Photo courtesy of Alabama athletics
Alabama and Georgia both flexed their muscles in Week 1.
For teams like LSU and Vanderbilt, their losses certainly have shaken some things up. After a crazy Week 1, here are the SEC power rankings headed into Week 2.
Alabama came into Week 1 as the No. 1 ranked team in the country. After a 44-13 throttling of Miami, nothing has changed.
There were high expectations for Bryce Young, and he blew those out of the water. In his first career start, Young went 27-for-38 passing for 344 yards and four touchdowns. More importantly, he showed creativity and escapability in the pocket.
On both sides of the ball, Alabama looks elite. The Crimson Tide are young at spots, but seemed to not skip a beat in Week 1 against a strong Miami team. Until proven otherwise, Alabama is the top team in the conference.
Georgia sputtered offensively, but that didn’t stop the Bulldogs from knocking off Clemson in Charlotte.
Georgia shut down what should have been an electric Clemson offense in a 10-3 victory. The only points Clemson had came from a fourth-quarter field goal. Georgia may be the best defensive team in the country.
3. Texas A&M
Most people tend to agree that Alabama, Georgia, and Texas A&M make up the top three teams in the conference. After one week, that should still be the belief.
Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane had huge nights rushing, both going for over 100 yards in a 41-10 win over Kent State. Arian Smith and Oscar Chapman also proved to be big-time targets out wide.
If there is an area where Texas A&M must improve, it’s at quarterback. In was his first-ever start, Haynes King was intercepted three times.
Some are predicting a down year for Florida, but it did handle a pretty good Florida Atlantic team, 35-14. The defense flew around and the offense created some explosive plays on the ground.
A reason to be concerned? Emory Jones’s performance certainly could be. Jones threw for just 113 yards and ended up with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Gators didn’t need to light up FAU for the win, but they are going to need a more prolific passing attack if they want to make another push at winning the SEC East.
5. Ole Miss
After a strong showing in 2020, the Ole Miss offense didn’t skip a beat in a 43-24 win over Louisville on Monday. Matt Corral had a huge night, and the Rebels created some explosive plays on the ground.
What was different was the effort from the defense. The Rebels looked much better than they did a year ago. They were swarming to the football and defensive coordinator DJ Durkin has them playing with confidence. If that trend can continue, Ole Miss will be a major player in the SEC West.
Auburn looked good in a 60-10 rout of Akron in Week 1. Granted, it is Akron. Still, the Tigers played better than many experts thought.
The offense rolled, as it should have, but it also looked disciplined. There weren’t any false starts, dropped passes, missed throws, personal fouls, etc. All in all, it looked like a clean and comfortable team.
Things will speed up quickly for Auburn in Week 3 when it travels to Penn State. That game will decide whether Auburn is a contender or a pretender. Until then, we will continue to speculate.
There were doubts about how Kentucky’s passing game would look, but the Wildcats seemed to have — at least temporarily — quieted those doubters in a 45-10 rout of Louisiana Monroe.
Will Levis lit up the Warhawks’ defense for 396 yards and four touchdowns. On top of that, Kentucky had two receivers in Wan’dale Robinson and Josh Ali break the 100-yard mark. To make things better, Chris Rodriguez looked like the same back that he was last year.
If Kentucky can pass the ball this way in SEC play, it is a team to watch down the stretch.
Arkansas built some good momentum a year ago. On Saturday, the Razorbacks used a big second half to erase a rough start against Rice in a 38-17 victory. Quarterback KJ Jefferson didn’t have a huge game passing, but he made things work with his legs.
Arkansas looked good on defense. If the offense can follow, it can be a pretty complete team. Arkansas gets its biggest test yet this week as Texas comes to Fayetteville.
Missouri should’ve handled Central Michigan, but it did not. The Tigers looked lost up front, and the result could’ve been much different if some things went the Chippewas’ way.
There were some bright spots, such as Tyler Badie rushing for 203 yards. Still, there is room for improvement everywhere after the 31-21 victory.
LSU didn’t drop so far because it lost; it dropped because of how it played. Outside of Kayshon Boutte, there were few bright spots in the 38-27 defeat against UCLA. LSU couldn’t run the ball at all, and was beat all night by UCLA’s front seven.
The Tigers couldn’t block anybody on offense, and their defense apparently made no adjustments from last year. There were tons of missed tackles and assignments.
LSU is a talented team, but not all that well-coached. Continue this performance and another 5-loss season could be on the way, and head coach Ed Orgeron’s job could be in jeopardy.
Tennessee got off to a rocky — pun intended — start against Bowling Green, but found its footing in the second half. Joe Milton didn’t perform the way anyone wanted, but the run game was electric in the 38-6 victory.
It was against Bowling Green, who finished 0-5 last season, but the Tennessee offense has plenty of playmakers and the scheme the put up some points.
12. South Carolina
South Carolina handled Eastern Illinois 46-0 with a graduate assistant at quarterback, but how will that hold up throughout the season? At the very least, South Carolina may have a potent rushing attack. Marshawn Lloyd and Kevin Harris are one of the best duos in the league, and the emergence of Zaquandre White adds some depth.
We don’t know where South Carolina is at. It has some talent, but also lacks depth at important spots. We will know more when the Gamecocks travel to take on East Carolina on Saturday.
13. Mississippi State
It took a second-half rally and a missed field goal for the Bulldogs to knock off Louisiana Tech, 35-34.
Mississippi State showed fight late, but it had a whopping six turnovers. If those turnover problems continue into SEC play, then things are going to get very uncomfortable very quickly for head coach Mike Leach.
One might expect to find Vanderbilt at the bottom of this list, but it managed to hit rock bottom on Saturday.
In Clark Lea’s first game as head coach, the Commodores somehow managed to lose to in-state East Tennessee State, an FCS school, by a 23-3 margin. The loss was met with great criticism, and some have called for Vanderbilt to leave the conference.
Even for Vandy, this is very low.
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