Welcome to the topsy turvy world of the SEC. Saturday’s game were a perfect example of how the conference roles and expect more the next two weeks as teams battle for spots not only in the SEC Championship game, but also the College Football Playoff semifinals. Here are these week’s rankings.
Alabama (No. 2 last week) – Somehow, it comes down to Alabama every year. The running game still isn’t what it needs to be, the Crimson Tide is rounding into form. The defense continues to impress and Blake Sims won Saturday’s game with his legs.
Ole Miss (No. 3) – The Rebels needed a little R&R after playing seven games in seven weeks. They’ll need more from their running game to help control the clock against Arkansas, which has a spark, and the in the Egg Bowl.
Mississippi State (No. 1) – How the mighty have fallen. Actually not that far. The Bulldogs are a tough team, but Dak Prescott is in a slump – eight interceptions in the past five games – and they need him to be at his best to be an elite offense. Vandy is next, but Ole Miss remains in the final game.
Georgia (No. 7) – Once again, the Bulldogs showed they are the East’s most talented team, but now must move past any deflation from Todd Gurley’s season-ending injury. Their fate depends on what Missouri does in its final two games.
Missouri (No. 9) – The Tigers appear to have shaken most of those offensive issues that bothered them in the middle of the season, although Maty Mauk is still spotty. They didn’t need him against Texas A&M, but will against a rejuvenated Tennessee bunch.
Auburn (No. 4) – It didn’t take long for the Auburn faithful to turn on Gus Malzahn. He’s gone from savior to scapegoat in about three games. That’s what happens when you lose two straight and only score seven points against Georgia.
Tennessee (No. 10) – Watch out for the Vols. Butch Jones has found a quarterback to go with all those talented freshmen and has them heading in the right direction. You know they love being in the position to crush Missouri’s SEC title game hopes this week.
LSU (No. 5) – We all knew the Tigers were about a year or two away, but I don’t think anybody expected to total failure of their offense against a terrible Arkansas defense. Was there an emotional letdown after the Alabama game? Possibly, but only 36 yards rushing? That’s terrible.
Texas A&M (No. 8) – Welcome to the Great American Scream Machine that is Texas A&M. Up and down. Down and up. Saturday was a plummeting drop after last Saturday’s high of the Auburn upset. The travails of a young team.
South Carolina (No. 13) – There was some resolve when it mattered, but of course, you knew there would be with Steve Spurrier back at The Swamp. The Gamecocks can go bowling with wins in their final two games against South Alabama and Clemson.
Arkansas (No. 11) – Ding dong. The Razorbacks’ 17-game SEC losing streak is over. They had been on the verge of ending the long line of defeats for a while and finally broke through against deflated LSU. There is still a lot of work for Bret Bielema to do there.
Florida (No. 6) – So who’s next for the Gators now that Will Muschamp is a lame duck? Will Spurrier come back? Do they go after a hot young coach or coordinator? Someone even mentioned Jimbo Fisher going there. Florida will be the hottest job opening in the country this winter.
Kentucky (No. 12) – Remember all that optimism during Kentucky’s 5-1 start. There was a lot of milk during the early portion of the schedule, and the weaning process has been arduous. Five straight losses with Louisville left between a bowl game and staying home for the holidays.
Vanderbilt (No. 14) – Well, as the old joke goes, the good news is the Commodores didn’t lose Saturday. The punch line: They didn’t play. Expect two more losses to end the season with Mississippi State and Tennessee left on the schedule.