Written by Ryan Lippert
With the first College Football Playoff rankings being released this past Tuesday, that means that we are getting closer and closer to the end of the regular season. As we close in on the final rankings, things will start to heat up even more with several huge matchups across the country still left. Per usual, the Southeastern Conference will have a huge impact on those final rankings as their were three teams in the top six from the SEC and a few teams in the conference that could come in and crush their dreams. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at how things look in my SEC Power Rankings heading into week eleven of the college football season.
1. Alabama (8-0):
Although they were still included in the top four, I believe that Alabama was disrespected by being ranked third in the College Football Playoff rankings. I get that they haven’t played a very tough schedule but they’re still Alabama and have given no reason for anyone to doubt them in my mind. Even without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, they cruised to two victories behind back up Mac Jones. Obviously, if the Tua injury were serious, they probably aren’t a top four team but once he’s back they should be the best team in the country. He’s listed as a game-time decision this week and will be needed as their season will likely be on the line in a home game against the LSU Tigers.
2. LSU (8-0):
I agreed with the LSU Tigers being ranked second in the College Football Playoff rankings but not over Alabama, at least not yet. They have been impressive throughout the season with multiple big time wins, but I’m waiting to see what they do on the road in Tuscaloosa this weekend. Quarterback Joe Burrow is currently my Heisman candidate and is in a very close conversation with Tua as my top quarterback prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. He will have the chance to prove himself once again this weekend and I believe he will jump to that top spot, at least for me, if he is able to lead the Tigers to victory.
3. Georgia (7-1):
After a couple of shaky games, the Georgia Bulldogs showed that they are still the talented team that people expected them to be this past weekend. The Bulldogs defeated a very good Florida team 24-17 to put themselves in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. Quarterback Jake Fromm led the charge, throwing for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions against a very talented Florida secondary. He benefited from a huge breakout performance from senior wide receiver Lawrence Cager, who finished with seven receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. Georgia was ranked sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings but will likely have to win out, including winning the SEC Championship if they want to get in. They have what should be a fairly easy win at home against a Missouri team that has struggled lately.
4. Florida (7-2):
Unfortunately for the Gators, their SEC East title hopes were likely ended this past Saturday in a close loss against the Georgia Bulldogs. Quarterback Kyle Trask had another solid performance, throwing for 257 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions but it wasn’t enough as Florida’s defense just simply couldn’t get enough stops against the Georgia offense. Although the loss hurts, the Gators are still in good shape to make a very good bowl game if they win out. They will get their chance to bounce back this week in a home game against a very mediocre Vanderbilt team.
5. Auburn (7-2):
The Auburn Tigers have been a team this year that is very talented and can compete on any given night but just simply hasn’t been good enough to compete with the powerhouses in the best conference in the country. Auburn came away with a victory this past weekend in a game that was a lot closer than most people would’ve thought in a 20-14 win over Ole Miss. Freshman quarterback Bo Nix threw for 340 yards but was unfortunately unable to find the end zone through the air (did have one rushing touchdown). The Tigers will have a bye week to clean things up this week before getting a chance to play spoiler in a home game against Georgia next weekend.
6. Texas A&M (6-3):
Much like the Auburn Tigers, Texas A&M is a team that is very talented but is simply a victim of playing in the best college football conference in America. The Aggies cruised to an easy 45-14 victory of UTSA this past Saturday. Freshman running back Isaiah Spiller stole the show against the Roadrunners, rushing for 217 yards and three touchdowns off 20 carries. They have a bye week this week before what could be an interesting home game next weekend against South Carolina.
7. South Carolina (4-5):
While the rest of these teams still have a ton of talent, this is the spot in the rankings where this conference takes a big drop in quality. South Carolina is a team that has had a lot of ups and downs this season but has proven that they can be competitive in this conference. After taking two tough losses in a row, the Gamecocks bounced back with a huge 24-7 victory over Vanderbilt this past weekend. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski put together a solid performance, throwing for 235 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. This performance was due in large part to a huge game from star wide receiver Bryan Edwards who finished with 14 receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. They will hope for a similar performance this weekend as they will face a very talented 7-1 Appalachian State team.
8. Kentucky (4-4):
Just like the Gamecocks, the Kentucky Wildcats are a talented team that has been competitive but has had a lot of ups and downs this season. After taking some tough losses, the Wildcats have found a spark on offense from wide receiver turned quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr., who has been electric running the ball. It will be interesting to see if he stays at quarterback the whole game or if they let quarterback Sawyer Smith get some playing time, putting Bowden back at his natural position, as they have a crucial rivalry game at home against Tennessee this Saturday.
9. Tennessee (4-5):
As I mentioned in my rankings last week, the Tennessee Volunteers have been the most improved team in the SEC throughout this season. They continued that trend this past weekend with an easy 30-7 victory at home against UAB. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano led the Volunteers to victory with Brian Mauer out with an injury but didn’t put up great numbers, throwing for only 147 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Luckily, Tennessee’s defense stepped up, forcing four turnovers, which they turned into 20 points.
10. Missouri (5-3):
Although they have a better record than the three teams ahead of them, I’m not sold on this Missouri team. After a hot start to the season, the Tigers suffered two consecutive conference losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. If they want to have any success in a very tough remaining schedule, quarterback Kelly Bryant must step up and show that he is still the same player that we saw when he was at Clemson. He will get his biggest test of the season this weekend on the road against the Georgia Bulldogs, who will be looking to stay at the top of the SEC East.
11. Mississippi State (4-5):
After getting off to a solid start to their season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs suffered four straight SEC losses and looked to be completely falling apart. Fortunately, they got back and track this past weekend with a 54-24 victory on the road over Arkansas. Star running back Kylin Hill showed that he belongs in the discussion as a top level draft prospect as he rushed for 234 yards and three touchdowns off 21 carries. His back up, Nick Gibson also had his time to shine, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown off 12 carries. Unfortunately, they can’t play Arkansas every week and will run into the beast that is the Alabama Crimson Tide at home next weekend following their bye week.
12. Ole Miss (3-6):
The Rebels are another one of those teams in the SEC that has talent and can be competitive but just hasn’t been able to put it all together this season. They suffered a surprisingly close 20-14 loss to a very talented Auburn team this past weekend. This loss was mainly due to their struggles throwing the ball as quarterback John Rhys Plumlee only threw for 86 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. However, Plumless did show that he has true dual-threat ability as he led the team in rushing with 92 yards and a touchdown. Ole Miss will have a chance to get things back on track this weekend in what should be a win at home against New Mexico State.
13. Vanderbilt (2-6):
After a huge upset victory over Missouri, I thought the Commodores had some hope to move up a couple spots in the rankings. Unfortunately, they proved me wrong and went back to their losing ways in a 24-7 loss on the road to South Carolina this past weekend. Vanderbilt simply couldn’t get anything going on offense as star running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn was held to 87 yards and no touchdowns off 20 carries. Their defense didn’t play any better as they were torched for 440 yards of total offense. Things will only get tougher for the Commodores this weekend as they will go on the road to face a very talented Florida team that will be hungry for a win after falling to Georgia this past weekend.
14. Arkansas (2-7):
I’ve said it multiple times in the past few weeks and I’ll say it again, this Arkansas team is terrible. They suffered their sixth straight loss this past weekend in a 54-24 blowout against a struggling Mississippi State team. Running back Rakeem Boyd was once again the only bright spot for the Razorbacks as he rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown off eleven carries. Unfortunately, that wasn’t even close to enough as the Bulldogs rushed for 460 total yards against Arkansas. The Razorbacks will have what is likely their only remaining chance at a win this weekend with a home game against Western Kentucky.