In this SEC season preview, The Daily Mississippian’s Sports Editor Dylan Rubino ranks the 14 southeastern conference teams. The Ole Miss Rebels will play LSU in Baton Rouge. Game time is set for 6:15 p.m.
1. Mississippi State- A bye week will not stop me from keeping the Bulldogs at number one in my rankings. Mississippi State could remain number one for a while with a relatively easy schedule the next three weeks. The Bulldogs hit the road this weekend to face Kentucky. Their real test comes November 15th, when they travel to face Alabama.
2. Ole Miss- The offense stalled in the first quarter against Tennessee, but once the Rebels got on the board in the second quarter, it was game over as they cruised to a 34-3 win. The Ole Miss defense held Tennessee to zero rushing yards and forced four turnovers. The defense has allowed six offensive touchdowns all year and scored four touchdowns. Death Valley awaits on Saturday.
3. Alabama- The last two weeks seemed to light a fire under Nick Saban and his squad, as they throttled Texas A&M at home 59-0. The Crimson Tide defense shut out Texas A&M for the first time under Kevin Sumlin. The offense scored on every possession of the first half also scoring 35 points in the 2nd quarter. Alabama seems to be back in full form as they travel to face Tennessee on Saturday.
4. Auburn- The bye week came at the right time for Auburn, as they needed to regroup after losing to number one Mississippi State. The defending conference champs get South Carolina at home on Saturday before their showdown in two weeks at Ole Miss.
5. Georgia- Many experts saw Arkansas as a team that could give the Bulldogs fits, but Georgia handled business and won on the road 45-32. Freshman running back Nick Chubb continues to fill in for suspended junior running back Todd Gurley nicely, rushing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas. The Bulldogs have their final bye week this week before their rivalry game against Florida.
6. LSU- Les Miles and the Tigers handled business at home against Kentucky winning 41-3. The offense ran for over 300 yards and outgained the Kentucky offense by more than 200 yards. This is the offensive production that LSU fans wanted to see earlier in the season. Ole Miss comes to Baton Rouge Saturday, and the Tigers hope to not go 0-2 against teams from Mississippi at home.
7. Missouri- The defending SEC East champs got back on track after an embarrassing loss to Georgia at home and trumped Florida on the road 42-13. Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk struggled, but senior running back Marcus Murphy scored three touchdowns, including two on special teams to put the game away. Missouri gets Vanderbilt at home Saturday.
8. Texas A&M- Maybe the Aggies are not who we thought they were. That early blowout against South Carolina doesn’t look so impressive now. Losing 59-0 on the road to Alabama doesn’t help either. The offense is still explosive, but it was a no show against Alabama. Three losses in a row bumps the Aggies down.
9. Arkansas- It’s a shame that Arkansas is stuck in the SEC West. Their last three losses have been competitive, but the Razorbacks just couldn’t get the job done. Junior quarterback Brandon Allen has been throwing the ball more in the past couple of weeks, which can help the offense become more multi-dimensional instead of relying on running the ball to win games.
10. South Carolina- It has been a disappointing season for the Gamecocks, but South Carolina kept their SEC East hopes alive with a 41-10 over Furman. The win earlier in the season against Georgia gives Steve Spurrier’s squad hope for a turnaround last in the season. They’ll need to play their best game of the season at Auburn Saturday.
11. Kentucky- The game against LSU was a chance to show that Kentucky is for real, but the hype might as well have been a fluke, losing to LSU 41-3. It doesn’t get easier for the Wildcats, as they get Mississippi State at home. Maybe Kentucky is truly just a basketball school.
12. Florida- Rumors about the safety of head coach Will Muschamp’s job start to swirl after their embarrassing loss to Missouri at home. Muschamp has seemed to lose control of his locker room and the fans are calling for his head. The offense continues to be the Achilles heel for the Gators.
13. Tennessee- There was hope for the Volunteers against Ole Miss, but it only lasted for one quarter. The offense looked lost against the Ole Miss defense. They’ll need to turn it around quickly as they get rival Alabama at home.
14. Vanderbilt- Will the Commodores ever get out of the black hole that is my last place finish in my power poll? What Vanderbilt needs is a program-building win. Could it come this weekend at Missouri?