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.
However, the third week is the end of ignorance and the beginning of knowledge-- this weekend promises to expose teams for what they are. Flailing Arkansas meets undefeated Texas A&M. Missouri brings a surprisingly tough defense (top 5 in the S&P+) but a crippled offense to play an improved Kentucky in Lexington. Auburn and Mississippi State, each with a loss to LSU, vie to send the other to the SEC West cellar. And, of course, the matchup in Gainesville that will give us an inclination of whether our Tennessee Vols are ready to contend for the SEC East crown. So this week's power rankings are the end of the appetizer, while the main course starts next week.
Methodology note: Joining me around the conference table in a smoky chamber high atop the tallest tower at Castle Majors this week are the Hamish Campbells to my William Wallace-- Rocky Top Talk's own Chris Pendley and a provocateur wherever he goes, Kid Bourbon.
SEC Power Rankings, Week 3
- Ole Miss. Hunter (H): Hugh Freeze's team is still short on depth, but Chad Kelly played lights out against a tough Alabama team at home. Moreover, this team has some cojones-- just when it looked like Alabama was poised to finish off the comeback and break Rebel hearts everywhere, Freeze called a fake option read quarterback rollout that resulted in a 70 yard touchdown pass to a wide open receiver. Watch out. Chris (C): Go into Bryant-Denny and get people to leave early? Yeah, take this top spot. KB: Let's say you decided to play a drinking game where you took a sip every time the announcers mentioned Chad Kelly's uncle. You'd be dead by halftime.
- LSU. H: The Tigers, Tide, and Bulldogs are all stacked with athletes, blessed with talented running backs, and boast imposing defenses. Unfortunately, all three also have quarterbacks who would have trouble starting in the MAC (not a joke). C: I put them here because Leonard Fournette will find me in my sleep if I don't.
- Alabama. H: Lost by less than a touchdown at home after turning the ball over 5 times. Remember in NFL Blitz when you hit a few passes in a row and your quarterback caught on fire? Yeah, with Coker it's more like a Tuscaloosa tire fire. C: Are we really sure "Guy Who Couldn't Start at E
qually StrongWorse University" is a starter? (Yeah, I see you, Grayson Lambert, but you get the week off right now.)
- Georgia. H: Chubb is incredible, but I'm not impressed by Lambert's dinking and dunking, no matter how many of them in a row he can complete. C: Might have actually put Steve Spurrier out to the first tee with that demon exorcism of a win. KB: But when is the random, seemingly inexplicable Mark Richt loss coming?
- TAMU. H: I guess the Arkansas game this weekend could be a trap, but that would necessitate the Razorbacks having a pulse. C: Keeps winning, and coordinators matter. KB: All y'all heard where Kliff called out Bert and even predicted that he was going to lose to TAMU this week, right?
- Tennessee. H: Took care of business against Whoever That Was State University. C: Should be sixth (H: they are, no thanks to you), but I'm docking them a full spot for running a speed option to the boundary side, because these are the 2015 power rankings and not the 1995 power rankings.
- Clanga. H: LSU's smackdown of Auburn makes Dak's almost comeback that much more impressive. C: Winner of the "Oh Hey, That Opponent You Lost To at Home Might Not Be as Bad as We Thought" power rankings bump. KB: Big win over the Northwestern State Demons. Hold on, where is Northwestern State?
- Auburn. H: That was just terrible, Rudy Ford. Well, really all of them. C: Here's Auburn, determined to prove that coordinators don't actually matter when it comes to throwing up in all directions in Baton Rouge. Still ranked by the Coaches Poll, which is why you need to only read these rankings.
- Missouri. H: Like a poor man's LSU, the Other Other Tigers have a solid defense, good running back (Hansbrough), and a terrible passing game. C: Won 9-6 against UConn at home in a game that had no field goals. If you're reading this sentence for the joke, you've gone too far.
- Florida. H: Beat Kentucky, so I guess they have to go here, but that was a fluky game. The Wildcats kicked two short field goals and turned the ball over on their own 19 yard line, which led directly to the Gators' first touchdown. Play this game three times, and see if Kentucky doesn't win two of them. C: Beat Kentucky thanks to an assist from Generation-Long Win Streak, best as I could figure.
- Kentucky. H: How will this team rally after heartbreak in the Swamp? Stoops needs to get his troops refocused. C: Until otherwise needed, Kentucky's just going to hang out above the team they barely beat and behind the team they barely lost to. Thanks, convenience!
- South Carolina. H: Time to tell that no-talent coach of theirs to start packing his things! C: Clemson is gonna beat these guys by about 70.
- Arkansas. H: Oh, BERT. Can't lose that one. C: The card says don't lose two coordinators in an offseason, BERT. KB: They obviously aren't as good as we thought, but I don't think they're actually 14th, guys.
- Vanderbilt. H: That blowout was Franklin-esque. C: Beat up an in-state cupcake, but it's a long way out of the basement.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown1
Be not afraid of greatness2
Chance may crown me3
How poor are they that have not patience!4
A long farewell to all my greatness!5
The fault is not in our stars, Dear BERTUS, but in ourselves6
Chris: 1.Ole Miss, 2. LSU, 3. Georgia, 4. TAMU, 5. Alabama, 6. Mississippi State, 7. Tennessee, 8. Missouri, 9. Auburn, 10. Florida, 11. Kentucky, 12. South Carolina, 13. Arkansas, 14. Vanderbilt
Hunter: 1.Ole Miss, 2. Bama, 2. Georgia, 2. LSU, 5. TAMU, 5. Tennessee, 5. CLANGA, 8. Mizzou, 9. Auburn, 10. Florida, 10. Kentucky, 10. South Carolina, 13. Vandy, 14. Arkansas
Kid Bourbon: 1. Ole Miss, 2. Alabama, 3. LSU, 4. TAMU, 5. Georgia, 6. Tennessee, 7. Auburn, 8. Cowbell, 9. Arkansas, 10 Mizzou, 11. Kentucky, 12. Florida, 13. South Carolina, 14. Vandy
1. "Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude, And in the calmest and most stillest night, With all appliances and means to boot, Deny it to a king?" Henry the Fourth, Part 2, Act III, Scene i
5. "This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth The tender leaves of hopes, to-morrow blossoms... And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root, And then he falls as I do." Henry The Eighth, Act III, Scene ii