Monday, January 9, 2012
Conference Power Rankings: SEC
By Andy Katz
How did Florida and Mississippi State dropping their SEC openers affect my latest conference rankings? Let's take a look:
1. Kentucky: The Wildcats have Anthony Davis and everyone else does not. Terrence Jones' return as a scorer against South Carolina makes this team even more dangerous.
2. Vanderbilt: The Commodores may end up being the second-best team in the SEC, as predicted in the preseason. They should be. They have the most experience at key positions.
3. Alabama: These spots will rotate from No. 2 to No. 5 over the next few weeks. But the Tide’s defensive domination in a road sweep of Georgia Tech and Georgia was impressive.
4. Mississippi State: I can hear the Arkansas fans chirping at keeping the Bulldogs this high after the Razorbacks thumped them on Saturday night. But it was a difficult road game and I can’t lower MSU too much after that loss.
5. Florida: The Gators continue to come up with ways to lose on the road. The first two losses were legitimate at Ohio State and Syracuse. The Rutgers loss was a failure to finish. The Tennessee loss was more about overall execution.
6. LSU: The Tigers did lose earlier in the week at home to Virginia, but then did what they should: beat a depleted Ole Miss, even without Johnny O’Bryant (hand injury). This will be a huge week for LSU as it hits the road to Alabama and Arkansas.
7. Arkansas: The Razorbacks crept closer to the top half with an impressive offensive performance in the win over the Bulldogs. Mike Anderson and his explosive Hogs had Bud Walton Arena rocking again Saturday night.
8. Tennessee: The certainty you’ll get from a Cuonzo Martin team is a tough, hard-working defensive team. The win over Florida was wildly impressive, from the game plan to the execution. The Vols aren’t going to be an NCAA team, but they will become a tough out from this point forward.
9. Georgia: The Bulldogs are inexperienced in key spots, but are like Tennessee in that they are tough to punch out. The Bulldogs should remain pesky during the conference season.
10. South Carolina: The Gamecocks got rocked at Kentucky as expected. But this team still has the length and athleticism that could pose some problems in Columbia, as it did for a spell against Ohio State.
11. Ole Miss: The Rebels take the deepest drop after booting leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson and reserve Jamal Jones from the team, following Nelson’s arrest. The pair was tossed, according to a source, for multiple failed drug tests. Ole Miss then was wiped out at LSU.
12. Auburn: The Tigers are still in rebuilding mode. Scoring just 35 points in a 30-point loss at Vanderbilt is a strong indication that the project still is in toddler stage. Up next for Auburn: Kentucky. Yikes.