SEC: power rankings

Our top 25 ballots

September, 24, 2013
The Power Rankings are out and it's time to look at how Chris and I voted this week:


1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Stanford
4. Ohio State
5. Clemson
6. LSU
7. Texas A&M
8. Louisville
9. Florida State
10. Georgia
11. Oklahoma State
12. South Carolina
13. UCLA
14. Oklahoma
15. Miami
16. Ole Miss
17. Baylor
18. Michigan
19. Florida
20. Washington
21. Northwestern
22. Notre Dame
23. Wisconsin
24. Texas Tech
25. Fresno State


1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Clemson
4. Ohio State
5. Stanford
6. LSU
7. Georgia
8. Texas A&M
9. Louisville
10. Florida State
11. South Carolina
12. UCLA
13. Baylor
14. Miami
15. Oklahoma State
16. Oklahoma
17. Northwestern
18. Washington
19. Ole Miss
20. Texas Tech
21. Florida
22. Michigan
23. Notre Dame
24. Arizona State
25. Wisconsin

Gators make up ground, but not enough

November, 3, 2008

Posted by Chris Low

Florida made its most convincing argument yet to take over the top spot in the SEC power rankings. In fact, the Gators have made a pretty convincing argument the last three times they've taken the field. Their 49-10 dismantling of Georgia last Saturday was the most complete performance by an SEC team this season. But as good as Florida has been, Alabama's still the team to beat in the SEC and still the only unbeaten team. Therefore, the Crimson Tide head to Baton Rouge this weekend on top of the SEC power rankings for the sixth straight week:

1. Alabama: There was no letdown in the Crimson Tide last week in their 35-0 rout of outmanned Arkansas State. And once again, even without nose tackle Terrence Cody, Alabama's defense was on top of its game. The Crimson Tide have allowed just 9 points in their past two games. Everybody keeps asking how good these guys are. Well, we've already seen them go to Georgia and destroy the Bulldogs. They get a chance to make another statement this Saturday at LSU.

2. Florida: The Gators are putting all three phases of the game together right now. They've scored 201 points in their last four games. Their defense has held the opposition to 9 points or less in three of the last four games, and there's nobody in the country more sound on special teams than the Gators. They have that look of a championship football team right now and are playing with a ton of confidence in all three phases of the game.

3. Georgia: It's a pretty safe bet that Georgia's going to be tagged with the underachiever/overrated label this season. Florida's a very good team, but there's no way the Gators should be able to embarrass the Bulldogs the way they did last weekend in Jacksonville. Georgia has been exposed defensively against the three best offensive teams it's faced (Alabama, LSU and Florida), and it's looking like the Bulldogs will be spending their holidays in Orlando at the Capital One Bowl after starting the season ranked No. 1 nationally.

4. LSU: It's not been the kind of season the defending national champions had hoped for, but the Tigers get a chance to do something about that this weekend when No. 1 Alabama and Nick Saban come to town. A win over the Crimson Tide would ease a lot of the pain from the blowout losses earlier this season to Florida and Georgia. The Tigers' defense has been spotty, and redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Lee has now thrown five interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns this season.

5. South Carolina: The Gamecocks would love to have back that loss to Vanderbilt the second week of the season. They polished off Tennessee last weekend and have quietly been one of the best defenses in the league all season. The Gamecocks (6-3, 3-3 SEC) have a chance to do something that's only been done at South Carolina twice in school history -- and that's win more than eight games in a season. They close against Arkansas, Florida and Clemson and will also play in a bowl game.

6. Vanderbilt: Slotting the No. 6 team was difficult this week. Vanderbilt was idle, and Ole Miss is probably playing better at this point. But the Commodores do have the head-to-head victory over the Rebels in Oxford, so that was good enough to keep Vanderbilt in the top half of the conference. But the margin right now between Vanderbilt and Ole Miss is pretty slim. The Commodores (5-3, 3-2 SEC) are still looking for that sixth win to become bowl eligible. They've lost three in a row, and it doesn't get any easier this week when Florida comes to town.

7. Ole Miss: The Rebels won their second in a row this season last Saturday with a 17-7 victory over Auburn. That's significant because it was the first time the Rebels had won consecutive games in a season since David Cutcliffe's last year in Oxford in 2004 when they beat Arkansas State and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks. It was the first time since the 2003 season when the Rebels shared the Western Division crown that they had won SEC games in back-to-back weeks.

