SEC Power Rankings After Week 4: Auburn Climbing Up

SEC Football

Sep 24, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight (8) and Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Conner McQueen (14) celebrate a touchdown while Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Henre

The big picture for SEC football is becoming clearer after four weeks of games. Here is how our power rankings stand after week 4.

There was a lot of shake-up for SEC football after week four, including a coach already being fired after a disappointing start.

Of course that coach is Les Miles who LSU was finally able to let go after losing to Auburn on Saturday night. The Tigers of LSU are now just 2-2 on the season after entering the year with expectations of winning a National Championship.

Ole Miss was able to bounce-back with a huge win over Georgia at home. After a couple of close games someone finally humbled the Bulldogs.

In the bottom five teams we saw Kentucky take a step forward with a win over South Carolina. That was a much needed win for Mark Stoops and the team.

Tennessee started slow yet again, but scored 35 points in the second half on what was supposed to be the best defense in the SEC. Now Florida takes a huge step back without their starting quarterback Luke Del Rio.

And finally in SEC action, Texas A&M asserted itself as a dominate team in the conference by pulling away from Arkansas late. The Razorbacks were in this game in the fourth quarter, but eventually let it slip away.

In out-of-conference games Alabama destroyed Kent State, Mississippi State survived against UMASS, Missouri demolished Delaware State and Vanderbilt beat Western Kentucky by one point.

Overall it was a pretty good weekend for the SEC as they went 4-0 in out-of-conference games, and we have a pretty good idea how who the top teams in the conference will be this year.

Sep 24, 2016; Bowling Green, KY, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores players celebrate after a NCAA football game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Vanderbilt defeated WKU 31-30 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

14 – Vanderbilt 2-2 (0-1) – Even

The Commodores stopped a two-point conversion attempt from Western Kentucky in overtime to win by one point.

This was their second win of the season, and was a game they had to win to keep their bowl chances alive.

I’m not sure what has happened to Vanderbilt’s defense, but they’ve been exposed in three straight weeks now.

Now they have to face an angry Florida defense that won’t be easy to score on.

It sounds like Luke Del Rio will still be out this week, so they may be able to keep the Florida offense at bay.

After Florida they have a chance to move out of the basement against Kentucky.

Sep 24, 2016; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Stanley Boom Williams (18) is tackled by the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first half at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

13 – South Carolina – 2-2 (1-2) – Down One

The Gamecocks were unable to come away with their second SEC win of the season on Saturday as a fourth quarter touchdown by Kentucky was the difference.

Still, I think this South Carolina team has played better than most expected.

This was a really important game though if the Gamecocks were going to reach a bowl game.

They’ve already played three SEC games, and now they get Texas A&M and Georgia in back-to-back weeks.

Thinks could get ugly really quickly for South Carolina unless they pull off an upset against Georgia in two weeks.

There are maybe three winnable games left on the schedule for the Gamecocks. That win over Vanderbilt to start the season is not looking as impressive as it once did.

Sep 24, 2016; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats tight end C.J. Conrad (87) celebrates with running back Benny Snell (26) after scoring a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

12 – Kentucky – 2-2 (1-1) – Up One

After a slow start to the season, Mark Stoops was able to cool off the hot seat with back-to-back wins, including an SEC win over South Carolina last Saturday.

Don’t overlook this game against South Carolina as it’s hard to win games in the SEC as Auburn fans can attest to as of late.

I applaud Mark Stoops for rallying the troops together and getting the season back on track.

Unfortunately for them they face Alabama in Tuscaloosa this weekend in what is bound to be a wake-up call.

After that though, they have winnable games against Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Missouri on the schedule.

Those games will be very important in determining whether or not this team becomes bowl eligible and Mark Stoops gets to keep his job.

This team is going to be kicking itself all year thinking about that Southern Miss loss in week one.

Sep 24, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; The Missouri Tigers mascot Truman entertains fans during the second half against the Delaware State Hornets at Faurot Field. Missouri won 79-0. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

11 – Missouri – 2-2 (0-1) – Even

Missouri continues to prove they can light up a scoreboard after dropping 79 points on Delaware State. I don’t care who it’s against these days, anytime you beat someone 79-0 that’s impressive.

Drew Lock had another impressive game throwing for 402 yards and 5 touchdowns. They also two running backs rush for at least 83 yards while averaging at least 9.6 yards per carry.

