Methodology note: Someone in the Tennessee Athletics Department deserves a raise for scheduling a bye week following the Georgia game-- Tennessee fans everywhere were able to take a well-deserved vacation from football anxiety, genuinely enjoy the company of friends and family, and bask in the afterglow of an extremely satisfying win for two straight weeks. Oh, and it's always entertaining to watch college football for the pure spectacle of it, especially when other fans are suffering Fukushima-level meltdowns (see: This Week in Schadenfreude).
Because of the vacation from Volunteer football, this week's Power Rankings were composed on the finest handmade stationary while reclining Roman-style on a veranda overlooking a pure white sandy beach on the Indian Ocean. Periodically, the chief steward would refill my frosted rum beverage from a silver pitcher and bring me telegrams from Chris Pendley's research expedition in the Smokey Mountains, where he and KidBourbon have been hunting for signs of the elusive Wild Bray, a magnificent beast of legend.
Because it was asked in the comments last week, here's the link to this week's poll results at Team Speed Kills: SEC Power Poll Week 7: Order
SEC Power Rankings, Week 7: Sandy destinations
- [Currently unoccupied]
- Leonard Fournette featuring the State University of Baton Rouge Players. Hunter: Les Miles at LSU is the perfect example of "Infinite Monkey Theorem" for college football coaching. KidBourbon (KidB): Leonard Fournette is better at football than you are at football. The only way that statement might not be absolutely, unequivocally accurate is if Florida State's Dalvin Cook is a connoisseur of college football blogs and prefers the fine written product of Rocky Top Talk over the dreck at Tomahawk Nation. And even then, Dalvin, what's going on with your hammy, man?! Chris Pendley (Chris): More or less here by default, not that I'm convinced Brandon Harris is actually a good QB just yet.
- Alabama. Hunter: Balanced scoring, Tuscaloosa-style: offense 20 points, defense 21 points. Chris: Nick Saban is out here cranking up the Death Star again and hoping nobody notices that the battlestation is fully operational. KidB: At some point, the Crimson Juggernauts will cease playing the role of Billy Madison dominating Third Grade Dodgeball, but honestly, I don't see that day coming in the near future.
- Florida. Hunter: The Gators are confounding on offense: close to the bottom of I-A in explosiveness on first and second downs, but top 10 on third and fourth downs. Chris: I guess Florida goes here. They did okay in Baton Rouge and there's enough here that they should skate for the rest of the season... until they pull the rarely seen Reverse Richt and lose by 20 in Jacksonville. KidB: I hate you, Florida.
- Texas A&M. Chris: The Aggies are here both for the sunny (played the Elephants close except for three plays!) and the rainy (man, who else deserves this spot?). KidB: Make an argument for another team here [Editor's note: KidB voted Florida 4th and TAMU 3rd). Now, does it seem sensible, or does it involve a team that prides itself on a stadium full of Jersey kids with new haircuts and mad hair gel showing off their complete lack of knowledge of SEC football history by repeatedly doing a straight-arm, full-on clap sort of thing? Yeah, I went with Texas A&M instead. Hunter: There's no shame in losing to Bama, but three pick-6s is terrible, horrible, and not very good.
- Ole Miss. Hunter: BIZARRE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE TEAM THAT DEFIES ALL RANKINGS. HUGH FREEZE NEEDS A GOATEE IMMEDIATELY. KidB: I don't know either, man, but I do know that the Memphis quarterback is FULMERIZED good. Chris: Hugh Freeze and the boys of September.
- Tennessee. Chris: If you think the staff spent the bye week reviewing probability theory, then feel free to rank them higher. KidB: The Scarecrow All-Stars-- "If the coaches only had a brain." Hunter: Hey, at least we won the bye week!