8. Kentucky: It's a been a rough last few weeks for the Wildcats, but they're bowl eligible after squeezing past Mississippi State, 14-13, last weekend. Injuries have really taken their toll on the Wildcats, but they deserve some props for hanging in there and finding a way to win two of the last three weeks. Kentucky (6-3, 2-3 SEC) has Georgia, Vanderbilt and Tennessee remaining. The last time the Wildcats went to three straight bowls was 1949-51 when Bear Bryant was their coach, so this is far from an every-year occurrence.

9. Arkansas: The team making the biggest move this week is Arkansas, which knocked off No. 18 and previously unbeaten Tulsa last weekend. The Razorbacks (4-5, 1-4 SEC) are one of the youngest teams in the country. They're playing 16 true freshmen, but they've gotten better the last few weeks and had chances to beat both Kentucky and Ole Miss. They put it all together against Tulsa with big plays in the kicking game and senior quarterback Casey Dick having a huge day.

10. Auburn: The season gets a little longer each week for Auburn and Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers (4-5, 2-4 SEC) lost 17-7 at Ole Miss last weekend, their fourth straight loss. Quarterback Kodi Burns threw three interceptions, and the offense continued to struggle. Tuberville insisted afterward that there was no quit in his team, but the Tigers are on a collision course with their first losing season under Tuberville since his first year on the Plains in 1999. Tuberville, despite his success over the long haul, is answering more and more questions about his job security.

11. Tennessee: As it turns out, the South Carolina loss last weekend was the final nail for Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. He will not return next season as the Vols' coach after more than 30 years at his alma mater as a player, assistant coach and head coach. The Vols (3-6, 1-5 SEC) are in danger of having their second losing season in the last four years, which is what ultimately got Fulmer. That and a sagging offense. It just never clicked under first-year coordinator Dave Clawson this season.

12. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs (3-6, 1-4 SEC) move into the bottom spot after losing at home to Kentucky last weekend. Special teams blunders killed Sylvester Croom's club against the Wildcats. The lingering problem all season, though, has been an offense that's never found any kind of identity and hasn't been able to consistently drive the ball all season. Last year's eight-win season and Liberty Bowl win seem like a distant memory.

Georgia takes over top spot in SEC power rankings

September, 8, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Don't look now, but Vanderbilt is the only team in the SEC unbeaten in league play after its 24-17 win over South Carolina last Thursday night. Auburn has found its quarterback. LSU has another potential hurricane to worry about, and Georgia's already scored more than 100 points in two weeks. Here are the latest power rankings after two weeks in the SEC. We have a new No. 1 this week:

1. Georgia: The killer schedule starts to kick in this week when the Bulldogs hit the road for the first time against South Carolina. But they've been awfully impressive offensively. Knowshon Moreno is playing at another level, and the defense is one of the most underrated in the nation. Two games in, Georgia has been better than anybody else in the league and deserves to occupy the top spot.

2. Florida: It looks like Tim Tebow is still pretty much Florida's running game, and that's not necessarily a bad thing as long as the Gators keep winning and he remains in one piece. The offense had its problems against Miami, but there are plenty of playmakers on this team and the defense is much improved.

3. LSU: Once again, there's another storm potentially bearing down on the Louisiana coast. The Tigers postponed their game with Troy last week. You know it has to be difficult to concentrate solely on football with so much going on around you. But LSU coach Les Miles managed it nicely in 2005, and the Tigers still have the best front seven defensively in the league.

4. Auburn: Now that we know Chris Todd is Auburn's quarterback, how much better can he get as the Tigers move into the SEC part of their schedule? He knows Tony Franklin's spread offense and has been around it since he was in the 10th grade. The next step for Todd is proving that his shoulder is well enough to hurt teams throwing the ball down the field.

5. Alabama: Nick Saban warned everybody about lowering their guard, and that's exactly what Alabama did in slumbering to an unimpressive 20-6 victory over Tulane. Left offensive tackle Andre Smith didn't play in the game, and that certainly had an impact on Alabama not being able to control the line of scrimmage. It's a good thing special teams were solid, or the Tide could have been looking at another Louisiana-Monroe disaster.

6. Vanderbilt: How about those Vanderbilt Commodores? I'm sure some of you are looking at their No. 6 ranking this week and saying, "What the ...?" Question it all you want. This is a solid football team with a senior quarterback, speed on defense and a coaching staff that has it going on. If the Commodores can stay healthy, they will be a tough out for everybody they play this season.

