SEC Football Power Rankings After Week 7: Auburn Flying High
By Jake Mastroianni/FanSided via Fly War Eagle
Oct 8, 2016; Starkville, MS, USA; SEC Football: Skydivers perform a flyover before the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Here were give our SEC Football power rankings after week seven of the college football season. Auburn remains among the top teams in the conference.
Auburn football had a great bye week as two teams ahead of them in the power rankings took some bad losses with Tennessee getting embarrassed by Alabama and Ole Miss falling to Arkansas.
To be fair, Tennessee is beat up and coming off a difficult stretch of games, but they aren’t the team we thought they would be. Because of that, they are taking quite a hit in our power rankings this week.
Alabama has asserted itself as the one dominant team in the conference after what they did on the road against Tennessee. Now they have to face another top 10 team, but this time at home.
Elsewhere in the SEC, Florida and LSU both got out to slow starts before blowing out Missouri and Southern Mississippi respectively.
In somewhat of an upset, Vanderbilt will move out of the basement because of their win on the road against Georgia.
I thought Mississippi State played pretty well on the road against a good BYU team, but they ultimately lost in double-overtime.
There are three ranked games inside SEC football this weekend with No. 1 Alabama taking on No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 17 Arkansas playing No. 21 Auburn, and No. 23 Ole Miss traveling to face No. 25 LSU.
The only other SEC game will be between Mississippi State and Kentucky, which is actually a huge game for either of them making a bowl game.
There are three out-of-conference games with South Carolina hosting UMASS, Missouri playing Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt taking on Tennessee State.
I can’t wait for another exciting weekend of SEC football!
Oct 15, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Marcus Maye (20) tackles Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock (3) during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators won 40-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
14 – Missouri – 2-4 (0-3) – Down One
Missouri has hung around the basement for most of the year, but I think they’re there for good this time after a bad loss to Florida.
They only have two wins on the season, and even though they were impressive in those wins, they were against terrible teams.
They almost upset Georgia at home, but that’s not looking as impressive as it once did.
This weekend’s game is huge for Missouri as Middle Tennessee has the ability to come in and knock them off. That would be most embarrassing for Missouri and the conference.
Funny thing is, Missouri could still make a bowl game and salvage this season. Their next four games are all winnable, but I don’t see them winning four in a row.
Oct 15, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores head coach Derek Mason pumps his fist reacting to a defensive stop against the Georgia Bulldogs at the end of the fourth quarter at Sanford Stadium. Vanderbilt defeated Georgia 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
13 – Vanderbilt – 3-4 (1-3) – Up One
The Commodores finally move out of the basement after their 17-16 upset win over Georgia in Athens last Saturday.
I’m still not ready to move them up any higher as Georgia is not exactly a huge upset at this point; however, it was still a great win for this team.
Now you have to look back and think what could have been with close losses to South Carolina and Kentucky. They could easily be 5-2 right now and 3-1 in the SEC.
As it is, they will have to pull an upset over Auburn, Ole Miss or Tennessee the rest of the way to make a bowl game. I just don’t see that happening.
Maybe they’ll find themselves this weekend as they play a home game against Tennessee State.
Oct 9, 2016; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Kiel Pollard (87) and Georgia Bulldogs safety Quincy Mauger (20) dive for the same ball during the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina would get the possession. Georgia won 28-14. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
12 – South Carolina – 2-4 (1-4) – Even
The Gamecocks are coming off a bye after losing by two touchdowns at home to what is looking like a terrible Georgia team.
To be fair, that game was much closer than the final score. Still, this is not a good South Carolina team and I don’t see how they make a bowl game at this point with only two wins on the season thus far.
Will Muschamp has already put together a very good defense that will keep them in games, but I don’t think they have the offense to pull off an upset against either Tennessee, Florida or Clemson.
They need to be worried about a UMASS team this weekend that is very familiar with SEC football as they’ve already played competitive games against Florida and Mississippi State this year.
I still think Muschamp and South Carolina fans will call this a good season if they finish with five wins, as they should.
Oct 14, 2016; Provo, UT, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Malik Dear (22) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Brigham Young Cougars at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
11 – Mississippi State – 2-4 (1-2) – Even
The heat has been turned up on Dan Mullen as Mississippi State now sits at just 2-4 on the season after a double-overtime loss at BYU.
I actually didn’t think the Bulldogs would play as well as they did in a hostile environment on a Friday night against a good BYU team. Obviously those are games that Mississippi State fans expect to win, but the Bulldogs lost a lot from last year’s team and are rebuilding.