They are now 13th in the country in points per game averaging 44.5 in four games. They’re fourth in the country with an average of 391.3 passing yards per game.

A lot of that came against Eastern Michigan and Delaware State, but it’s still impressive.

On the pessimistic side they’re averaging just 19 points a game in their two games against power five teams.

Their game against LSU this weekend will be very interesting as LSU is coming off a coaching change and a disappointing loss. If they can come away with an upset in Baton Rouge this team has a good chance of making a bowl game.

Sep 24, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald (7) and line backer DeAndre Ward (28) celebrate after defeating the Massachusetts Minutemen 47-35 at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

10 – Mississippi State – 2-2 (1-2) – Even

I just can’t figure out Mississippi State this year. I thought they would be bad coming into the season, and then it looked like it was going to be a disastrous season after losing to South Alabama in week one.

However, they bounced back nicely with an SEC win over South Carolina, and then they only loss to LSU by three points.

It looked like they may have figured things out and were on their way up, but then they give up 35 points to UMASS.

Granted, they did manage to score 47 points themselves and win the game, but that defense is looking vulnerable.

I’m not sure what the identity of this Mississippi State team is right now. Are they an offensive or defensive team?

Now they face an Auburn team that is coming off a big win and who you know will play great defense. Auburn is not great offensively, but if the Bulldogs can give up 35 points to UMASS I feel confident Auburn can score at least 30 points Saturday morning.

Sep 24, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Brian Herrien (35) dives at the end of a run during the fourth quarter of the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi won 45-14. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

9 – Georgia – 3-1 (1-1) – Down 2

The Bulldogs scraped by the first three weeks of the season with narrow victories, but they finally got a blowout in week four.

Unfortunately for Georgia fans the blowout went the other way as they were absolutely spanked 45-14 by Ole Miss.

This game was never even close as Chad Kelly destroyed that Kirby Smart defense. The Bulldogs have now given up at least 24 points in each of it’s first four games.

You knew the offense would be a little slow coming along this season, but you thought Kirby Smart would at least have the defense playing solid.

Lucky for Georgia, the schedule is very favorable for them this year. They get Tennessee at home this weekend, and then get South Carolina and Vanderbilt before facing Florida.

Before the season is over they may have only faced two ranked teams all year.

Sep 24, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA;
LSU head coach Les Miles gets his team ready to take the field at Jordan Hare Stadium against the Auburn Tigers. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

8 – LSU – 2-2 (1-1) – Down 3

How in the world you continue to have such a poor offense with the amount of talent that LSU has is baffling.

Apparently the LSU Athletic Department couldn’t figure it out either so they decided to give Les Miles the boot before he figured it out.

LSU has the best running back in the notion, and some of the best receivers in the country, but somehow the coaches can’t score points.

Any time you want to complain about Auburn’s woes on offense, take a look at LSU.

Now they have to collect themselves and try to salvage the season. In the end they just have one SEC loss and are still alive for the SEC.

They have Missouri this weekend to try and figure things out before going to the Swamp.

Sep 24, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Austin Allen (8) is gang tackled at the one yard line in the third quarter by the Texas A&M Aggies defense at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

7 – Arkansas – 3-1 (0-1) – Up One

Don’t be fooled by the final score of that Texas A&M and Arkansas game, it was a touchdown game going into the fourth quarter.

I thought the Razorbacks would be exploited by Texas A&M in this game, but they actually proved themselves to me. This is a dangerous team this year, which is unexpected after all they lost.

Now, they did end up allowing three fourth quarter touchdowns to ultimately get thumped 45-24. But I think Texas A&M is a very good team and Arkansas kept this one close for three quarters.

The Razorbacks get a warm-up game against Alcorn State this weekend before getting a chance to knock off Alabama in Fayetteville.

After Alabama the Razorbacks will face Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State and Missouri completing a rough stretch of seven games to end the season. They’ll be hard-pressed to find two more wins in those games to become bowl eligible.

Sep 24, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Kerryon Johnson (21) tries to avoid LSU Tigers linebacker Duke Riley (40) during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Auburn Tigers beat the LSU Tigers 18-13. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

6 – Auburn – 2-2 (1-1) – Up Three

As I’ve been saying all week, it wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.

