Methodology note: This is the first week of conference play for Tennessee, which seems bizarre considering that South Carolina and Vanderbilt kicked off the 2016 season with a conference game-- on a Thursday night, no less! For the Vols, Saturday's game against the Gators should provide some answers to the question of whether or not the Vols are planning to lackadaisically mosey through the rest of the season like a low-budget Western.
This week's Power Rankings were dictated, but not read, to my personal assistant in a remote safari camp in the Selous Game Reserve, from which they were speedily transferred by messenger bird to the closest telegraph machine for communication to your United States of America, Official Home of Lee Greenwood, Thomas Kinkade, and other fine Americans.
Here's the link to Team Speed Kills, where the consensus rankings are available: UGH.
SEC Power Rankings, Week 4: Semi-Warranted Conclusions
- Alabama. Nick Saban turning over control of Alabama's offense to Lane Kiffin is the football equivalent of violating the cardinal rules of Gremlin ownership: "Look, it's an adorable but limited run-first offeAHHHHH KILL IT WITH FIRE NOW IT'S TRANSFORMING INTO SOME SORT OF HYBRID SPREAD WITH A DANGEROUS ATHLETE AT QUARTERBACK!" It's also worth noting the economic ramifications of starting Jalen Hurts at quarterback on Alabama's Gritty White Quarterback Industry, and attendant spillover effects on the Gulf Coast's Hideous Back Tattoos-Industrial Complex.
- Ole Miss.
"Twas brillig in the slithy Grove
Rebs gyre and gimble in the gate:
All mimsy were the Sororove,
And the NCAA ponders fate.
Beware the Chadderwock, my son!
The ball that soars, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jefferson bird, and shun
The frumious Freeze-us-natch!"
- Tennessee. Butch Jones is either teaching a master-class in hiding the full capabilities of his football team, or he's doing a supreme job of trolling fans in Knoxville before he jumps out of the team plane with millions of dollars in ill-gotten truckstop money like a Southeastern DB Cooper.
- Arkansas. The Hogs have a date with the Aggies on Saturday, so like most of BERT's dates, expect a hot, sweaty evening that ends in tears when someone goes home disappointed.
- Texas A&M. Kevin Sumlin avoided drunk shenanigans during the off-season, which means that he's threatening to lose his place at The Nick Saban Center for Dudes Who Can't Coach Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too. The worst part? He and Steve Sarkisian had already purchased coordinating sheets and towels!
- Georgia. The Dawgs are a brand new condo somewhere north of Dunwoody, filled with rental furniture, smelling of fresh beige paint. Is there a future full of the noisy untidiness of family, children, and friends, or just the quiet sadness of a single office drone, ordering take-out-for-one night after night?
- LSU. Danny Etling getting meaningful snaps in Baton Rouge for the home team is an indication of an epic breakdown of talent identification and development on Les Miles' staff. Quarterbacks like Etling are supposed to star in Tiger Stadium as plucky stalwarts on overmatched teams, still competing and giving announcers grist for the "All-Heart Team" as Directional University of Cold Place gets pasted on national television.
- Mississippi State. Everyone expected the Tigers to be better, so it's disappointing they're here... but CLANGA? This is a surprisingly solid start to life after Dak. I continue to be amazed that Dan Mullen hasn't been snapped up by a school like Nebraska or Arizona State where he could go from second-banana in his own state to a real shot at a title.
- Auburn. Might be time to check the warranty on that lucky rabbit's foot you purchased in 2013, Gus.
- Florida. Through three weeks, Luke Del Rio looked reasonably competent against some of the worst teams in football. Now, the guy who couldn't beat out Del Rio or earn meaningful snaps at Purdue is Florida's new starting quarterback. What could possibly go wrong?! I'm overjoyed to have the Austin Appleby Experience in my life, and this is coming from someone who hates Applebees in general.
- Mizzou. Mediocre team fails to win game at home, film at eleven.
- South Carolina. At some point, playing in and winning ugly games goes from being a matter of luck to a matter of skill. I'm beginning to think we've underestimated Muschamp as a head coach-- no, stop laughing for a second, I'm serious. Coach Muschamp is the Fortysomething Basketball Player in your rec league who plays a little too hard, grabs your shorts, kicks your ankle, fakes injuries, and is generally a pain-in-the-ass to play against. You know what, though? That guy's team dominates the rec league floor until someone with genuine talent shows up to shut him up.
- Vanderbilt. I guess Andy Ludwig wasn't the answer. Who knew?
- Kentucky. Go ahead, Wildcats, hire Art Briles. You know you want to.
"EVERY DAY ON EARTH BRINGS US ONE DAY CLOSER TO THE ETERNAL EMBRACE OF THE GRAVE: A CHILDREN'S ANTHOLOGY" BY NICHOLAS SABAN
"FANTASTICKAL BEASTS OF THE UPPER MID-SOUTH AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: CHAPTER THREE, THE CHADDERWOCKY"
"MEAT, MIDWESTERN VALUES, AND POLEARMS: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE BIELEMAS"
"TOUGH GREY INEDIBLE STEAKS THAT BUILD CHARACTER: GRILLING WITH LES MILES"
"LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE NOLES, WELL MAYBE NOT THIS WEEK BECAUSE NOTHING OF ANY SIGNIFICANCE HAPPENED THIS PAST WEEKEND"
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.--F.N.