The opening Saturday in October may have been beaten down with torrential amounts of rain in the Southeast, but there were still all kinds of fireworks across the SEC. From Alabama's dominating performance in Athens to Florida's stunning blowout of Ole Miss, there were some major shake-ups within the conference.
As a reminder: this power poll ballot cares not for overall record or transitive property. This is an assessment of each team's current standing within the hierarchy of the conference. Because of this reason, there may be some disagreements with the traditional polls.
Also, as always, the cumulative SEC Power Poll can be found over at Team Speed Kills.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide put on an old-fashioned butt-kicking that reminded the rest of the country (and themselves) of what Alabama football is all about. Dominate the point of attack on both sides of the line of scrimmage, play smothering defense, and set up the play-action pass by running the dang ball. One could argue that nobody in the country would have beaten Alabama playing the way they did Saturday.
2. LSU Tigers. LSU has won countless times before by imposing their will via pounding the rock over and over, but at some point, they do need to at least attempt to throw the football with some success. Brandon Harris went 4/15 for 80 yards and a pick. Against Eastern Michigan. Yikes. Outside of that one weakness though, LSU looks very good.
3. Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, the Dawgs got whipped this past Saturday, but this team is still the favorite in the SEC East. Florida's definitely looked the part of the challenger, but the Gators may be getting a slight bump from the "prisoner of the moment" perspective. Georgia's looked like an elite team most of the season. One game shouldn't reign supreme over all the others, right Ole Miss?
4. Florida Gators. How about the offensive revolution in Gainesville? Will Grier is continuing to improve and may soon be the best in the SEC at the quarterback position, Demarcus Robinson has been a legitimate #1 receiver, Brandon Powell adds serious explosiveness, and Jake McGee has been a great security blanket. Also, this offensive line has been extremely impressive relative to the large amount of inexperience they had coming into the season. Oh, yeah, and they do a pretty decent job of defending down there too. McElwain's got to keep his young team focused though, the trip to Columbia, MO has 'trap game' written all over it.
5. Texas A&M Aggies. Florida and Alabama were the big winners on Saturday, but A&M wasn't too far behind them. After beating a solid Mississippi State team at home, the Aggies got to sit back and watch Arizona State get a signature upset over a top ten UCLA squad. There is tons of speed and athleticism on this team, but the main question remains: are the Aggies tough enough along the line of scrimmage on either side? Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall have been awesome, but the defensive interior still needs work.
6. Ole Miss Rebels. It's almost as if the Rebels may have been somewhat fortunate to have escaped Tuscaloosa with a victory. No, never mind, that's a ridiculous claim. How dare anyone have that thought?
7. Mississippi State Bulldogs. Dan Mullen's squad represents the true dividing line for the conference right now. Solid, yet unspectacular, Dak Prescott should lead this team to around eight wins. They are good enough to avoid upsets to the lesser teams below them, but they just don't have the talent that the top half of the league has.
8. Kentucky Wildcats. The Cats are determined to keep every game this season close. Looking at what's remaining on the schedule, they could keep this trend going for a while.
9. Arkansas Razorbacks. Give Bielema and his team credit, they didn't let the early season struggles lead to a total collapse. The Hogs have played their best two games of the season the last two weeks, and they seem to have figured out whatever was ailing them in the run game early on.
10. Tennessee Volunteers. If college football games were only three quarters long, the Vols would be up in the top 5 of this poll.
11. Missouri Tigers. Mizzou may be 4-1, but ugly wins over Arkansas State, UConn, and South Carolina don't exactly move the needle for me. The defense once again looks strong, but the offense has been a mess. Drew Lock may actually be an upgrade to Maty Mauk though.
12. Auburn Tigers. Auburn has issues all over the field. Certain position groups will play well at times while others struggle, and then they will flip roles. That's the sign of a bad team. Now Duke Williams has been kicked off of the team too? Woof.
13. Vanderbilt Commodores. Don't look now, but Derek Mason is starting to form a bit of an identity at Vandy. The 'Dores absolutely dominated the ground game on both sides of the ball against Middle Tennessee, and being able to put together two nice touchdown drives late in order to come back and win shows that this team is ready for some W's.
14. South Carolina Gamecocks. This team is in real danger of having the bottom fall out from underneath them. The Gamecocks don't do anything well, but the quarterback situation is especially terrible. A couple of horrible passes from Lorenzo Nunez sealed their fate this past weekend.