A thrilling and exciting weekend of SEC football led to some shakeups in this week’s SEC Power Rankings.
The 2021 college football season has consistently been thrilling and bizarre through the first six weeks. It’s been a blast to keep up with, but it’s also been incredibly difficult to keep track.
This past week was no different as we saw highly ranked teams fall and explosive offenses face off against each other. That theme was happening essentially all over the country, but it was definitely happening in the SEC.
Arkansas and Ole Miss played one of the most intriguing games of the season and I’m not sure enough people got to watch the fireworks that were going off in Oxford. And of course, what was quite probably the game of the year took place in College Station as Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies found a way to upend the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Here’s what that sort of thrilling fun did to the SEC power rankings:
SEC Power Rankings: Alabama tumbles after Texas A&M topples the Crimson Tide
Vanderbilt is likely to be stuck in this spot for the rest of the year. The Commodores couldn’t do anything to get any points against the Florida Gators and who knows if Clark Lea’s team will be able to get a win down the stretch of the season.
Shane Beamer’s South Carolina Gamecocks apparently didn’t stand a chance of even keeping the score close against the Tennessee Volunteers. The Gamecocks couldn’t even keep Tennessee from putting up four touchdowns in the first quarter and things spiraled from there. South Carolina is halfway to bowl eligibility and that should be the goal for Beamer at this point in the season. If he can get those extra bowl practices, his team will benefit heading into the offseason.
Alright, it’s time for a new coach, right LSU? Following their blowout loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, the Tigers have lost back-to-back games and are in a rough spot right now. After winning that national title at the end of the 2019 season, Ed Orgeron has gone 8-8 as the head coach of the LSU Tigers. There’s no real easy path to victory for LSU with the remainder of this season and the Tigers should be better than what they are.
The Missouri Tigers are a mess. Sure, Eliah Drinkwitz has a fun offense going on with Mizzou, but the Tigers defense will allow just about anyone to score a ton of points, including North Texas. No SEC team should be allowing 35 points to the Mean Green and that’s exactly what happened in Columbia this past weekend.
Well, it looks like Auburn is going to be an up and down team all season. A few weeks back, the Tigers looked good in a road contest against Penn State earlier in the season, but they looked completely out of their depth against Georgia this past weekend. Auburn getting blown out at home was not something I expected, but it was definitely an indicator that Harsin still has some work to do as he tries to elevate Auburn into a national title contender.
What a week for a bye week, huh? A week ago, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were able to succeed where Alabama failed. While Nick Saban’s team was unable to get a road win at Kyle Field, the Bulldogs beat Texas A&M in College Station. After five games, Mike Leach has Mississippi State tied for second in the SEC West and his team has a chance to truly introduce some chaos this week as the Bulldogs get set to host Alabama. The Crimson Tide are consistently great and there’s a very real chance that Saban takes out his frustrations on MSU, but Alabama has appeared vulnerable in road games at Florida and Texas A&M. Will Alabama fall victim to the Air Raid in Davis Wade Stadium this week?
It doesn’t matter when Arkansas and Ole Miss play, what either team is ranked heading into the game, or if either team is really any good, they always produce a fascinating game to watch when they meet up. Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks almost snagged an impressive road win against the Rebels and they’re so close to being such an impressive team. As last week’s loss to Georgia and this recent loss to Ole Miss demonstrated, the Razorbacks are still a work in progress. That said, Pittman and Arkansas have done a decent job of building a fun team in a short amount of time.
Josh Heupel hasn’t totally restored the Tennessee Volunteers just yet — it’s still really early into his time in Knoxville — but his offense has been a blast to watch, even if it is a little inconsistent depending on who is at quarterback. Hendon Hooker has shown that he’s the best option for the job, so the Vols should let him continue to rack up yards and points.
A week after losing against Mississippi State and appearing to be done for the season, Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M found some new life. All that money A&M is paying Fisher might just be worth it as the Aggies got the biggest win of the week (and almost certainly the season) when they took down Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide. Texas A&M still has some work to do, the Aggies are clearly an inconsistent team (check out their games against Colorado, Arkansas, and Mississippi State), but they looked brilliant against Alabama. After taking down the Crimson Tide, Zach Calzada and Texas A&M became a must-watch team for the rest of the season.
Dan Mullen may have been upset with how the Florida Gators looked in the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores, but he should be happy with how the game ended. Whether or not he actually is satisfied with how his team looks is another matter, though. The Gators looked good as they demolished the Commodores and they won 42-0. That’s the textbook sort of way to get back on track.
The Ole Miss Rebels are consistently fun to watch as they light up scoreboards seemingly each and every week. That wasn’t the case last week as Lane Kiffin’s team was stymied by Alabama, but the Rebels definitely bounced back against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Ole Miss still needs to find a defense to go with its brilliant offense, but an offense that can score as much as the Rebels’ can will carry a team a long way.
A few weeks back, Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide sure looked vulnerable on the road against the Florida Gators and this past weekend, things were even worse for Alabama. While Saban was able to guide his team past the Gators in the Swamp, Kyle Field proved to be a place that the Crimson Tide couldn’t escape with a win. Alabama has another road game this week with one of the most unpredictable teams in the country, Mike Leach’s Mississippi State Bulldogs. While Saban is a perfectionist and has assembled the most talented roster in the country in Tuscaloosa, it’ll be intriguing to see how the Crimson Tide respond to their emotional, exhausting loss when they go to Starkville and face MSU in Davis Wade Stadium.
Kentucky is one of the remaining unbeaten teams and is in the midst of a fascinating season. The Wildcats are fresh off a dominant home win over the LSU Tigers, which likely was enough to end Ed Orgeron’s time in Baton Rouge. But while Orgeron is struggling, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is thriving. He’s got his team in position to contend for the SEC East and we’ll find out just how good the Wildcats are when they battle the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend.
The Georgia Bulldogs were the biggest beneficiary of Alabama’s stumbles. While the Crimson Tide couldn’t take care of business on the road, Georgia was able to run right through the Auburn Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium. I’ve had some reservations about UGA given how J.T. Daniels has been in and out of the starting lineup, but Stetson Bennett isn’t having any issues leading the Bulldogs’ thrilling offense.