Monday, September 3, 2012
SEC Power Rankings: Week One
With a resounding defeat of Michigan Saturday night in Dallas, Alabama retains the top spot in our power rankings. They looked sharp especially in the running game and on defense rushing for 232 yards and holding Michigan to just 14 points. Denard Robinson was held in check for most of the night and Alabama freshman T.J. Yeldon ran for 111 yards.
Zach Mettenberger took a shot in the early portion of the game which caused him to miss some plays in a 41-14 victory over North Texas, but he did return and looked okay. The rushing game was on point Saturday with running backs Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue each topping 100 yards, helping the Tigers jump out to an early lead. I saw no reason to move them from the #2 spot in the rankings based on what they did this weekend.
Georgia clearly missed their 4 suspended defensive players on Saturday, leading only 24-16 over the Buffalo Bulls at halftime but looked better after the half. Freshman RB Todd Gurley looked to be a fine replacement for dismissed Isaiah Crowell rushing for 100 yards and returning a kick 100 yards for a score. We will know much more about Georgia after next weekend and a game against SEC newcomer Missouri.
Arkansas' defense looked to be their biggest flaw allowing a 14-7 lead early against Jacksonville State and 21 first half points. The offense showed why Tyler Wilson is a Heisman contender, however. He went 19 of 27 passing for 327 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-24 win. The defense is going to have to be much better in SEC play.
The Vols deserve a top 5 ranking after week one and a 35-21 victory over a North Carolina State team many had picked to challenge for the ACC title. The game was not as close as the score. Tennessee had another TD stolen from them when replay officials decided not to overturn a fumble at the goal line which clearly was across the goal line. Cordarrelle Patterson scored twice, once on a deep pass from Tyler Bray over David Amerson, the much heralded corner for NC State and on an end around play which went 67 yards.
Though Florida looked piss-poor on offense and at times defensively against Bowling Green. Muschamp swapped QBs for most of the first half before settling on Jeff Driskel who played the entire second half. The downhill running game looked good as Senior running back Mike Gilleslie carried the ball 24 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. That was really the brightest spot on a team that may be headed for a downward slide on this list. Texas A&M will give Florida a better test.
Auburn lost their opener in a hotly contested game against Clemson in the Georgia Dome, but they did show improvement over last season. I think they'll fare much better in SEC play.
#8 South Carolina
South Carolina looked one-dimensional on offense vs. Vandy. Their defense also was not able to get critical stops to shut the Commodores down. They may be better and Vandy is just that good. Remains to be seen.
Mizzu could climb on this list after next week with a good showing against Georgia at home. They looked good in the opener winning 62-10 over SE Louisiana.
Vandy looked explosive at times on offense though they will likely struggle to rush the passer this year. They nearly upset South Carolina who had no business being ranked in the top 10.
#11 Texas A&M
A&M had their game vs. Louisiana Tech cancelled due to hurricane Isaac. They open at home against Florida this weekend.
#12 Mississippi State
MSU will open the SEC against Auburn this weekend. They have not won a conference opener since 1999.
Good news if you're a Kentucky fan is that the offense looked improved over last year. They will not beat anyone playing as poorly on defense as they did vs. Louisville.
#14 Ole Miss
Although they won their opener, it was a cupcake and really tells us little about what kind of season Ole Miss is going to have. I think they will struggle to win an SEC game.