Alabama Team News

This week’s SEC power rankings, from 14th to 1st

Alabama

Welcome to our Monday List, our weekly ranking of the SEC’s 14 football teams.

Think of the rankings as a “right here, right now” thing. Instead of a snapshot of the whole season, the rankings instead reflect how each team is playing right now; thus, in some cases teams are ranked ahead of teams that beat them earlier in the season.

14. South Carolina (3-9)

Last week: L, 37-32 to Clemson. Next: Season over.
The buzz: The Gamecocks showed some fight against their archrival. This is the Gamecocks’ worst season since they went 0-11 in 1999, Lou Holtz’s first year at the school.

13. Kentucky (5-7)

Last week: L, 38-24 to Louisville. Next: Season over.
The buzz: If the season ended in early October, Mark Stoops would have a winning record. But it doesn’t and he doesn’t. UK started 5-1 last season and finished 5-7. UK started 4-1 this season and finished 5-7. Everyone together now: Next season is important for Stoops’ job security.

12. Missouri (5-7)

Last week: L, 28-3 at Arkansas. Next: Season likely over.
The buzz: There will be a handful of 5-7 teams in the postseason, and Mizzou has a shot because of its APR numbers. But, man, do Tigers fans want to see this offense trot out on the field one more time?

11. Vanderbilt (4-8)

Last week: L, 53-28 at Tennessee. Next: Season over.
The buzz: No question Vandy made big strides on defense, the last game notwithstanding. But until the Commodores get an offensive pulse, they will continue to be an SEC bottom-feeder.

10. Auburn (6-6)

Last week: L, 29-13 to Alabama. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: This was not a memorable season for the Tigers. There were high expectations but middling results.

9. Georgia (9-3)

Last week: W, 13-7 at Georgia Tech. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: The Mark Richt era — all but one game of it, anyway — ended with a sort of whimper as the Bulldogs eased past Georgia Tech. While the Bulldogs won nine times this season, the only team they’ve beaten with a winning record is Georgia Southern. Every other vanquished foe is .500 or worse.

8. Texas A&M (8-4)

Last week: L, 19-7 at LSU. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: When you make $5 million a year and you’ve lost 13 league games in three seasons, you can’t feel too comfortable. Kevin Sumlin very likely will be coaching for his job next season.

7. Florida (10-2)

Last week: L, 26-2 to Florida State. Next: Saturday, vs. Alabama in the SEC championship game.
The buzz: The defense is championship-worthy; the offense is awful — again. That Jim McElwain and his staff were able to coax 10 wins out of this group is amazing. But it seems a good bet the Gators are going to head into the offseason on a three-game losing streak. As for this Saturday’s game, if violence makes you squeamish, do not watch. It is going to be ugly.

6. Tennessee (8-4)

Last week: W, 53-28 over Vanderbilt. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: Ahh, that old Vols refrain is ringing out again: “You know, we really are the best team in the East.” That’s probably true. Alas, you can’t give up a last-minute TD to a division rival in September if you want to wear the crown in November.

5. LSU (8-3)

Last week: W, 19-7 over Texas A&M. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: The Tigers got some of their mojo back by shutting down Texas A&M in the regular-season finale. And Les Miles will be back. You know, it would be sort of weird not having “The Hat” in the SEC.

4. Arkansas (7-5)

Last week: W, 28-3 vs. Missouri. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: The Hogs have won five of their past six, with the only loss in that span by one point to Mississippi State when a “gimme” field goal instead was blocked. Still, there’s a big sense of “what if?” because of early losses to Toledo and Texas Tech.

3. Mississippi State (8-4)

Last week: L, 38-27 to Ole Miss. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: A defense that showed cracks all season fell apart in the Egg Bowl. Still, eight wins in the SEC West is an impressive total and a “good” bowl seemingly awaits.

2. Ole Miss (9-3)

Last week: W, 38-27 at Mississippi State. Next: Bowl game, TBA.
The buzz: At one point, the season appeared to be spiraling out of control. But the Rebels have won four of their last five and are a good bet to go to the Sugar Bowl. And if not for that wacky over-the-shoulder lateral against Arkansas, they would be playing for the SEC title this weekend.

1. Alabama (11-1)

Last week: W, 29-13 at Auburn. Next: Saturday, vs. Florida in SEC championship game.
The buzz: The Tide rode Derrick Henry to the Iron Bowl win over Auburn and it figures to ride him again Saturday against Florida. Then comes a playoff game.

(Follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)
(Feature photo by JOHN DAVID MERCER/USA TODAY SPORTS)

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