calories per ladle) or the vegetable cheese strata (320 calories per slice) for breakfast? Let's be honest, you're going to roll out of bed late, grab one of your roommate's granola bars (thanks, local who-has-a-mom-who-drops-off-food), and try not to get to class so late that you have to do the embarrassing walk all the way to the front for a seat.

(5) Lamar resurrected football in 2008 after a lengthy hiatus (the program was dropped in 1989), taking the field again on September 4th, 2010. So now I feel bad about poking fun at a program (and a school) that's trying to find a place in a hard, cruel world. Helicopter Kevin Sumlin, on the other hand, has no time for mercy or pity: between figuring out which of his charges have been arrested for felonious conduct and fielding frantic Manziel-related queries from the Cleveland Browns' front office, he's lucky to have an hour of peace and quiet all day.

5.  Ole Miss:  They made Vandy look bad, but then again, Vandy was shellacked by Temple last week. It does concern us that Dr. Bo is still attempting underhanded shovel passes, but he's super fun to watch, and his looseness with the football definitely won't come back to bite the Rebels Ackbars Rebel Black Bears. In unrelated news, a vote for Ole Miss is a vote for spinning the Hype Machine up to Absolute Maximum Nutt prior to the October 4th game against Alabama.

6.  LSU:  Ole Miss and LSU are a really tight 5 and 6, and really could go either way on the order.  And though we don't wish to fall victim to the lure of rankings inertia, and reserve the right to freely move teams in a fluid manner, it is difficult to say much more about LSU this week than last week.

Better Than Expected, Probably Not As Good As Desired

7.  Tennessee:  The Vols didn't look quite as good this week as last, but that's what happens when you lose your starting left tackle and play a bowl team instead of Dead White Guy State. The accumulated evidence suggests they're better than all of the teams between 8-14, and we don't even believe it to be a terribly close call. Is that trip to Norman going to make them look awful? Probably, but how many SEC teams are willing to even schedule that home-and-home? Georgia, LSU, and most likely no one else (and after their last meeting, certainly not Alabama).

8.  Mississippi State: Not the most impressive performance against UAB, who, to be fair, is probably much improved from the prior two years, but who still shouldn't have been putting points up on MSU like that. Rather, the Blazers shouldn't have been putting points up on MSU like that if MSU were any good. Also, it's time for some Real Talk with Dak Prescott:

Hey Dak,

We know you're named after a totally cool Star Wars character, but you do realize that guy dies at the end of his scene, right? We bring it up because WHY WAS DAMIEN WILLIAMS IN THE GAME DURING NON-GARBAGE TIME IF YOU HAVE A HEISMAN CAMPAIGN GOING ON?! You don't passively sit on the sidelines, you punch Danno in the mouth and tell him that there's no way you're playing second fiddle to some sophomore from the white-trash part of New Orleans. I mean, I'm expecting you to at least match the hype level of the Deuce McAllister for Heisman campaign from That School Up North before you fall flat on your face in front of a national audience. Get it together, dude.

Your friends,

RTT

9.  Arkansas:  Drubbed Nicholls State 73-7.  They are in the same conference as both Lamar and Sam Houston, and are worse than both, but Arkansas at least did annihilate them.  Week 2 was not terribly helpful towards the most powerful power rankings, as we've already noted, but Arkansas is much improved from last season and we think the Razorbacks might just have a pulse this year (for reference, Arkansas managed 24 points last year against 1-11 Southern Miss).

Bound and Determined to Disappoint You

10.  South Carolina: Did not exactly redeem themselves this week after the TAMU debacle.  They have a chance this coming week, and we'll be paying attention. And by paying attention, I mean trying to find a sports book which will take a prop bet on the number of missed tackles by the Gamecock's secondary. If gambling was legal, that is.

11.  Missouri: Matty Mauk looked good this week, and Toledo isn't horrible.

12.  Florida:  Eastern Michigan is every bit as bad as the FCS opponents of several of Florida's SEC brethren, and so we didn't learn a ton about Florida's chances of winning Muschampionships by watching them bubble screen their way to a 65 point win. On the other hand, watching the game replay on ESPN3 and then reading the recap from Alligator Army was a truly amusing exercise in cognitive dissonance.

POINT: "Florida's offense is real!"

COUNTERPOINT: While scoring on every first half drive against one of the worst teams in FBS is exciting, it's not a great sign that the Gators had to convert two fourth downs on the opening drive, settled for 3 field goals in 7 trips, and were up 30-0 at the half largely on the strength of two long runs in which the running backs were never touched.

Point: "Florida's defense is really good."

COUNTERPOINT: Yes, it absolutely is, but three defensive personal foul penalties (out of 10 total Florida penalties) hint at a continued lack of discipline that has plagued the Gators under Muschamp.

