Written by Ryan Lippert
As was expected, this past weekend was a kind of quiet and predictable weekend in the Southeastern Conference. However, there was still a little bit of shake up in the conference that is worth noting, especially as we get closer to the end of the season. With that being said, let’s take a look at how things have changed in my SEC Power Rankings heading into week nine of the college football season.
1. Alabama (7-0):
Heading into week nine, Alabama is still the best team in the country. Unfortunately for them, things could get interesting as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered an ankle injury against Tennessee. Backup Mac Jones stepped in and did just enough to finish out the win, completing 6/11 passes for 72 yards. Jones is expected to start against Arkansas this week. Hopefully Jones can hold down the fort and Najee Harris can get in done on the ground while Tua is out. Alabama fans are hoping that absence won’t be long as their National Championship hopes are on the line.
2. LSU (7-0):
LSU continued to show that they are the true second best team in the country and a legitimate threat to Alabama this past weekend. Heisman candidate Joe Burrow threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 36-13 victory over Mississippi State. Burrow and the Tigers are up for what should be a solid test this weekend in a home game against a talented Auburn team.
3. Florida (7-1):
While it took them a little bit of time to truly get going, the Gators continued to show that they are legit this weekend. They ended South Carolina’s hot streak in a 38-27 victory on the road. Quarterback Kyle Trask led the charge, throwing for 200 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. They will have a crucial week off to prepare for what should be the SEC East Championship against Georgia.
4. Georgia (6-1):
After suffering an embarrassing upset loss at home to South Carolina, the Bulldogs bounced back this past weekend with a 21-0 victory over Kentucky. While the win looks impressive on the scoreboard, Georgia showed some reason for concern in this game. Their passing game struggled tremendously in the rain as Jake Fromm only threw for 35 yards with zero touchdowns. Luckily running back D’Andre Swift came to play, rushing for 179 yards and two touchdowns. They will need to clean things up during this bye week as they go on the road in a crucial game against Florida next week.
5. Auburn (6-1):
Following a much-needed bye week, the Auburn Tigers were able to get their season back on track against Arkansas. They rolled over the Razorbacks in a 51-10 victory. Quarterback Bo Nix led the offense, throwing for 176 yards and three touchdowns. Their defense also stepped up in a big way, holding SEC leading rusher, Rakeem Boyd, to 39 yards and zero touchdowns. Auburn will get a huge test this weekend as they go on the road to face the LSU Tigers.
6. Texas A&M (4-3):
Although it was a lot closer than it probably should’ve been, the Aggies stepped up when it mattered on Saturday, with a 24-17 victory over Ole Miss. Kellen Mond struggled throwing the ball, finishing with 172 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. However, he showed his dual threat ability, rushing for 76 yards. The Aggies have a chance to pull things together this week in a very winnable game at home against Mississippi State.
7. Missouri (5-2):
Going into last week, I was starting to have very high thoughts about this Missouri team. However, they proved me wrong and gave me reasons to question them in a 21-14 loss to a struggling Vanderbilt team. Kelly Bryant struggled to find a rhythm, throwing for 140 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Their defense also didn’t show up as Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran for 96 yards and a touchdown, while also finishing with 80 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. Missouri will look to bounce back with a road game against Kentucky this weekend.
8. South Carolina (3-4):
Even though they came up short, South Carolina showed that they could compete with the best in a 38-27 loss to a very talented Florida team. Former Clemson Tiger, Tavien Feaster, had a huge game on the ground, rushing for 175 yards and a touchdown. However, South Carolina must clean up the passing game if they want to put together some wins and make a bowl game this season. They will get their chance to do that in a road game against a struggling Tennessee team this weekend.
9. Ole Miss (3-5):
The Rebels have been a team this season that has been sneaky competitive but just hasn’t been able to put it together down the stretch. They suffered a close loss to a Texas A&M team that probably should’ve blown them out from a talent aspect. One thing that I highly believe would help them is if they could figure out who their quarterback is between Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee. I personally think Plumlee gives them the best chance to win as he is a true dual-threat option. They have a bye week coming up before going on the road for a very tough matchup against Auburn next weekend.
10. Mississippi State (3-4):
After a hot start to their season, things have seemed to simply fall apart for the Bulldogs in the second half of the season. They suffered their third straight loss of the season at the hands of the machine that is the LSU Tigers. The Bulldogs will have to get their struggling offense going if they want any chance to make a bowl game this season. They go on the road to face Texas A&M this weekend in what may be a must-win game.
11. Kentucky (3-4):
As was expected, Kentucky suffered a loss on the road this past weekend to the Georgia Bulldogs. This loss can be largely put on the offense. With Lynn Bowden Jr. being moved from wide receiver to quarterback, they only completed two passes for 17 yards. With the defense stepping up for the most part, the Wildcats will hope to get quarterback Sawyer Smith back in action this week and move Bowden back to wide receiver where he is at his best. They will look to get their season back on track this weekend with a home game against Missouri.
12. Vanderbilt (2-5):
Just as I was ready to label them as the clear-cut worst team in the SEC, the Commodores stepped up with a huge 21-14 victory over Missouri. Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn finally had a game that I knew he is capable of, finishing with 176 all-purpose yards for two touchdowns. Vanderbilt will have a bye week before having a huge road test against South Carolina next weekend.
13. Tennessee (2-5):
Tennessee had the unfortunate experience of running into Alabama this week. Even with Tua going down, Tennessee simply struggled to find a way to put points on the board and make it a game. Although they put together a couple wins, this team just simply doesn’t seem to be built to compete. They will have a chance to prove me wrong this weekend with a home game against South Carolina.
14. Arkansas (2-5):
To put things simply, this Arkansas team is bad. They suffered their fourth straight loss of the season in a 51-10 blowout at home against Auburn. The Razorbacks struggled on both sides of the ball, only finishing with 234 yards of total offense, while giving up 491. Things will only get tougher for them as they go on the road to Alabama this weekend.