Garnet and Black Attack is putting together an SEC Power Poll designed to give SEC bloggers a way to rank their fellow conference members based on who's playing the best ball regardless of their schedule or standings. He asked me to participate awhile back, and here's my week one ballot.
1. UGA - Handled an Oklahoma State team that was a fashionable pick to pull an upset (seems like that's happened before?), and answered a lot of Dawg's fans questions about their o-line (Play calling to minimize their inexperience's effect on the game? Check.) and receiving corp (only one dropped pass after a whole season of watching the cement handed UGA wideouts drop anything thrown their way? Check.), and looked sharp on defense, smothering a pretty potent offense and holding them scoreless in the second half.
2. LSU - I'm still tempted to list them at #1 since their talent level makes them the class of the conference on paper, but their sluggish start and generally poor performance against Mississippi State drops them to two. Fortunately, Va Tech also looked craptacular against ECU, so they'll have more time to prove their offensive prowess next weekend.
3. Florida - The Gators looked sluggish on defense in their opener, but they have plenty of offensive talent and no real test 'til the end of the month when Auburn comes to the Swamp.
4. Alabama - Homer pick? Maybe, but Terry Grant is everything we'd hoped for, the offense was methodical and efficient on Saturday, and the defense should be much improved after some weeklong adjustments.
5. Arkansas - A receiver didn't catch a pass until the 3rd quarter, and I suspect the loss of Haugaobook (sp?) for Troy was what finally tipped the scale towards the Hogs. McFadded and Jones proved why they are the best backfield in the nation, though.
6. Auburn - After doing everything possible to give their opener away, K State finally succeeded late in the 4th. Auburn was damn lucky to escape with a win after injury issues to the D and an O-line that peformed even worse than expected nearly sank them right out of the gate. The USF game is going to be interesting, to say the least.
7. Kentucky - Blew their 1AA cupcake out of the water, so they get the nod over SC who, as I'm sure you know, didn't.
8. South Carolina - I only caught a little of the replay on Sunday, but what should have been an improved D looked terrible against the run, and Cock fans better hope Blake Mitchell gets back on the field and stays there.
9. Vandy - Opening win against Richmond doesn't tell us much, but Earl Bennett scares the bejeezus out of me as the Tide heads to Nashville on Saturday.
10. Tennessee - Cal ran all over the Vols, and the next few weeks should be just as tough on the UT defense. This season could get ugly for Fulmer.
11. Ole Miss - Memphis handed that game to them with idiotic turnovers, a blocked punt returned for a TD, and a missed field goal, and they still almost lost late in the 4th.
12. Mississippi State - You know times are tough when the talking heads are pronouncing next week's match against Tulane a "must win."