It is quite clear through six weeks of college football that the SEC as a whole is really bad. We have a clear top three, but every spot behind that is up for grabs. One thing we did learn last weekend is that Alabama is beatable, which wasn’t conceivable after the beat down they gave to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt in consecutive weeks. It will be interesting to see as the season progresses if Texas A&M is just that good, or if Alabama just had a bad night.
The Tigers nearly got their first SEC win of the season against Kentucky, but ultimately just couldn’t get it done. Each and every week it gets more and more likely that they will go winless in the conference this year with road games at Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas along with home games against Florida and Tennessee. I’d say the only two winnable games in there would be on the road at Vanderbilt and maybe at home against Florida.
13. Ole Miss
The newly coined “Landsharks”, headed down to the Plains to take on Auburn where they fell 44-23. The game wasn’t as close as the score showed though as Auburn led 41-10 in the fourth before pulling their starters. Coming into the season we knew Ole Miss would have trouble stopping the run, which continued to be the case as Auburn put up 326 yards on the ground. As good as the Ole Miss offense is, you aren’t going to win games if you can’t stop teams from scoring.
I expected this Arkansas vs South Carolina game to be one of the best of the day, but that wasn’t the case, at least for Arkansas fans. The Razorbacks would end up falling 48-22 in a game where South Carolina scored three defensive touchdowns. Arkansas has glaring weaknesses in their run defense and has struggled throughout the season to find consistency on offense. Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, things don’t get any easier this week when they Travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide.
11. South Carolina
Despite the fact that the Gamecocks were able to completely roll over Arkansas this past weekend, I still have concerns about them. The loss of Deebo Samuel early in the year really hurt this offense, and I’m just not sure where the explosiveness is going to come from. While they did put 48 points against the Razorbacks, three of those touchdowns came from the defense and that just simply isn’t going to happen every week. I still think this team has the chance to have a solid season, I just have a hard time putting them any higher as of today.
Over the last three weeks, the Commodores have played arguably the toughest schedule in the SEC with games at home against Alabama and Georgia and on the road against Florida. While they may have lost those games, the schedule lightens up with games against Ole Miss, South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, all winnable games. If that defense can get back to where it was in the first three weeks, this could be a very tough team to play down the stretch.
The Vols had a much-needed bye week after consecutive conference losses to Florida and Georgia. Unless they are able to somehow beat Alabama, I believe Butch Jones is as good as gone by the end of the season, which will make it interesting to see how motivated his team is down the stretch.
I was worried about how Kentucky would respond after their heartbreaking loss to Florida a couple weeks ago, and while they have been able to win their last two, they haven’t bee pretty. In the last two games, they have faced off against Eastern Michigan and Missouri at home and have won those games by a combined ten points. The Wildcats head into their bye week this week before facing the meat of their schedule which features Mississippi State, Georgia, and Louisville.
The magic finally ran out for Jim McElwain and his Florida Gators this past weekend against LSU. LSU took a 17-3 lead early in the third quarter before two Florida touchdowns trimmed the lead to 17-16, but a missed extra point would prove to be the difference as the Gators weren’t able to get into scoring position again. If you think about it, it is pretty impressive what McElwain has endured this season with the insane amount of suspensions, including star wide receiver Antonio Calloway. Unfortunately for Florida, they weren’t able to sneak away with a victory this time.
The biggest question for LSU after losing to Troy was, will they care the rest of the season? Well, they showed more than that, they showed how to fight. This game wasn’t pretty, but they went on the road to a hostile environment and pulled out a win despite not having a great game from Darius Guice. Unfortunately for LSU, they still have their work cut out for them with games against Auburn and Alabama over the next three weeks, but this was a step in the right direction.
5. Texas A&M
The Aggies came so close to shocking the country this past Saturday night. While A&M may have lost the game, they showed a resilience that we hadn’t seen all season from them. Early in the fourth, the Aggies had an opportunity to cut the Alabama lead to seven, but Kellen Mond’s pass was picked off in the end zone by Minkah Fitzpatrick. The biggest takeaway for me though was the Aggie defense. A&M was able to hold an Alabama offense that had combined for 125 points the past two games to just 27 points.
4. Mississippi State
The Bulldogs will face BYU coming off the much-needed bye week and will face a fairly light October that will feature games against BYU, Kentucky and Texas A&M. If the Bulldogs can win all three of these games, they could potentially end the season with nine wins, something that most people wouldn’t have thought was possible heading into the season.
Auburn dominated Ole Miss in a 44-23 victory where they ran for over 300 yards, and Kerryon Johnson eclipsed the 200 yard mark on the ground. Jarrett Stidham has also began to find his rhythm the last two weeks, which makes the Tigers that much more dangerous. Their explosive offense coupled with their elite defense makes this team a legit contender in the West.
Georgia has ran through everyone they’ve played the last three weeks and it hasn’t even been close. The Bulldogs have one of the fastest defenses in the country and a quarterback in Jake Fromm that perfectly compliments the Georgia offense. At this point in the season, it doesn’t appear anyone in the East is going to be able to stop Georgia, however the matchup between Auburn and Georgia in November should be a ton of fun to watch.
While the Tide may have looked beatable against A&M, they will remain number one until someone can actually beat them. Bama didn’t look like the same team that we have seen throughout the season, but it was still enough to go on the road in a hostile environment and win a game that was never truly in doubt. The only team that looks like could possibly beat Alabama in the regular season is their rivals to the East in Auburn. Each and every week that goes by, the Iron Bowl continues to look like the game that will decide the SEC West.