Written by Ryan Lippert
As another week of the college football season has come and gone, we have almost reached the end of the regular season. This past weekend gave us some excitement and shake up in the college football rankings, especially in the Southeastern Conference. The SEC has already caused some debate in the College Football Playoff standings but I’m sure it isn’t close to done yet as we still have several marquee matchups left this season. While these rankings likely won’t stay the same, here is how my SEC Power Rankings shape up heading into week twelve of the college football season.
1. LSU (9-0):
I’ve been saying all season that I just couldn’t put LSU above Alabama in my rankings yet. Well the time has come and it is clear to me that the LSU Tigers are the best team in college football. The Tigers went on the road and knocked off the Crimson Tide in an impressive 46-41 victory. Future Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow earned the right for me to give him that title, throwing for 393 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase also had a huge day with six receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. They will look to continue their undefeated season with another SEC West road game against Ole Miss this weekend.
2. Alabama (8-1):
Even with the devastating loss, the Alabama Crimson Tide are still the second best team in this conference and a top four team in the country in my eyes. Although it wasn’t enough to win, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looked good in his first game back from injury, throwing for 418 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception against a talented LSU secondary. He benefited from a huge game from junior wide receiver DeVonta Smith who finished with an impressive seven receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Alabama, they must win out and hope for some help if they want any chance at getting in the College Football Playoff. They will have their first chance at redemption on the road against Mississippi State this weekend.
3. Georgia (8-1):
The Georgia Bulldogs continued their hot streak and quest for the SEC East title in impressive fashion this past weekend. They put together a 27-0 shutout victory at home against the Missouri Tigers. Quarterback Jake Fromm had a decent performance, throwing for 173 yard, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. However, it was the Georgia defense that led the way as they held the Tigers offense to 198 yards of total offense, forced one turnover, and kept them off the scoreboard. Georgia benefited tremendously from the Alabama loss, putting them at fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings. However, they still must win out and win the SEC Championship if they want to get in. They will have a huge test this weekend on the road against a very talented Auburn team.
4. Florida (8-2):
After suffering a very tough loss to Georgia a couple weeks ago, the Gators bounced back in a huge way this past weekend. Florida put together a dominant performance at home in a 56-0 victory over a terrible Vanderbilt team. Kyle Trask threw for a career-high 363 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The incredibly talented Gators defense also came to play, holding the Commodores to 128 total yards and forcing three turnovers in the shutout. Florida will look to keep this momentum going with a road game against a struggling Missouri team this weekend.
5. Auburn (7-2):
Although the order in the top two changed, we have yet another week with the same five SEC powerhouses in my top five. Unfortunately, the Auburn Tigers didn’t get a chance to move up from this spot as they didn’t play this past week. However, that bye week was much needed as they have a tough task ahead of them this weekend. The Tigers will welcome the red hot Georgia Bulldogs to their house on Saturday with a chance to pull off a huge upset and create even more controversy in the College Football Playoff rankings.
6. Texas A&M (6-3):
Once again, the Texas A&M Aggies are simply the best team outside the “Power Five” in the Southeastern Conference. Unfortunately, I don’t see them being any higher than this at least for this season. However, they do have a talented roster, led by dual threat quarterback Kellen Mond, and should have the opportunity to make a decent bowl game. They will have what should be a very hard fought conference matchup this weekend in a home game against South Carolina.
7. Tennessee (5-5):
As a Kentucky fan, it truly hurts me to say this, but Tennessee is a much different team than they were at the beginning of the season. They put together an impressive comeback on the road this past weekend in a 17-13 victory over my Wildcats. Junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano replaced Brian Maurer in the second half and threw for 115 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Their defense also stepped up big time with a huge goal line stand to seal the win. They have a bye this week before going on the road with a chance to become bowl eligible against Missouri.
