Power rankings are a complete fabrication for the first few weeks of the season, because there isn't enough data and it's easy to construe the limited game results we have in ways that will look silly at the end of the season. Nevertheless, it's fun and provides another opportunity for some intra-SEC trash talk.
Methodology note: This week, due to travel complications and internet connections moving slower than a speeding wildebeest, I brought in semi-professional opinion-haver and Rocky Top Talk's own Lady Vols' basketball expert, Chris Pendley. If there's any group of fans who should recognize championship play and be able to correctly rank teams with wildly disparate schemes, it is Lady Vols fans. As always, I was assisted by some of Tennessee's own fine corn products and a moldy Trapper-Keeper containing the entire playbook for Will Muschamp's offense (a few dog-eared pages of wide ruled paper marked with crayon arrows and inexplicably erotic drawings of alligators).
SEC Power Rankings, Week 1
- Alabama. Hunter (H): Wake me up when they don't win 10 games. Chris (C): King stay the king, I suppose, even if they're largely sleepwalking through a game against MTSU.
- TAMU. H: Added a victory over a decent MAC team to the beatdown of Arizona State. C: Theme for the week: good enough.
- Ole Miss. H: Overindulging in sugary treats is a Mississippi tradition. Expect the team to come out against Alabama with comb-overs, team logo polo-shirts, bulging bellies over pastel shorts from Belk, and to smell faintly like Old Granddad bourbon (Maker's is for after the game). Like most things connected with Ole Miss, likely to expire by choking on a corndog while friends and family endure yet another spate of red-faced hand-waving. C: Hoo boy things went sideways in a hurry below the top three.
- Georgia. H: Ugly but thorough win against Vandy, who may be secretly competent on defense. It's amazing that a team laden with such recruiting riches is driving a beat-up old jalopy of a quarterback. Not even a solid workhorse everyday Toyota like Connor Shaw. Lambert is a knock-off Bulgarian version of a Russian Lada-- just as likely to catch fire and immolate all the passengers as to steer you safely to your destination. C: Nick Chubb is every bit as good as advertised, but maaaaaaybe you don't need to run the guy out who couldn't land the starting job at Virginia and just see what Brice Ramsey can do.
- LSU. H: Beat Dak on the field, then smoked him in the dance competition afterward. Les Miles does the Whip, then he does the Nae Nae. C: A win against Mississippi State in the most Les way possible-- they're winning and you totally don't feel confident about them at all.
- Auburn. H: Ugly wins, but still winning. This team is either going to figure out how to harness the talent available or lose a ton of games this year. C: Jacksonville State really should have gone for the win in regulation, but since this is a power poll and not a Don't Lose to 1-AA Teams at Home Because Seriously I Know Y'all Employ Will Muschamp But He Ain't Your Head Coach poll, I can't punish them too much.
- Tennessee. H: Lost in double overtime to another ranked Power-5 school. Clearly terrible, overrated, and won't be competitive in conference. C: I have a sneaking suspicion Oklahoma might be good.
- Missouri. H: Struggled to put away Arkansas State, but remember, Arky Light has been pretty FULMERIZED good the last few seasons. Pinkel is still looking for reliable options at running back and wide receiver, so he spends his evenings scouring the countryside for talent disguised as his alter-ego, Duke Pinkelfinger. C: No clue what to make of Missouri yet, so let's dump them here until after they play Kentucky.
- CLANGA. H: Lost a close game to LSU (who may or may not be good) after winning a close game against Southern Miss (who may or may not be decent). Hmm. C: No idea what do with them this week, either.
- Kentucky. H: The defense looked much improved against South Carolina, but the Gamecock offense is also a mess. Stoops needed to win a conference game on the road to show progress in Year 3, and he got it. C: They're 2-0, but also 2-0 in one-possession games-- and that might not be sustainable.
- Arkansas. H: Remember when I said the passing game wasn't fixed last week? Yeah. C: Don't lose at home to Toledo, Bert.
- South Carolina. H: "99 bottles of Coors in my office, 99 bottles of Coors, you take one down, pass it around, 98 bottles of Coors in my office... Is my starting quarterback still Connor Mitch? ...98 bottles of Coors in my office, 98 bottles of Coors, you take one down, pass it around, 97 bottles of Coors in my office." C: Poor Spurrier.
- Florida. H: Delusional Florida fans are convinced that the Gators are winning 9 games this year. Only 7 more red-faced McElwain rants to go! C: 2-0 even though the win against East Carolina was the definition of uninspiring and New Mexico State might be the worst team in 1-A.
- Bowling Green. H: Embarrassed Maryland in College Park, so pretty much what Terps fans expect from a Saturday afternoon. C: Beat Maryland by 21!
- Western Kentucky. H: The second best team in Kentucky. Or maybe the best.
- Toledo. H: No one escapes Boss Hog that easily! Toledo better lawyer up to prepare for the coming onslaught of FOIA requests asking for "any and all information that led to an unfair advantage against Arkansas. And any information about blonde assistants to the head coach."
- Jacksonville State. H: YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME.
- Southern Miss. H: Beginning to look like the dangerous Southern Miss of the early 2000s.
- Vanderbilt. H:Derek Mason is going to be a fantastic defensive coordinator hire for Butch Jones next year. C: Sorry, Volundore.
Still the favorite, until proven otherwise
Six-pack of contenders
Hard to tell which way the season is going
Looking better/looking worse
At least competitive against schools in the SEC
'Sposed to be SEC... maybe next year
Chris: 1. Alabama, 2. TAMU, 3. Ole Miss, 4. LSU, 5. Georgia, 6. Auburn, 7. Tennessee, 8. Mizzou, 9. Kentucky, 10. Mississippi State, 11. Florida, 12. South Carolina, 13. Arkansas, 14. Vanderbilt
Hunter: 1. Bama, 2. Georgia, 2. TAMU, 2. Ole Miss, 5. Auburn, 5. Tennessee, 5. LSU, 8. Cowbell, 9. Mizzou, 10. Arkansas, 11. Kentucky, 12. South Carolina, 13. Florida, 14. You know who