SEC power rankings, Week 5: Florida makes a statement, LSU plummets, Texas A&M underwhelms

Kyle Pitts, Florida football (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Kyle Pitts, Florida football (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The SEC power rankings are already being shaken up after one game with reigning champion LSU losing and Florida making a strong opening statement.

College football truly got underway on Saturday as the Week 4 slate hosted the return of SEC football. And for all of the fans excited to see the most high-profile conference in the country back on the field, they were treated to a phenomenally entertaining showing from the 14 teams playing where it “just means more”.

The biggest shock of the day in the SEC, of course, came as the reigning National Champions, the LSU Tigers, were knocked off by Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. There were some worries about the Tigers entering the year and they all came to fruition against the Air-Raid offense as they start the season at 0-1.

While many of the other favorites in the SEC took care of business, the most impressive performance came from the Florida Gators. In an offensive shootout, Dan Mullen’s team showed more firepower than ever before as they earned a victory in the season-opener.

It’s only been one week, so things are obviously going to get shaken up over the remaining nine for every team in the regular season. But these are the SEC power rankings with the first game now in the books.

844. . 0-1. Previous: 13th. Razorbacks . 14. team

Week 4 Result: Loss vs. Georgia, 37-10 | Week 5 Opponent: at Mississippi State

Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks hung around early against Georgia, which was highly unexpected. Arkansas actually took a 7-5 lead into halftime behind a strong defensive performance in the first two quarters. But that was ultimately shortlived.

After getting outscored 22-3 by the Bulldogs once a quarterback change was made, Feleipe Franks and the offense in addition to the defense had no answers. This was expected to be one of the worst teams in the conference and the fact that they got so thoroughly dominated once UGA righted the offensive ship spoke to that emphatically.

team. 822. . 0-1. Previous: 11th. Tigers . 13

Week 4 Result: Loss vs. Alabama, 38-19 | Week 5 Opponent: at Tennessee

When you look at the result for Eli Drinkwitz’s Missouri Tigers and see that they lost to Alabama by fewer than 20 points, you might consider that a moral victory. The final score, however, is misleading in a major way. The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 28-3 lead before halftime and socred right out fo the gate in the second half to make it 35-3. Shawn Robinson and the Missouri offense may have some moments this year but the roster as a whole isn’t remotely ready to compete in the SEC.

Commodores . 12. team. 887. . 0-1. Previous: 14th

Week 4 Result: Loss to Texas A&M, 17-12 | Week 5 Opponent: vs. LSU

For anyone thinking that Vandy was going to be a trainwreck this season, they were sorely mistaken to see the Commodores take the No. 10 team in the country down to the wire in a gritty affair. But now the question becomes what to make of this for Derek Mason’s team. Is this a sign that they’re better or that Texas A&M has a lot to fix.

The answer is probably somewhere in-between but closer to the latter. Ken Seals gives the ‘Dores some hope as a young quarterback but, overall, Vanderbilt will likely still be a bottom-feeder in the conference standings.

850. . 0-1. Previous: 12th. Gamecocks . 11. team

Week 4 Result: Loss to Tennessee, 31-27 | Week 5 Opponent: at Florida

There was no shortage of people who had the Gamecocks, playing in Columbia on Saturday, as one of the most likely candidates in the SEC to pull off a season-opening upset. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as the defense couldn’t contain the Vols offense, nor could the South Carolina attack find enough answers late.

Will Muschamp is going to have his team be competitive in many games this year but expect a lot of similar results to this one. They’ll fight and make things interesting but the Gamecocks lack the next gear to truly compete in the conference.

team. 817. . 0-1. Previous: 6th. Tigers . 10

Week 4 Result: Loss to Mississippi State, 44-34 | Week 5 Opponent: at Vanderbilt

This was the realization of the worst fears for every LSU fan throughout the country. Perhaps the one player the Tigers could hang their hat on as a returning starter was Derek Stingley Jr. and he was ruled out for this game with an illness. And it all showed. LSU allowed 632 yards of total offense and had zero answers for the Mississippi State Air-Raid under Mike Leach. And while Myles Brennan was admirable outside of two picks, no rushing attack and simply being a step below last year should have everyone in Baton Rouge worried about what this 2020 campaign is going to look like.

. 0-1. Previous: 9th. Wildcats . 9. team. 833

Week 4 Result: Loss to Auburn, 29-13 | Week 5 Opponent: vs. Ole Miss

It should be noted that the final score is at least slightly misleading as Mark Stoops’ Kentucky team was highly competitive with Auburn for 45 minutes, trailing by just two points entering the final frame. Two quick touchdowns sealed their fate but Terry Wilson and this defense clearly can compete with the best of the conference.