- Mississippi State. KidB: If you asked me to name all of the teams in the SEC, Mississippi State would almost always be the last team mentioned. I think Dan Mullen's perfectly forgettable coaching acumen and personality have rubbed off on the school itself. I'm sure I remembered them much more clearly when they were in Full Croom. Chris: So forgettable that basically they just get the SEC West bump-- get back to me if y'all can make some hay soon. Hunter: CLANGA fell behind to La Tech while Ole Miss was up 14-0 against Memphis in the first quarter, which led to some very premature and hilarious-in-retrospect celebrations by Ole Miss fans
- Arkansas. KidB: BERT is the team who can both beat the best team in the conference and lose to the worst, or at least to the third best team from the MAC, and you won't be surprised at all. Maybe you won't be surprised at all. Maybe it's the grinding style and consequent tighter margins on both sides of the W/L coin. Maybe it's that BERT just strikes me as a bit of a wildcard. Maybe it's that I've never stepped foot in their state, and am not sure what it would be like if I did. Maybe all of the above. Chris: "They're here, they're ________, get used to it!" Hunter: BERT is like an unlucky Les Miles.
- Georgia. Hunter: Squeaked out a win against Missouri, but losing Nick Chubb and then giving up a three touchdown lead is the kind of emotionally draining loss that has hangover effects. Chris: Absent Nick Chubb we're back to the "wait, this guy couldn't lock down the starting job at UVa, why's he at UGA?" conversation with Grayson Lambert again. 8.1 YPA on the year isn't as good as it looks going up against three non-con defensive creampuffs (UL-Monroe, Southern, South Carolina). KidB: God bless you, Butt Cut.
- Missouri. Chris: Missouri has now played not one but two 9-6 games and as a result I will rank them either 6th or 9th the rest of the year. SPOILER: it'll probably be 9th. ANOTHER SPOILER: man, the bottom of this league is the pits. KidB: Gary Pinkel and his Backup Band of Three Stars. If we lose to "Pinkel Coaches Em Up" this year, I'll definitely be featured on This Week In Schadenfreude. I'm just letting y'all know this upfront. Hunter: It's a shame to waste such a good defense on this offense, but it's about time for the "We Do What We Do" train to run out of steam.
- Auburn. KidB: I think we should blame this on Muschampionships. Hunter: Beat an SEC opponent! The Magician is back! Chris: Now 4th in the B1G West after a narrow escape in Lexington.
- Kentucky. Chris: Tough loss to Auburn, but the Wildcats should still make a bowl, provided they don't do the Most Kentucky Thing and gift Vanderbilt with their first conference win of the year... yeah, y'all know how the story ends. Hunter: Lost to Auburn thanks to an inopportune turnover and poor execution in the fourth quarter-- sound familiar, Tennessee fans? KidB: Patrick Towles is good but no better than last year, and Kentucky needs Towles to be absurd for them to be average.
- South Carolina. Chris: REAL LIFE STORY ALERT. I was in Philly this past weekend at a hole-in-the-wall sports bar watching Michigan-Michigan State and Alabama-TAMU, and the loudest people in the bar were the four South Carolina fans watching the Gamecocks struggle to a 19-10 win. I guess when you set the bar that low, anytime you don't run face first into it is a victory. KidB: Well at least they were able to get the W against.....
- Vanderbilt. KidB: Yep, Same Old Vandy. Hunter: I hope Derek Mason receives a lifetime contract to coach Vanderbilt football -- at this rate of improvement, he may need every bit of it to secure his first SEC win. Chris: Here's the bar.
Valencia region, Spain
Panama City, Florida
Heard Island, Antarctica
Hunter: 1. LSU, 2. Tuscaloosa Tire Fires, 3. America's Worst State, 4. Ole Miss, 5. TAMU, 6. Tennessee, 7. Georgia, 8. Mississippi State, 9. Arkansas, 10. Mizzou, 11. Kentucky, 12. Auburn, 13. South Carolina, 14. Vanderbilt
Chris Pendley: 1. LSU, 2. Alabama, 3. Florida, 4. TAMU, 5. Hugh Freeze and the Boys of September, 6. CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA, 7. Tennessee, 8. Arkansas, 9. Missouri, 10. Georgia, 11. Auburn, 12. Kentucky, 13. South Carolina, 14. Vanderbilt
Kid Bourbon: 1. Crimson Juggernauts, 2. Leonard Fournette, 3. TAMU, 4. Florida, 5. "If they only had a good coach" All-Stars, 6. CLANGA, 7. Ole Drippy, 8. BERT, 9. UGA, 10. Auburn, 11. Gary Pinkel and his gang of three stars, 12. Kentucky, 13. Sakerlina, 14. Vandy