With the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers both taking the week off to prepare for their annual war, most would assume that the SEC would finally take a week off itself. Those people would be wrong, as a pair of exciting games capped off another fun week in the country’s best conference. Chad Kelly channeled his inner-2013 Johnny Manziel as he attempted (and failed) to will his team to a win over the red-hot Auburn Tigers, while the South Carolina Gamecocks dealt a crushing blow to Butch Jones’ career in Knoxville with a stunning 24-21 win in Columbia.
Here is this week’s poll:
- Alabama Crimson Tide. Since I took over in 2014 as your humble guide to this wonderful adventure known as the SEC football season, no team has gone wire-to-wire at the top spot. With two true tests left, the 2016 edition of the Tide is close to accomplishing this remarkable feat.
- Auburn Tigers. Auburn’s defense was finally over-powered for the first time this season, but the offense more than picked up the slack as they continue to roll over opposing teams. In a year where college football fans have been robbed of getting to see much of Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb because of injuries, it’s been a delight to see big Kamryn Pettway maul defenders the way he does (provided that he cuts that out come Thanksgiving weekend, of course).
- LSU Tigers. Les Miles lost his last five games against Alabama, can Ed Orgeron turn it around? The Tide have snatched victories from the jaws of defeat their last two visits to Baton Rouge, and this LSU team is playing fast and loose.
- Texas A&M Aggies. A&M emptied the bench early in their beat-down of their fellow Aggies from New Mexico State.
- Florida Gators. Elite defense, bad offense. Kings of the East.
- Arkansas Razorbacks. Another bye week team.
- Ole Miss Rebels. The Rebels are trying to give 2014 Arkansas a real run for their money at the title of “Greatest 6-6 Team Ever”. Kelly and that passing attack is awesome, and a blast to watch, but that simply won’t be enough to overcome their plethora of issues. Not against this schedule, at least. This team would still probably win the East though.
- Tennessee Volunteers. lolololololololololol
- Georgia Bulldogs. This is easily one of the least inspiring Georgia teams in quite some time. At least last year’s group had a legitimate top-15 defense. The offensive line may be the most disappointing unit in the conference, as they have struggled to open up enough holes for Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to make much noise on the ground. Which has in turn forced their true freshman quarterback to make plays with a depleted receiving corps. It’s not been a good start for Kirby Smart.
- Kentucky Wildcats. Any of the RBR faithful questioning the Wildcats’ improved play now? This team isn’t a top-25 unit or anything, but they’ve been playing decent football since they ditched the failed Air Raid ideology and started pounding the football with their explosive running backs. Boom Williams and Jojo Kemp were already a pretty solid duo, but the emergence of freshman Benny Snell has taken this rushing attack to the next level. Also, Stephen Johnson has put together a few strong performances in a row at quarterback.
- South Carolina Gamecocks. Speaking of emerging true freshmen, how about quarterback Jake Bentley and running back Rico Dowdle at South Carolina? Their competent play on offense has given the Gamecocks some life on that side of the ball. Meanwhile, Will Muschamp is slowly but surely starting to shape this defense into his famous brand. They are playing very similarly to how Auburn’s defense did in the latter portion of last season, minus the raw talent. Kentucky and South Carolina are both looking at likely bowl berths, how about that?
- Mississippi State Bulldogs. Survived a shootout with Samford. Yay?
- Vanderbilt Commodores. The ‘Dores spent their off week coming up with a game-plan to extend their overall series winning margin over Auburn on Saturday.
- Missouri Tigers. The Missouri athletic department is a black hole right now. Worst in the conference in football, worst in the conference in basketball, and a yearly contender for worst in baseball. Yikes.