Here are our weekly SEC Power Rankings. They usually are released Monday, but because Tennessee played Monday night, we held them a day.
Knee-jerk reactions are a given after one game, but we tried our best to limit the – made-up word alert – knee-jerkiness.
14. Missouri (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 10th
The skinny: Oh, my goodness, the first-half “defense” against Missouri State was beyond-belief bad. And that was against a FCS team that had won five games in the past two seasons. Even though Mizzou won going away, you have to wonder what happens when a real, live FBS offense is on the field against that Tigers defense – like this week, against South Carolina.
13. Ole Miss (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 14th
The skinny: An impressive first outing for the offense. But there never was any question about that side of the ball. It’s always been the defense that has been the question and it was only so-so against South Alabama. Ole Miss will crush FCS opponent UT-Martin this week, but then comes an interesting trip to Cal.
12. Vanderbilt (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 13th
The skinny: Who needs Ralph Webb when you have Kyle Shurmur? (Raise your hand, Vandy fans, if you ever thought you’d read that.) But it’s true: For one week, at least, Shurmur carried the offense in a solid win at Middle Tennessee. Vandy has FCS opponent Alabama A&M this week; the last time the Commodores started 2-0 was 2011.
11. Kentucky (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 12th
The skinny: UK’s rushing attack couldn’t get untracked, but the Wildcats still won at Southern Miss because – wonder of wonders – the run defense was excellent. Is the run defense really that good? We probably won’t find out until September 16, against South Carolina.
10. Arkansas (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 9th
The skinny: Beating up on Florida A&M – which has averaged three wins over the past five seasons – is one thing. We’ll find out a lot more about the Hogs this week when TCU comes to town.
9. Mississippi State (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 8th
The skinny: The Bulldogs did what they were supposed to – they blasted a FCS opponent. Impressive, though, was the defensive effort that held Charleston Southern – a playoff team last season – to only 33 yards. Last season, remember, Mississippi State surrendered 627 yards to Samford, also a FCS playoff team in 2016.
8. South Carolina (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 11th
The skinny: The offense was shut down – just 246 total yards – but the Gamecocks were opportunistic and able to hold off NC State for an impressive season-opening win. WR Deebo Samuel had a huge game, and though the Gamecocks’ defense seemingly was on the field for 55 of the game’s 60 minutes (actually, it was 37), it did a lot of bending but not breaking. The Gamecocks have Mizzou and Kentucky in the next two weeks.
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