7. Kentucky: The hard part with Kentucky is that the Wildcats really haven't played anybody. Barring a collapse, they're going to be 4-0 heading into the Alabama game on Oct. 4. The offense is still very much a work in progress, and freshman Randall Cobb may be the answer. But that defense is the real deal, having given up only three points in the first two games.

8. Ole Miss: Even though the Rebels lost, I thought about putting them sixth or seventh this week. They remain shorthanded in their defensive line, but still went to Wake Forest and outplayed the nationally ranked Demon Deacons for much of that game before losing, 30-28, in the final seconds. You gotta love Jevan Snead, and he's got some playmakers around him. This could be one of those teams in late October that nobody wants to face.

9. Tennessee: The Vols move up one spot this week despite being idle. That's because South Carolina looked so bad last week in losing to Vanderbilt. Tennessee still has the nucleus to be a good team this season, and Jonathan Crompton will be better at quarterback the more he plays. But it's like Phillip Fulmer said this week: The Vols will play six or seven teams the rest of the way that are better than UCLA.

10. South Carolina: Did you ever think you'd see a Steve Spurrier team this average on offense? Really, saying the Gamecocks have been average might be generous, at least on offense. The quarterback job is back in the air. There's not a dynamic running back. Star receiver Kenny McKinley is hurt, and the offensive line has been shaky. At this rate, it will be a long year in Columbia.

11. Miss. State: The Bulldogs bounced back with a convincing win over Southeastern Louisiana. But after losing to Louisiana Tech in the opener, they're not getting any love in this poll until they beat somebody that counts. They get their shot this weekend when Auburn rolls into Starkville. The Bulldogs are always going to be stout defensively, but you just can't win every week in the SEC 17-14 or 20-17.

12. Arkansas: Say this for the Hogs: They make it exciting after coming back to win in the final minutes for the second straight week. The only problem with that was that the opponents were Louisiana-Monroe and Western Illinois, not exactly SEC competition. Bobby Petrino has 21 true and redshirt freshmen in the two-deep. It's going to take some time, but it could turn ugly starting with Texas this Saturday.

Last week's rankings: 1. Florida, 2. Georgia, 3. LSU, 4. Alabama, 5. Auburn, 6. South Carolina, 7. Ole Miss, 8. Kentucky, 9. Vanderbilt, 10. Tennessee, 11. Miss. State, 12. Arkansas.

Alabama on the move in latest power rankings

September, 2, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Not a bad start for the SEC, although Mississippi State and Tennessee didn't exactly represent. The Bulldogs turned the ball over five times and lost at Louisiana Tech. The Vols looked like they were scared to win the game and dropped a 27-24 overtime decision to a depleted UCLA club. Here are the new power rankings now that everybody has played a game:

1. Florida: Georgia got a bunch of mileage out of drubbing Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl last season, so Florida deserves some, right? The Gators are beyond fast and keep coming at you with guys who can score in the blink of an eye. The secondary will be a strength this season.

2. Georgia: The Bulldogs just keep taking hits in the injury department. Defensive tackle Jeff Owens is the latest to be lost for the season. Matthew Stafford looked sharp in the season-opening rout of Georgia Southern, and this is the best group of receivers he's had. You've got to like the young talent on this team.

3. LSU: Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee were steady at quarterback against Appalachian State, and steady will be good enough to beat most teams on the Tigers' schedule. They're that good up front both offensively and defensively and appear to be even faster on defense this season.

4. Alabama: No team was more impressive the opening weekend than Alabama, which physically punished a then-Top 10 team in Clemson. Now, let's see the Crimson Tide sustain it. Even Alabama coach Nick Saban has warned that it was only a start. But what a start it was.

5. Auburn: The jury's still out on Auburn's quarterback situation, and it sounds like offensive coordinator Tony Franklin is going to tweak how he rotates Kodi Burns and Chris Todd. The Tigers are extremely good on defense, but they still have to prove that they can throw the ball if they're going to win the Western Division.

6. South Carolina: One game down, and The Head Ball Coach already has him another quarterback. Chris Smelley will start against Vanderbilt on Thursday night after Tommy Beecher threw four interceptions and hurt his shoulder in the opener. The Gamecocks look pretty salty on defense.