Plus, you have to realize how good the SEC West is. Somebody has to be at the bottom of that pile, and it looks like it’s going to be the Bulldogs this year.
Can you imagine a schedule that includes Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss? That’s just not fair for a team that is trying to regroup.
At most this team will win five games this year; although, if they don’t beat Kentucky this weekend they might finish with just three wins, and Mullen might have to get the axe at that point.
Oct 15, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Isaac Nauta (18) is tackled by Vanderbilt Commodores defensive back Bryce Lewis (30) during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Vanderbilt defeated Georgia 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
10 – Georgia – 4-3 (2-3) – Down One
I think Georgia fans feel a little better that Mark Richt and Miami have dropped a couple of games, because right not things are rocky for first-year head coach Kirby Smart.
After a good win against North Carolina to start the season, the Bulldogs struggled to beat Nicholls State and Missouri, then were embarrassed by Ole Miss, then blew a game against Tennessee.
The win against South Carolina on the road was somewhat impressive, but a loss at home to Vanderbilt is inexcusable.
I knew this team would struggle this year, but they’ve taken struggle to a whole new level. There is too much talent there for them to be playing this poorly.
It’s very possible they lose their next three games, and have to win their last two games to reach a bowl.
If that does happen, Georgia fans can take solace in knowing that Nick Saban went 6-6 in his first season at Alabama.
Still, there is not much to be excited about in Athens right now.
Oct 8, 2016; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops coaches his team against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
9 – Kentucky – 3-3 (2-2) – Up One
The Wildcats are finally looking like the team we thought they would be this year and have set themselves up to make a bowl game.
They went into their bye week last weekend with a 3-3 record, and now have four winnable games the rest of the way.
It all starts this weekend against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are certainly struggling, and getting them at home should certainly help.
If they can win this weekend it should give them momentum into their game against Missouri. A win there and they’re pretty much guaranteed six wins with Austin Peay still on the schedule.
The next two games will determine the 2016 season for Mark Stoops and Kentucky.
I really have no dog in the fight, but for some reason I find myself cheering for the Wildcats. I hope they get that sixth win this year.
Oct 15, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; against the Tennessee Volunteers during the third quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
8 – Tennessee – 5-2 (2-2) – Down Four
There is no excuse for getting beat 49-10 on your own field, I don’t care who you are playing. If you want to consider yourself one of the best teams in the country, you don’t lose like the Volunteers did Saturday afternoon.
I know they had a bunch of injuries on defense, but that’s part of the game. Great teams have the depth to overcome those injuries, and it’s still no reason to get blown out at home.
They’ve now lost two straight, and you have to consider that those struggles early in the season were real.
On the bright side, there isn’t a team the rest of the way that should come close to beating Tennessee. However, I would not be surprised if they stumble along the way.
Right now they need Florida to slip up and lose a game to get back in the SEC Championship picture. If they don’t make it to the championship game – even if they go on to win 10 games – Butch Jones seat will be on fire.
Oct 15, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) returns to the sideline during a timeout in the second hola of the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Ole Miss 34-30. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
7 – Ole Miss – 3-3 (1-2) – Down Four
I’m really disappointed in the Rebels and how they played against Arkansas. There is no way they should have lost that game. But that’s what happens when teams play uninspired football, and Ole Miss tends to do that often.
Even after two early losses, Ole Miss and its fans thought they had a chance to win out and possibly enter the playoff discussion again.
That’s out the window now, and you wonder how motivated Chad Kelly and this team will play the rest of the season.
They could easily fold it up and lose six games this year, and I’m not sure Hugh Freeze could survive that with all that’s going on at that program. The only reason he’s still there is because he wins football games.
We’ll get a good idea of how they’ll respond this weekend as they travel to Baton Rouge to take on LSU at night.
Another loss and this team could implode, if they haven’t already.
Oct 15, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks offensive lineman Dan Skipper (70) celebrates with teammates after the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Ole Miss 34-30. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
6 – Arkansas – 5-2 (1-2) – Up Two
Just when I’m ready to count the Razorbacks out, they come up with a huge win that keeps them in the top 25.
I have to give Bret Bielema a lot of credit, this was supposed to be a terrible for year at Arkansas, but he has turned it into an exciting one.
They already have five wins, and it looks like they’re going to get at least seven this year when I thought they wouldn’t even make a bowl game.