8. Mississippi State (4-5):
After having a rough several weeks, the Bulldogs bounced back with a huge win over an awful Arkansas team a couple weeks ago. They had a much needed bye week this past weekend as they will have an extremely tough challenge ahead of them this weekend. The Bulldogs welcome the Alabama Crimson Tide to their place this weekend as the Tide will be hungry for a bounce back victory after losing to LSU. Mississippi State still has a chance to earn bowl eligibility but it will likely come down to winning their last two games as I don’t give them much hope this weekend.
9. South Carolina (4-6):
The Gamecocks suffered a tough one at home this past weekend in a 20-15 loss to Appalachian State. However, while it may look bad with Appalachian State being a small school, they are a very talented team with an 8-1 record and now two wins over “Power Five” teams this season. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski played a solid game, throwing for 325 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. However, he had zero help from the run game with leading rusher Tavien Feaster missing the game with a groin injury. In his absence, South Carolina was held to only 21 total rushing yards. The Gamecocks will have another tough matchup this weekend on the road against Texas A&M.
10. Kentucky (4-5):
After it looked like the Wildcats were bound to easily walk into a bowl game, they suffered a tough loss at home this past weekend. The Wildcats got off to a great start but were unable to keep things going down the stretch as Tennessee came back to earn the 17-13 victory. Kentucky had another solid game on the ground, led by Lynn Bowden Jr. with 114 rushing yards, but their passing game was non-existent as Bowden only went 4/7 throwing the ball for 25 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception. If the Wildcats want to win two of their last three to make a bowl game, they must think about bringing Sawyer Smith back in at quarterback and moving Bowden back to his normal position at receiver as their offense is just way too predictable with him at quarterback. They will get a chance to bounce back this weekend with a road game against a bad Vanderbilt team.
11. Missouri (5-4):
While their record is still better than the two teams above them, I just have no reason to rank the Missouri Tigers any higher than this at this point. They struggled on the road this past weekend in a 27-0 loss to Georgia. With quarterback Kelly Bryant out due to injury, sophomore Taylor Powell started and threw for 84 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception. Freshman Connor Bazelak came in to replace Powell and finished 8/12 for 64 yards. Luckily, Bryant is likely to return this weekend but he will face a tough task as the Tigers have a home game against a very talented Florida team.
12. Ole Miss (4-6):
After coming just short of upsetting the Auburn Tigers a couple weeks ago, the Rebels put together a much needed win the past weekend. They came away with an easy blowout victory at home with a 41-3 win over New Mexico State. Dual threat quarterback John Rhys Plumlee put on a show, finishing 11/17 passing for 124 yards while rushing for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman running back Snoop Conner also had a big game, rushing for 109 yards off 13 carries with two touchdowns of his own. Unfortunately, this good feeling that comes from winning will likely short lived as the Rebels have a home game against the top ranked LSU Tigers this weekend.
13. Vanderbilt (2-7):
The Commodores continued to prove this past weekend that they are very much in the gutter when it comes to this conference. Although they weren’t expected to win by any means, they took an even bigger loss than I thought they would in a 56-0 beatdown on the road against Florida. They couldn’t get any type of offense going as star running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn was held to 28 yards off 15 carries. Their passing game wasn’t any better as Deuce Wallace threw for only 60 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. To make matters worse, they allowed Kyle Trask to throw for a career-high 363 yards. Vanderbilt has a home game this weekend against a Kentucky team that likely needs to win this game to keep bowl eligibility hopes alive.
14. Arkansas (2-8):
While Vanderbilt is in the gutter of the Southeastern Conference, Arkansas is even lower than that. The Razorbacks were embarrassed at home this past weekend against a team that isn’t even the best team in Conference USA in Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers came away with a huge 45-19 victory over the Razorbacks. Running back Rakeem Boyd had a solid game for Arkansas, rushing for 185 yards and two touchdowns off just eight carries but had zero help from the passing game. Freshman quarterback John Stephens Jones only completed three passes for 27 yards and an interception in his first career start. His replacement, K.J. Jefferson didn’t do much better throwing for 60 yards and an interception. To make things even worse, former Razorback Ty Storey threw for 213 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 77 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hilltoppers to victory. The Razorbacks have a bye this weekend before going on the road to another likely beatdown against LSU.