SEC Football, Week 3 Power Rankings: Texas A&M impresses, Ole Miss fades

Sep 17, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) reacts after being sacked near the end zone during the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Alabama won 48-43. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) reacts after being sacked near the end zone during the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Alabama won 48-43. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /
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The SEC went 9-5 in Week 3 with only one loss out of conference. Here is a look at how dominant each SEC team looked in their Week 3 game on Saturday.

In an exciting Week 3 of college football with a handful of upsets, the SEC managed to go 9-5 on Saturday with only one loss out of conference. The SEC had eight of its 14 teams ranked in Week 3 and all eight will still be ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll for Week 4.

Every team in the SEC now has a win thanks to the Kentucky Wildcats putting up a ton of points on the New Mexico State Aggies in Lexington. There are six teams at a perfect 3-0, two teams at 2-1, and six with a 1-2 record through three weekends.

With four head-to-head SEC games in Week 3, let’s take a look to see how dominant all 14 SEC teams looked during their games on Saturday in this week’s SEC power rankings.


Vanderbilt struggled against the triple option attack of Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Commodores managed to only score seven points on the road in Atlanta while surrendering a whopping 38 in their blowout loss to the Yellow Jackets.

The passing game remains incompetent in Nashville for the Commodores. It is understandable to see a team not familiar with the triple option give up points in bunches on the ground. While Vanderbilt managed to keep Georgia Tech under 300 yards rushing, the Yellow Jackets exploited the Commodores through the air with 222 yards passing.

In what is a prove-it season for Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason, it’s going to be difficult for him to get the Commodores to 3-5 in SEC play. That is what is needed after a non-conference loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday. Vanderbilt’s easiest win in SEC play is already a loss to South Carolina in Week 1. This could be a rough year for the Commodores in Nashville.

Things are not looking good down on The Plains for the Auburn Tigers. Auburn is 1-2 on the year with two home losses. Head coach Gus Malzahn’s ‘hurry-up-and-run’ offense is not cutting it anymore in the SEC. Auburn is struggling to get into the end zone in 2016.

While new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has been a revelation for the Tigers, Malzahn, and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s up-tempo attack has become stale. The Tigers split quarterbacking reps between Sean White and John Franklin, III, but neither moved the ball down the field.

Auburn averaged a paltry 4.7 yards per passing attempt against No. 17 Texas A&M on Saturday night. The Tigers’ offense will remain stagnant if it can’t move the chains aerially to open up the run. Teams will stack the box and render Malzahn’s attack inert until then.

Though the Mississippi State Bulldogs fought admirably in Death Valley on Saturday night, Mississippi State enters Week 4 at 1-2 after a 23-20 loss in Baton Rouge to the No. 20 LSU Tigers.

Winning in Death Valley is incredibly difficult, so there are a lot of positive takeaways to be had with Mississippi State’s efforts on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. The Bulldogs actually shut out the Tigers 17-0 after halftime, but trailing LSU 23-3 after two quarters was too big of a deficit for Mississippi State to overcome.

The Bulldogs weren’t expected to win but definitely made things interesting in Baton Rouge on Saturday night. Though Mississippi State hasn’t been able to win close games yet in 2016, the Bulldogs will grow from this loss and should be a bowl caliber team at the end of the year. For now, Mississippi State is 1-2 on the year with its first SEC loss to rival LSU.

This could still be a very good football team, but Ole Miss enters Week 4 at 1-2 and barely in the AP Top 25 Poll at No. 23. The Rebels’ two losses on the season to Florida State and Alabama are nothing to be upset about, but Ole Miss is now almost certainly not making the College Football Playoff.

The Rebels’ issues in the early part of the season are two-fold: 1.) Quarterback Chad Kelly is a bit too erratic for Ole Miss to lean on in moments of crisis. He’s a big time playmaker, but will, unfortunately, turn the football over. 2). This team cannot play with a lead to save its life.

Ole Miss’ inability to keep their opponents down when leading will continue to prove costly for the Rebels going forward. The Rebels play great football in the first half but are proving to be a lousy defensive team in third and fourth quarters. This team is too talented to surrender whopping leads like this.

Though the Missouri Tigers enter Week 4 with a 1-2 record, there are plenty of positive takeaways for Barry Odom’s program in the early part of the season. The offense looks vastly improved under new offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. Sophomore quarterback Drew Lock is one of the best young passers in the SEC. Defensive end Charles Harris will be a top-10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Frankly, Missouri should have beaten the No. 16 Georgia Bulldogs at Faurot Field on Saturday night. Georgia had way too many issues on special teams to come out of Columbia with a win. However, Missouri just kept turning the football over to let the Bulldogs back in this one.

Missouri will learn from this game and should contend for bowl eligibility in 2016. The Tigers have a great defensive line, a nimble, dual-threat quarterback, and an innovative offensive mind. One does have to wonder if Odom’s head is swimming in his new role as a head coach.