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SEC Power Rankings: LSU tumbles, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State Soar

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Weird time for the SEC.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC is not very good. I love our conference as much as the next guy, but it’s just not in a good place right now. The conference has been chasing Nick Saban for nearly a decade now. He’s the measuring stick and everyone keeps falling short.

If Alabama is a ten, the next closest thing is probably a seven. It’s just not all that close. LSU is in a time of transition and youth. We don’t really know what Auburn is. Georgia is trending up, but are they legit? We don’t know yet. Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Missouri are down. Ole Miss has slowly fallen apart in the last two years.

We are living in a time where Mississippi State might be the biggest threat to Alabama. Vanderbilt might be one of the two best teams in the SEC East. This conference is in a weird place with traditional powers lacking.

Here’s how I would rank them right now, fresh off of week three.


1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Duh.

I’m really interested to see ‘Bama come up to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. The Commodores probably don’t have the firepower to keep up, but this will be a stiff test for Jalen Hurts and the Alabama offense.

2. Georgia Bulldogs

I really don’t feel good about having Georgia here, but someone has to take the spot. We’ll learn a lot about the Bulldogs over the next two weeks as they take on Mississippi State and Tennessee. We don’t know how good of a win Notre Dame was, but I’ve got to credit them for getting it done on the road.

3. Mississippi State Bulldogs

I’ve been moderately high on this team since the preseason. Nick Fitzgerald is the real deal, as you saw last Saturday night in their blowout win of LSU. Are they as good as the Dak Prescott teams of the past? They might just have a chance to be in a weak SEC.

4. Auburn Tigers

It’s hard to fault Auburn after losing in a close one on the road to the defending champs. But you have to be concerned with Jarrett Stidham and the offense. A lackluster 24-10 win over Mercer didn’t give me much confidence in Auburn going forward.

5. Vanderbilt Commodores

Yeah, Vandy.

They’ve been disrespected by most power rankings out here. I’m here to change that. Derek Mason has the ‘Dores playing good on both sides of the ball. That was an impressive win over a pretty good Kansas State team. Suddenly, Vanderbilt looks like one of the better teams in the East.

6. LSU Tigers

This young LSU team just didn’t look ready. They were dominated in every fashion against Mississippi State — they looked like they had the same problems they had under Les Miles. Just no offense. Ed Orgeron has some gains to make to prove he’s not the same guy that flopped at Ole Miss.

7. Florida Gators

I don’t think Florida is very good. Last weekend didn’t change that. The Gators tried every way they could think of to hand that game to Tennessee, but Butch Jones wasn’t having it. They might have just lost Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway for the year, which would doom their offense for 2017.

8. Tennessee Volunteers

Similar to Florida, I don’t think Tennessee is very good. Quinten Dormady really struggled against his first true SEC defense. The offense leans too heavily on John Kelly. The defense looked better last week, but that could have very well been a result of the Florida offense being so bad. Add in season ending injuries to Todd Kelly Jr., Cortez McDowell and others and you just don’t see a lot of hope for Tennessee this year.

9. Kentucky Wildcats

Hats off to Kentucky for taking down South Carolina. I didn’t think they had it in them. Apparently they just own South Carolina. They have their shot to prove their worth against Florida this week and could make things pretty interesting in the early going in the SEC East.

10. South Carolina Gamecocks

I was riding the South Carolina train early, but Will Muschamp derailed me with his loss to Kentucky. They’ve now lost Deebo Samuel for the foreseeable future. I’m not totally counting them out, but last Saturday was a huge disappointment.

11. Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas hung around against TCU before collapsing late. I don’t think we know a whole lot about the Razorbacks right now, though. I would expect them to handle Texas A&M on Saturday, but Vegas has them as underdogs. We’ll see how they handle A&M and South Carolina in the next few weeks.

12. Ole Miss Rebels

After jumping out to a 16-7 lead against Cal, the Rebels were done scoring for the day. Cal pulled away late for a 27-16 win, leaving Ole Miss 2-1 heading into conference play. I don’t have any confidence that this group can make any noise in the west.

13. Texas A&M Aggies

A&M again struggled with someone they shouldn’t have on Saturday. After an unimpressive win over Nichols State last week, the Aggies were down at halftime to Louisiana Lafayette. They found a way to win, but conference play feels like it’s going to be brutal. I’m not sure how Sumlin survives until the end of the year.

14. Missouri Tigers

Missouri continues to be a tire fire. They were demolished by Purdue this weekend at home. You have to wonder how much longer Barry Odom has at this point. That defense is truly awful.