There were two major battles that shaped this past weekend, as the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled over the Texas A&M Aggies and the LSU Tigers beat the Florida Gators in vintage Les Miles fashion. With those results in the books, the pecking order at the top of the conference is actually pretty stable. And with the Georgia Bulldogs (barely) taking care of business between the hedges, the SEC has found itself in a pretty cut-and-dry situation. In two weeks, Florida and Georgia will have their annual showdown in Jacksonville, with the SEC East once again on the line. A week later, Alabama and LSU will meet back up for yet another epic installment of the Saban-Miles saga with the SEC West in the balance. Barring improved play from Ole Miss or Texas A&M, the winner of that November 7th match-up will likely find itself in Atlanta taking on the winner of the World's Largest Outdoor "I Swear It's Just Orange Juice, NCAA Compliance Officer" Party.
Of course now that this has been established, fully expect to see Arkansas somehow end up playing Tennessee in Atlanta. Never tempt the muses of college football chaos. As always, the composite rankings can be found at Team Speed Kills.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide. Most people will likely have LSU ranked here, and they certainly have a great argument. There's just no reason to drop Alabama a spot after the impressive performance in Kyle Field Saturday, though. Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies really should apologize for that 2012 game at some point, because Saban and Smart have clearly made a point to totally smother the A&M offense recently. The Aggies HUNH Air Raid attack that was supposed to end Saban's reign in the West has scored a grand total of one touchdown in the last two games against the Tide.
2. LSU Tigers. This LSU team has vintage Les Miles written all over it, and that is a scary thought for everybody who doesn't call Louisiana home. Brandon Harris played by far his best game in a LSU uniform against a very good Florida defense, and if he can keep that up, good luck trying to slow this offense down.
3. Florida Gators. The Gators may have suffered a tough set-back on Saturday night, but this team has shown that it is still top-ten quality. Going on the road to Death Valley is always a tall task, and doing so with your back-up quarterback is even more daunting, but Jim McElwain's crew showed well. The bye week comes at a perfect time for this young team to regroup.
4. Texas A&M Aggies. Alabama was out to prove a point in College Station on Saturday, and that's just not a battle a young team like A&M is going to win. The defensive improvements in this team are obvious though, and the Aggies should only be underdogs once more this season. The offensive line has got to get better, but Kyle Allen will bounce back, and the receiving corps is phenomenal.
5. Mississippi State Bulldogs. No, State definitely doesn't feel like a top five team in the conference, and they likely won't end up here. But consider this: the Bulldogs' only losses are close defeats at Texas A&M and against LSU at home. Those two teams aren't too shabby. Besides that, Dan Mullen's squad just keeps winning. Dak Prescott somehow went from being a bit over-hyped to suddenly underrated again.
6. Georgia Bulldogs. Mark Richt's team really didn't inspire a ton of confidence in their ugly win over Mizzou, but hey, at least they won this week. Right, Ole Miss?
7. Ole Miss Rebels. That win over Alabama was definitely not aided by an incredible amount of good bounces. Nope, not at all.
8. Arkansas Razorbacks. A nice bye week sets the stage for a crucial home battle with Auburn this Saturday. The Hogs look like they could be ready to start off another late season run.
9. Tennessee Volunteers. This young team finally pulled off the major win that's been eluding this talented bunch a couple of weeks ago, but are they ready to take on the Tide in Tuscaloosa? The Vols have plenty of talented players littered throughout the depth chart, but they've had issues getting them all on the same page at times.
10. Auburn Tigers. It's hard to read too much into the tricky game in Lexington last Thursday, but Auburn definitely looked like it played it's best game of the season. Sean White still has a lot of developing to do, but he doesn't hurt them the way Jeremy Johnson did, and that indicates progress. Will Muschamp still has a ways to go with this defense.
11. Kentucky Wildcats. Mark Stoops' bunch has plenty of more opportunities to pick up some marquee victories for this program, but they really missed out on a chance to announce themselves as players in the East race. This is a young offense with a new playcaller, and it showed on that final drive.
12. Missouri Tigers. Mizzou's defense continues to be very, very good. The offense continues to be very, very bad. The poor play by the offensive line has been particularly surprising, as this unit had a lot of experience and past success prior to this year. This week's game with Vandy could invoke images of the infamous 3-2 Auburn-Mississippi State game.
13. South Carolina Gamecocks. In a tribute to the Ole Ball Coach himself, the Gamecocks refused to let Vanderbilt place ahead of them in the power rankings this week. Unfortunately, this is still a bad football team.
14. Vanderbilt Commodores. This is why Vandy can't have nice things like a bump up to the #13 spot in the power rankings.