7. Texas A&M (0-1)
Preseason ranking: 6th
The skinny: Simply an epic collapse – and it seems likely it is the beginning of the end for Kevin Sumlin. John Chavis’ defense has been mediocre, at best, since he arrived as coordinator. Hey, you rush for almost 400 yards, score 44 points and you should win. To make things worse – if that is even possible – starting QB Nick Starkel and star S Donovan Wilson were hurt and may not return this season.
6. Florida (0-1)
Preseason ranking: 3rd
The skinny: Another miserable performance by the offense, which has been a problem since 2010. Florida has played 93 games this decade, and finished with fewer than 200 yards seven times (including Saturday’s beatdown at the hands of Michigan) and fewer than 300 yards 40 times. The offense better look good this week against FCS opponent Northern Colorado.
5. Tennessee (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 7th
The skinny: The Vols looked dispirited and lost into the third quarter Monday night. Then, as if a switch was flipped, they scored three TDs in the final 17 minutes to force overtime, then prevailed over Georgia Tech in the second extra period. But, my goodness, the run defense was rancid. UT had all offseason to prepare for Tech’s triple-option – and failed miserably at stopping it. But, hey, a win is a win.
4. LSU (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 5th
The skinny: Nothing fancy for the Tigers. They were more talented than BYU – and it showed. LSU’s defense was stifling. Offensively, there was a lot of running, but it worked.
3. Georgia (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 4th
The skinny: The offense still seems a work-in-progress, but the Bulldogs’ defense made sure the outcome never was in doubt against Appalachian State. True freshman QB Jake Fromm played solid football after coming on in relief of an injured Jacob Eason. This week, Fromm makes his first college start in that football cathedral known as Notre Dame Stadium. Yikes.
2. Auburn (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 2nd
The skinny: Jarrett Stidham didn’t wow anybody with his debut, which nevertheless was fine (185 yards, two TDs passing). But the rushing attack (even without a suspended Kamryn Pettway) was dominant and the defense shut down Georgia Southern’s offense (the Eagles managed just 78 total yards).
1. Alabama (1-0)
Preseason ranking: 1st
The skinny: The Tide’s offense sputtered most of the night, but a rebuilt defensive front seven and the special teams were dominant as Alabama cruised to a 17-point win over Florida State. The Tide welcomes in Mountain West Conference teams the next two weeks, which should enable coaches to do two things: continue refining the downfield passing attack and become more comfortable with the linebacker corps after the season-ending injuries to Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis.
(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)
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