They are in the midst of a difficult stretch of games that started with Alabama and Ole Miss, and finishes with Auburn, Florida and LSU.
The game this weekend against Auburn is the only one of those games that they’ll have to play on the road, which gives the Tigers a huge edge.
Amazingly, Arkansas has only played one road game all year and that was against TCU in week two.
Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, this has been a surprisingly good season for Arkansas.
Oct 15, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Jordan Scarlett (25) is congratulated after he scored a touchdown against the Missouri Tigers during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Missouri Tigers 40-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
5 – Florida – 5-1 (3-1) – Up Two
The Gators are sitting back atop the SEC East standings thanks to Tennessee losing to a couple of top 10 teams. They now control their own destiny in the SEC, and with just one loss they are still alive for the College Football Playoff.
I think that is unlikely for Florida, but with Luke Del Rio back at quarterback the Gators are a much better team.
They get a bye week this weekend before taking on rival Georgia in what is turning into an easy game.
They’re biggest test may come on the road against Arkansas or LSU.
Florida should be favored in just about every game the rest of the way, but I still think they slip up at least once and let Tennessee back into the SEC Championship game.
Oct 15, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates with his team following a win against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Southern Mississippi 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
4 – LSU – 4-2 (2-1) – Up Two
Things looked pretty bad for LSU in the first half against Southern Miss as it was tied at 10 going into the break. That’s why they play four quarters though as LSU scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to win 45-10.
They once again played without Leonard Fournette, but that doesn’t seem to matter as Derrius Guice is proving that he’s also one of the best running backs in the league going for 162 yards on 16 carries.
Danny Etling only completed 11 passes but they went for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns.
They’ve now scored 40-plus points in their two games since Les Miles was fired, granted those games were against Missouri and Southern Miss.
If Coach O and the staff can continue to score this many points, that defense is good enough to win them some games.
They get a disgruntled Ole Miss team at home this weekend in what should be a telling game for both teams.
Oct 1, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver Nate Craig-Myers (3) makes a touchdown catch as UL-Monroe Warhawks safety Aaron Townsend (31) defends during the second quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
3 – Auburn – 4-2 (2-1) – Up Two
Much like Tennessee, Auburn’s only two losses were against a couple of top 10 teams. The only difference to me is that Auburn has gotten better each week, while Tennessee has gotten worse – and more injured.
It’s really hard for me to put anyone other than Texas A&M and Alabama ahead of Auburn right now. Florida and Tennessee are the only teams in the SEC West that would give Auburn a scare.
This Auburn defense has proven that it’s a top 15 defense in the country, and the offense has made improvements against subpar competition.
This weekend is vital for the perception of this Auburn football team. If they come out and dominate Arkansas like they did Mississippi State, then this number three ranking is solidified.
If they lose to Arkansas, the Tigers will take a nosedive in these rankings next week.
Oct 8, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight (8) celebrates after scoring the game winning touchdown during the second overtime against the Tennessee Volunteers at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeated the Volunteers 45-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
To me there is a big gap between the top two teams in the SEC and everyone else. And after this weekend we might find out that there is a big gap between Alabama and the rest of the conference.
The Aggies are a very good team. I think they’re the most impressive team that Auburn has faced this year by far.
However, they are known for having good starts and then fading away. You have to wonder if they’re running out of gas as they take on Alabama in Tuscaloosa this weekend.
The bye week last weekend definitely helps Texas A&M, and keeps them in this game. I don’t think we’ll see Alabama run away with it like they did against Tennessee.
If they can find a way to upset the Tide as a 16 point underdog in Tuscaloosa, then I don’t see anyone stopping this team. But a loss could send this team into another downward spiral.
Oct 15, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Raekwon Davis (99) and fellow players celebrate their 49-10 victory with a traditional victory cigar after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
1 – Alabama – 7-0 (4-0) – Even
I know we’re supposed to hate Alabama as Auburn fans, but it’s scary how good they can play when they’re firing on all cylinders like they were against Tennessee.
What we’ve learned from Alabama the past couple of years though is that it’s hard for them to repeat that performance two games in a row.
Normally after a big game like they had against Tennessee they’ll play poorly the next game. They can’t afford to take a step back this weekend against Texas A&M.
It’s weird as Auburn fans, because if we want to win the SEC West we need Alabama to beat Texas A&M this weekend.
I wonder how many of you will actually be cheering for the Tide this weekend.?