7. Ole Miss: We find out a lot more about the Rebels this coming weekend when they travel to Wake Forest. But their collection of playmakers on offense is impressive, and quarterback Jevan Snead will only get better. When they get healthy in the defensive line, this will be a team that nobody will want to face.

8. Kentucky: The roles have reversed at Kentucky. Now, it's the defense that's going to have to win games for the Wildcats while the offense holds on. Kentucky's defensive front is for real and matches up with most everybody in the league. Sophomore quarterback Mike Hartline has to continue to grow.

9. Vanderbilt: An underdog on the road, Vanderbilt got a big performance from senior quarterback Chris Nickson and hammered Miami (Ohio) 34-13 last Thursday. It's safe to say that D.J. Moore can play a little bit, too. A win this Thursday against South Carolina, and the Commodores will climb even higher.

10. Tennessee: The Vols are lucky they aren't dead last. They looked dead for much of the second half Monday after a depleted UCLA team tried to gift-wrap the game for them with four interceptions. But Tennessee went belly-up and found a way to lose in overtime. Simply, an indefensible loss for Phillip Fulmer and the program.

11. Miss. State: Anybody who knows anything about Sylvester Croom knows his team won't lie down, but carving out a second straight winning season will be tough at this rate. The Bulldogs were awful on offense in the season-opening loss at Louisiana Tech and lost one of their best defenders, linebacker Jamar Chaney, for the season with a broken leg.

12. Arkansas: The bright spot was senior quarterback Casey Dick. He saved the Hogs from an embarrassing home defeat to Western Illinois, an FCS (I-AA) school in their opener. Bobby Petrino is playing a bunch of freshmen, and it looks like the Hogs are going to take their lumps this season.

The preseason rankings: 1. Florida, 2. Georgia, 3. LSU, 4. Auburn, 5. Tennessee, 6. South Carolina, 7. Ole Miss, 8. Alabama, 9. Miss. State, 10. Kentucky, 11. Arkansas, 12. Vanderbilt

Florida opens No. 1 in power rankings

August, 5, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

ATHENS, Ga. -- Florida and then Georgia, or Georgia and then Florida? I'm sticking with the Gators until proven otherwise, which is why they open No. 1 in my first SEC power rankings.

SEC Power Rankings
1.Yes, I know Georgia's No. 1 in the coaches' preseason poll. But since when did the coaches become good prognosticators? Any team with Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin is No. 1 in my poll.
2.If Florida and Georgia swapped schedules, I'd probably have the Bulldogs No. 1 in the power rankings. The Bulldogs are good, but not good enough to make it through that schedule unscathed.
3.Sounds like a transfer from Harvard's freshman team, Andrew Hatch, may be LSU's quarterback this year. Say this for the Tigers: If it comes down to the offensive and defensive lines, nobody's better.
4.This is one of those even years, which means Auburn gets LSU at home. That's typically been good news for the home team. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has a solid team. Now, if he can only settle on a quarterback.
5.The Vols should be better in just about every area than a year ago and, despite embarrassing routs to Florida and Alabama, did make it to the SEC championship game. Is Jon Crompton the answer at quarterback?
6.The Gamecocks are overflowing with returning defensive starters, including 270-pound middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley. If Steve Spurrier can stick with a quarterback, the Gamecocks could be in for a big year.
7.As the season has drawn nearer, I've decided that the Rebels deserve some more love. Something tells me Jevan Snead will be the third best quarterback in the league, and Ole Miss is loaded in the defensive line.
8.Freshmen figure to play a big role for the Crimson Tide this season, especially at linebacker and receiver. If quarterback John Parker Wilson can play with consistency from the outset, Bama could work itself up.
9.The first four games are critical for the Bulldogs. They have to find a way to come out of those four at least 3-1. It remains to be seen if Mississippi State has enough offensive playmakers to match last season's success.
10.Rich Brooks says he's never had a more talented defense at Kentucky, and he'll need one this season. The Wildcats lost just about everybody on offense, and quarterback hopeful Curtis Pulley is in the doghouse.
11.Arkansas will win a game nobody expects it to, but there's just too much unproven about this team to expect a winning season. Bobby Petrino has shown us that it doesn't take him long to put his stamp on a program.
12.Keep an eye on D.J. Moore, who's one of the most exciting multi-purpose athletes in the league. He'll play receiver and cornerback. Even so, the Commodores will be hard-pressed to climb out of the cellar.



Saturday, 10/25