POINT: Treon Harris is unstoppable! He made "unquestionably the best two throws to begin a career as a Gators quarterback in the history of Florida football."

COUNTERPOINT: Wow, pump the brakes. You're going to make Rex Grossman cry.

Surprisingly Competent, Given the Starting Point

13.  Kentucky: They scored 20 on O-H-I-O, which doesn't exactly scream Juggernaut, but Ohio is actually a pretty decent mid-major coached by Nebraska cast-off Frank Solich. Sure, Kentucky is going to need a bit more firepower than that to put up points on SEC defenses that don't rhyme with Handertilt, but this is progress!

Give the People What They Want

14. Vandy: Like the powers that be at Coca-Cola, Vandy football has apparently decided to get rid of New Vandy and replace it with what consumers demand: Vandy Classic, a smooth drinking, easy to digest blend of being awful and having no hope. Kicking a sad field goal to cut the margin of victory to 38 in the fourth quarter at home? Welcome back, Vanderbilt!

Bonus Power Ranking: Best Beer Styles to Drink Outside on a Patio in the Fall

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.

1. Belgian Witbieren. More flavor than German or French wheat beers (due to the various purity laws which forbid the use of gruit, a non-hop combination of dried spices), but still light and easy to drink in conditions from the quite warm to the mildly chilly. Hoegaarden sometimes suffers from temperature damage in the bottle, but a cool, crisp fresh one is something to enjoy.

2. Blond Saison. Refreshing, low in alcohol, and summery, saisons are the ideal beer to drink on a sunny patio. The only problem (if it's a problem) is that many come in larger bottles, necessitating several glasses or a friend. I prefer the classic Saison Dupont, or newcomer Noble King (Jester King Brewing)

3. American Black IPA. Maybe it's purely psychosomatic, but something about a light bodied but dark-in-color beer feels subversive and fun, especially when the weather is nice. Where it's available, DevESTATEtion Black IPA (Sierra Nevada) is an excellent buy. I'll also note that the German beer Kostritzer, which is a black lager, shares many of the same characteristics in a less hoppy package.

4. Belgian Blond Ale. This can encompass several styles from the relatively light Poperings Hommelbier (Brouwerij Van Eecke) to the fairly strong and almost sweet bubblegum flavor of Delirum Tremens (Huyghe). I also like Pere Noel (De Ranke), which is on the drier side.

5. American Wheat Ale. Light, slightly fruity, and smooth on the palate, American wheat ales are enjoyable at all times, and don't require a special trip anywhere other than your local supermarket. Matilda (Goose Island) and Snapshot (New Belgium) are both easy to find and easy to drink.

6. Belgian Tripel. Now we're starting to get serious. Westmalle Trappist Tripel (Westmalle) might be my favorite beer in the world, but between the glass, the expense, and the alcohol level, this is less patio and more "dining al fresco." It's still really good, but you might have to take off your lawn-mowing shoes to properly enjoy it. I haven't seen it anywhere outside of Belgium or a certain fancy-pants beer importing bistro, but Bruges Tripel is also really quite good.

7. American Imperial IPA. Another serious beer for serious enjoyment. I really like the Green Flash West Coast Imperial IPA, probably because this beer is so strong (8.1%) and so hoppy that the two factors play off of each other into a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Plus, I think it sort of tastes exactly like a freshly mown lawn smells: crisp and green. I wouldn't want to drink more than one or two in a row, however.

8. Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Well, the Imperial bit makes it sound fancy, but really that just means that it has a higher alcohol content, which is necessary to counteract the extensive spicing that many of these beers receive. I have a friend who absolutely loves an over-the-top sweet pumpkin ale, but no. The Schlafly Pumpkin Ale is a good example of a beer that sounds good in theory and tastes even better in practice: just the right amount of subtle pumpkin flavor with an easy finish.

9. German Hefeweizen. I love a good hef; you love a good hef. So why is this so far down? Well, Weihenstephaner Weissbier seems to suffer from the same funkyness curse that Hoegaarden occasionally develops in the bottle, only without the upside. If you can find it on tap at your neighborhood beer garden or bar, indulge, but it's not one that's worth the expense in my opinion for most home consumption.

10. American Pale Ale. Sure, Dale's Pale Ale (Oskar Blues) has a nice tart, hoppy flavor, but man does that start to build up a backlog of spit in my mouth. Something about this style is off-putting-- I'm not sure how to describe it other than by analogy: it's the hop equivalent of a sugar-containing substance becoming saccharine. I'll drink a Dale's or a Public (DC Brau), but there better be an alternative in the cooler for beer number two.

Things I would drink only if the alternative is water: Kolsch, Vienna lager, Pilsner, anything described as "similar to a Molson's".