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Saturday SEC Impressions/Rankings: Peeking Around the Bye Week

Auburn was off, what about everyone else?

Florida vs Georgia Photo by Hannah White/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

What’d you guys get up to yesterday? Head outside? Enjoy the weather? Same here. Auburn had its lone bye week of the season yesterday before finishing up the final four games of the regular season. The Tigers are up to 4-2 at this point after the huge win over LSU on Halloween, and they’ll certainly be favored over a Mississippi State team that’s done nothing but get worse each week since beating LSU.

There were some very interesting results around the country this weekend, however, so let’s get the highlights of the rankings and a rundown of what happened around the SEC.

Unfortunately, Alabama is back atop the standings after Clemson lost in double overtime to Notre Dame last night, so here’s your new top ten:

  1. Alabama
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Ohio State
  4. Clemson
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Florida
  7. Cincinnati
  8. BYU
  9. Miami
  10. Indiana

That’s... an interesting top ten. Indiana?? After three weeks? BYU? They haven’t played a single Power Five team this season. Texas A&M has only the loss to Alabama, but they might be the most unassuming top five team you could imagine.

Other SEC teams in the rankings include Georgia at #12, and Auburn still at #24 after the off week. Let’s get some thoughts on the conference as a whole.

ALABAMA: Off this week, the Tide are now the top-ranked team in the country, and they’ve already played what many think is the toughest test on their schedule in Georgia, despite the fact that Georgia hasn’t beaten them since Nick Saban’s first season, and definitely not when it matters. Running back Trey Sanders got hurt in a car crash and is probably out for the year, so depth takes a hit, but they’re still the best team in the league.

ARKANSAS: Arkansas fans are torn between saying that Chad Morris is the reason they sucked for the past couple of years, and saying that he brought in the players that are currently performing well. The Hogs put up a 24-0 third quarter yesterday against Tennessee, and that was all they’d need. Arkansas is now 3-3 after a surprisingly efficient day from Feleipe Franks, who threw for 3 touchdowns.

AUBURN: Off this week, but looking good. The win over LSU is super satisfying, and up next it’s the two teams struggling the most in Mississippi State and Tennessee. Win those and you’re 6-2 heading into the Iron Bowl. Not bad.

FLORIDA: Ok, they looked fast. Made Georgia look slow and dull. Kyle Trask made up for Kyles everywhere and threw for more than 300 yards in the first half on the way to 38 Gator points, and they cruised from there. Now, they’re in the East driver’s seat and suddenly have a clear path to the College Football Playoff, unlike...

GEORGIA: These guys no longer have a clear path to the Playoff, let alone the SEC Championship Game. For the proximity to meaningful accomplishments that Kirby has achieved, Georgia has little in the trophy case to show for it. Now, they’re going to likely miss the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2016, and Kirby’s glaringly poor quarterback management is super apparent now with the way that Justin Fields is playing at the moment at Ohio State. Kirby’s record is worse than Mark Richt’s at this point in their respective careers, and now he’s going to be missing games in Atlanta. That’s how a championship-starved Georgia fanbase turns on you.

KENTUCKY: Off this week, they’ll get a chance to bounce back under the quarterback leadership of Joey Gatewood next Saturday against Vanderbilt, so they’ll likely get a victory. Gatewood clearly wasn’t trusted to let ‘er rip last weekend, so Auburn fans have to feel good about Gus’ quarterback decision at the beginning of 2019.

LSU: Off this week, but oh boy, where do you go from here? LSU currently sits at 2-3, and what’s next? Oh brother, they get Alabama at home. Now, Death Valley is the kind of spot where weird things tend to happen, especially at night, but not with the way this Tiger team is playing. They’re... awful. And right now, this season may completely fall apart. Alabama is a sure loss, then they have to go to Arkansas, who’s getting better by the week. Then it’s at Texas A&M before returning home to take on an Ole Miss team that’s just drooling at the pass defense they’ve seen from LSU. Ah, yes, then you finish at Florida. That’s three top six teams left in the final five games, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that LSU ends up 2-8 at the end of this one. What an encore from a national championship. Worth it, though.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: This team is terrible. They managed to outlast Vanderbilt and hold on despite a second-half Commodore comeback, but they seemed to somehow get worse in the process. Will Rogers threw for 226 yards on 35 completions. Mississippi State ran for... wait for it, NEGATIVE 22 yards. Vanderbilt’s quarterback Kenny Seals hit the 300-yard mark on them through the air. We’re going to likely be a 20-point favorite, and you’ll need to bet the Tigers with every penny.

MISSOURI: Off this week, but they host Georgia on Saturday at noon. Man, that’s a sneaky spot. With what Georgia has been up to lately, and with the way that Missouri can score, watch out if the Tigers happen to get up by a couple of scores somehow. Yeah, Georgia’s defense is great, but a big play or two could really put Kirby on roller skates. You’d hate to see it.

OLE MISS: Off this week, but they’ll get to play the boring version of themselves next weekend when South Carolina comes to town. It’s a battle of former coordinators now turned head coaches with Kiffin vs Muschamp, but I have to think that Ole Miss blows them out of the water unless Matt Corral has another Hyde performance with a myriad of picks.

SOUTH CAROLINA: When we look back at this season, we’ll chalk up the Auburn loss to South Carolina as a true 2020 moment. Since that time they’ve given up 100 points to LSU and Texas A&M combined. Yesterday was a listless effort that had message boards wondering if Hugh Freeze was en route to Columbia to pull Muschamp’s chair out from under him and start paying Chicago recruits to come play for the Gamecocks. 48-3 to Texas A&M. What a loss. They’re 2-4, and we’re one of the two. Gross.

TENNESSEE: Is Jeremy Pruitt in trouble? Tennessee had the top winning streak in the country early on this year, and now they’ve lost four straight games since leading Georgia at halftime a few weeks ago. Yesterday they got up 13-0 over Arkansas and then died, letting the Hogs roll over them in the third quarter for the win. Pruitt still sticks with Jarrett Guarantano for some reason, but he doesn’t have anyone better. For all of the tricks he learned working with Saban and Jimbo, you’d think that this guy would be able to grab a better quarterback.

TEXAS A&M: I don’t really know what to make of this team. I’ve seen them get absolutely blasted in Tuscaloosa, and I’ve seen them do the same thing to some other teams. They’re somehow in the top five, but that could be a function of people not believing in more than four good teams (Bama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame) and just sticking the Aggies there for fun. Kellen Mond looks... good? The run game is... decent? The defense... tough? Maybe they are good. They play Tennessee next weekend, so it’s likely another win for Jimbo and another bit of frustration for Pruitt.

VANDERBILT: They play hard and get exercise/fresh air, that’s for sure. Not much more than that. Won’t win a game this year.