Gus Malzahn and the coaching staff finally realized that our best chance of winning this year was by relying on the defense and playing conservatively on offense.

They did just enough on offense to keep the defense off the field and put points up on the board.

However, that strategy is not going to work on everyone like it did LSU. They have to do a better job of punching the ball into the end zone when they close.

The Tigers have some momentum now and have found their identity on defense.

They get a warm-up this week against Louisiana-Monroe before a stretch of games against Mississippi State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Georgia.

Sep 24, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

5 – Florida – 3-1 (1-1) – Down One

I don’t know what happened to Florida in the second half on Saturday. If you would have told me Florida would be up 21-3 at halftime against Tennessee I would have never thought the Volunteers had a chance against that defense.

Maybe that defense isn’t as stout as we thought after watching them shut down teams like UMASS, Kentucky and North Texas.

I still think not having Luke Del Rio had a major impact on this game. The offense wasn’t able to put the game away in the second half, and the defense finally got tired.

Florida will regroup though. I have confidence that this team will finish strong once Luke Del Rio gets back in the line.

If Tennessee slips up a couple of times, don’t be surprised to see Florida backdoor their way into the SEC Championship game again.

They get Vanderbilt this weekend before hosting LSU.

Sep 24, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; The Tennessee Volunteers celebrate after a victory over the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 38 to 28. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

4 – Tennessee – 4-0 (1-0) – Up Two

It’s hard to believe that the Volunteers are 4-0, but you have to give them credit for their ability to come back in games.

Being down 21-0 to Florida and that defense I turned the game off thinking it was over. I guess I should know better now with this Tennessee team.

I still think there are a lot of problems on offense for Tennessee, but that defense is pretty much impossible to score on in the second half of games.

They don’t get to relax very long though as they have to go to Athens this weekend and Kyle Field the following weekend before hosting Alabama.

It will be nearly impossible for Tennessee to come out of that stretch of games without a loss.

Sep 24, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) touches the Chucky Mullins statue as he runs into the locker room after the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi won 45-14. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

3 – Ole Miss – 2-2 (1-1) – Even

It’s amazing to think about what could have been with this Ole Miss team. They held 21 point leads over Florida State and Alabama before blowing both of those games.

Then they come out last week and absolutely destroy Georgia.

Had they beaten Florida State or Alabama this would still be a top 10 team with a chance to make the College Football Playoffs.

I thought they might fold after that loss to Alabama, but they came out throwing haymakers against Georgia showing they have a lot left to prove.

This is a very scary team going forward, and could wind of ruining some seasons for other teams.

They have a revenge game against Memphis this weekend before back-to-back road games against Arkansas and LSU respectively.

Sep 24, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight (8) points to the sidelines after throwing a touchdown pass in the third quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

2 – Texas A&M – 4-0 (2-0) – Even

The Aggies worried me a little bit on Saturday as they allowed Arkansas to hang around until the fourth quarter when they scored three touchdowns to make it look like a blowout.

Teams are beginning to realize that Trevor Knight is even more dangerous with his legs than with his arm.

He led Texas A&M in rushing Saturday night with 157 yards on just 10 carries for a 15.7 yard average and 2 touchdowns.

He still struggles with consistency throwing the football, but he knows when to pull it down and take off for big gains.

The defensive front for Texas A&M is an absolute beast. Myles Garrett was hurt momentarily in this game, but I think he’ll be alright.

If they were to lose anyone on that defensive front it would completely change the dynamic of this team.

We’ve seen this script from Kevin Sumlin before, let’s see if he can change it this year by building on early success.

They have a chance to go 3-0 in SEC play with a game against South Carolina this weekend.

Sep 24, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes running back/wide receiver Nick Holley (4) is hit by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Deionte Thompson (14) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

1 – Alabama – 4-0 (1-0) – Even

If you thought Nick Saban might show some mercy to his alma mater in Kent State this past weekend, you were dead wrong.

The Crimson Tide absolutely embarrassed the MAC team beating them 48-0 and only allowing 166 yards of total offense.

This team looks as focused as it’s ever been, and that’s very scary for SEC teams.

I still think this team loses at least one SEC game this year, and it’s likely to come in October with Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M coming up.

Before those big games though, Alabama gets another warm-up with Kentucky this weekend.

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