After dealing with some personal stuff, I am back doing what I love best – writing about college football. We have already enjoyed three weeks of it, and we have learned a lot but still have a lot of unknowns.
My focus (as has been the case for a while) is on the Southeastern Conference. With that in mind, I am going to give you my power rankings for all the SEC teams as it stands now, talk about the conference’s coaching woes and give you my CFB playoff top four plus two teams looking in. Enjoy!
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0, 0-0)
No. 1 was not hard to choose at all. Nick Saban and Co. are the class of the conference yet again, and there is not even a close second. No, the Tide have not yet played a conference game as of yet, but beating Florida State (in dominating fashion) is the best victory any SEC team can boast about.
They will open up against an undefeated (not a typo) Vanderbilt team in Nashville this weekend to open SEC play for both teams. Alabama will not have a problem in this game.
2. Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0)
My goodness, have Mississippi State looked impressive or what? They might be the second-best team in the conference if they keep playing like they are now. Dan Mullen and his coaching staff have coached this team up, and they are playing unbelievably well.
While a lot of teams in the conference have struggled moving the football on offense, the Bulldogs certainly have not had that problem, as they put up 49 and 57 points (respectively) in the first two weeks of the season and beat LSU 37-7 in an upset heard ’round the college football world last weekend.
It definitely helps to have one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country in Nick Fitzgerald under center. He has established himself as an early Heisman contender in my opinion.
The defense is also solid, and Aeris Williams is the second-best running back in terms of rushing yards in the conference this year. Mississippi State has a tough challenge at Georgia this weekend, but regardless of that result, they still looked poised (as things stand now) to be the primary challenger to the Crimson Tide in the West.
3. Georgia Bulldogs (3-0, 0-0)
I am still not completely sold on this UGA team. Yes, they are 3-0 and should win the East this season, but I am not really sure how good second-year head coach Kirby Smart’s squad actually is. We will all know a lot more about this team Saturday night when they host the aforementioned Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Georgia’s offense has struggled to move the ball at times due in large part to a (still) suspect offensive line and having to start a true freshman quarterback in Jake Fromm over the injured Jacob Eason. (Eason has technically not been ruled out for this weekend, but it would be a long shot for him to come back.) Georgia’s defense is really good this season. That much is clear. Will they be able to stop Fitzgerald on Saturday? They better.
4. LSU Tigers (2-1, 0-1)
I know the Tigers are reeling from their blowout loss at the hands of Mississippi State last Saturday, but I really believe LSU will get things turned around. Are they that good of a team? I do not think so, but most of the other teams in the conference and particularly the West are in fact worse. The Tigers still have a lot of talent (particularly on defense and a guy named Derrius Guice) and should be able to take care of most teams on their schedule.
5. Kentucky Wildcats (3-0, 1-0)
It was hard to choose between Kentucky and Vanderbilt for this spot, but I am giving the Wildcats the edge here since they have an SEC win. Kentucky did not look extremely impressive against inferior competition in the first two weeks of the season but had a huge performance on Saturday as they travelled to Columbia, S.C. and beat Jake Bentley and the South Carolina Gamecocks for the fourth-straight season.
I will be the first one to tell you I did not see this coming. I will admit I thought the Wildcats would finish as the worst team in the East, but I was wrong. There is still a long season left, but Kentucky has a lot of momentum at this point in time. They have a huge opportunity this Saturday as they host a Florida team that is the worst it has been in a while in my opinion. Will the 30-year losing streak be broken? We will see.
6. Vanderbilt Commodores (3-0, 0-0)
7. South Carolina Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1)
8. Auburn Tigers (2-1, 0-0)
9. Florida Gators (1-1, 0-1)
10. Tennessee Volunteers (2-1, 0-1)
11. Texas A&M Aggies (2-1, 0-0)
12. Ole Miss Rebels (2-1, 0-0)
13. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-1, 0-0)
14. Missouri Tigers (1-2, 1-1)
Now, let us get into our second topic. The SEC looks horrible so far this season. No, it is not due to a lack of talent. SEC teams do well in recruiting. The coaching is terrible particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
I have said that before, and it has proven true yet again this year. Which fanbases (majority) besides Alabama, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and possibly Georgia are feeling very confident in their coach right now? Zero. Kevin Sumlin and Butch Jones deserved to be fired before this season is over. Bret Beleima should not even still be at Arkansas right now. There is no doubt. Jim McElwain and Gus Malzahn are not making things any easier on themselves either.
(Speaking of Butch Jones, I had to include the ending to the Volunteers’ game this past Saturday that included this incredible finish. Tennessee should have easily won that game if their head coach had any competence whatsoever.)
Honestly, half of the SEC teams or more need to just call it quits and get new head coaches. It is that simple. Until, the quality of coaching in the SEC improves, the conference will continue on a downhill trajectory.
Anyway, before I go, here are my college football playoff top four teams with two teams on the cusp.
- Penn State
Next Two: USC and Oklahoma State
That is all folks. Come back later this week for my SEC and college football predictions for this Saturday.