How well can they compete? That remains a viable question as they may lack the upside of some teams in the conference. But the Week 5 matchup against the Rebels and an explosive offense should give us a better idea in that capacity.

team. 841. . 0-1. Previous: 8th. Rebels . 8

Week 4 Result: Loss to Florida, 51-35 | Week 5 Opponent: at Kentucky

We all knew that the Rebels defense was going to be an issue in the 2020 season as they don’t have the personnel on the roster to compete against SEC-caliber athletes on the other side of the ball. But for Ole Miss to be competitive in the first season under Lane Kiffin, they needed to showcase an explosive offense. Even in a loss to Florida, mission accomplished. Matt Corral led the offense beautifully and the weapons are all in place. The defense will indeed be an issue but you’ll still have to keep up with a barrage of points when the Rebs are on the field.

Previous: 4th. Aggies . 7. team. 873. . 1-0

Week 4 Result: Win over Vanderbilt, 17-12 | Week 5 Opponent: at Alabama

No winner in the first week of SEC play was as unimpressive as Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies. Kellen Mond was pedestrian, which has often been a struggle for him and, outside of some big plays from Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M couldn’t consistently move the ball. And that all amounted to a five-point win over a Vandy team that many have projected to finish at the bottom of the SEC standings this season.

If Texas A&M doesn’t want another year in which they fall well short of expectations, Mond and the Aggies are going to have to turn things around quickly — especially with Alabama looming next on the schedule.

1-0. Previous: 7th. Volunteers . 6. team. 839.

Week 4 Result: Win over South Carolina, 31-27 | Week 5 Opponent: vs. Missouri

Make no mistake, Tennessee is a flawed team, which is why they escaped their road opener with only a four-point win. But Jeremy Pruitt’s squad also flashed their potential and why many people are high on this being the year the Vols truly make a leap.

Jarrett Guarantano remains a concern but the Volunteer defense looked downright scary at times, just inexperienced in other moments. As the year goes on, this team can control games in the trenches and with splash plays on defense, which is a recipe to win a lot of games, even in an all-SEC season.

Previous: 10th. Bulldogs . 5. team. 893. . 1-0

Week 4 Result: Win over LSU, 44-34 | Week 5 Opponent: vs. Arkansas

If there was one thing that was going to stop LSU from being upset, it was Leach’s offense not being an immediate fit for K.J. Costello and the Mississippi State offense and the defense simply being abysmal. Neither of those was a concern as the quarterback lit up the Tigers and the Bulldogs picked up an impressive win.

Make no mistake, the defense in Starkville leaves a lot to be desired. But if this is what the Air-Raid is going to look like in the SEC with Costello slinging it, Leach’s new program is going to make serious noise.

Previous: 5th. Tigers . 4. team. 842. . 1-0

Week 4 Result: Win over Kentucky, 29-13 | Week 5 Opponent: at Georgia

Auburn played a ranked opponent in their season-opener and Bo Nix and his team took care of business. The Tigers defense, about which there was some concern, played well against Kentucky to limit them to only 13 points and forcing three turnovers. Meanwhile, Nix and Seth Williams connected enough to get the winning number on the scoreboard. Having said that, Kentucky is not an elite team and they pushed NIx and Auburn for three quarters. Now going on the road to Athens, we’ll learn a lot about the quarterback’s progression and how good the Tigers are.

team. 814. . 1-0. Previous: 2nd. Bulldogs . 3

Week 4 Result: Win over Arkansas, 37-10 | Week 5 Opponent: vs. Auburn

Disaster looked to be in order for the Bulldogs as starting quarterback D’Wan Mathis looked completely out of his depth and Georgia was down 7-5 heading into halftime against an Arkansas team deemed one of the worst groups in the conference. But once Stetson Bennett took over in the second half, the Dawgs stabilized and ran away with it.

Georgia simply needs stable quarterback play to be great. Mathis clearly wasn’t the guy for that. Bennett looked like it, though — a signal-caller who can manage a game and let the run game and defense dominate while making some throws. We’ll see if that remains against Auburn but the adjustment on the fly might’ve been an early save for the Georgia season.

840. . 1-0. Previous: 3rd. Gators . 2. team

Week 4 Result: Win over Ole Miss, 51-35 | Week 5 Opponent: vs. South Carolina

If you were fishing for an upset on Saturday, you might’ve looked to Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss taking their offense to an inexperienced Florida defense. And to be sure, the Gators gave up 35 points and over 600 yards of offense. But the Gators move up in these SEC power rankings because they showed they are a team built to play at that pace if they need to.

Kyle Trask lived up to the billing in game one as the next-big-thing in Gainesville while Kyle Pitts looked impossible to cover. If this offense is going to look like that and the defense improves throughout the year, there aren’t many teams in the conference and country that will be able to beat UF.

1. team. 829. . 1-0. Previous: 1st. Crimson Tide

Week 4 Result: Win over Missouri, 38-19 | Week 5 Opponent: vs. Texas A&M

As mentioned, the final score for Alabama’s victory isn’t indicative of how dominant Nick Saban’s team was on Saturday night. The Tide moved the ball at will on offense and, in the meantime, were dominant when it mattered on the other side of the ball. Yes, they took their foot off the gas but, even then, the Tigers didn’t make it all that close.

Texas A&M should be a more substantial test for Bama in Week 5 but, then again, the Aggies will need to look better than they did in the opener for that to be the case.

Next. Heisman rankings after Week 4. dark

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