Things are never stagnant in college football, especially not in the country’s premier conference. After another amazing weekend of major clashes in the SEC West, there has been a bit of chaos in the previously established tiers within the conference. Alabama is still king, but a couple of suddenly scary rivals have now positioned themselves to try and take the throne.
To this week’s poll:
- Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama welcomed the previously undefeated #6 Texas A&M Aggies to Tuscaloosa this past Saturday and treated them like a middle-of-the-road conference foe. A&M led 14-13 early in the third quarter, but that was not indicative of the nature of the game. The truth is, outside of two quick drives by the Aggies, Alabama dominated. Of course, after that performance, there has been nothing but high praise and bitter indignation heaped upon this team, but there are two reasons why the Tide can’t let that outside noise affect them.
- Auburn Tigers. Here is reason number one. The RBR readership is going to hate to hear this, but I have never seen Auburn whip a quality team like Arkansas the way they did Saturday night. They straight-up mauled the Razorbacks in every facet of the game. Gus Malzahn has the offense clicking, and, despite everyone’s assumption that Kevin Steele would inevitably screw it up, the defense is legitimately one of the best in the country. Kamryn Pettway has been the major difference-maker between the tackles, but the Tigers have found the right balance throughout the offense. By getting the ball out to the perimeter with talents like Stanton Truitt and Kerryon Johnson and allowing Sean White to deliver accurate throws on easy reads, Auburn has suddenly reemerged as an offensive force. It’s hard to believe after the Tigers’ start to the season, but the SEC West will be on the line Thanksgiving weekend in Tuscaloosa.
- LSU Tigers. Reason number two why Alabama fans shouldn’t go ahead and book hotels for Atlanta: LSU has woken up. It was easy to disregard blowout wins over Missouri and Southern Miss as nothing more than a superior team doing what it should, but the 38-21 stomping of Ole Miss doesn't ring so hollow. The combination of Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice is the best in the country; both of those guys will be playing on Sundays next fall. The offense has a real pulse now, and the elite level of talent on defense has become reinvigorated because of it. This team was a preseason contender for the national championship for a reason, and now they are playing like it.
- Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies’ fall to the number four spot has a lot more to do with Auburn and LSU than it does A&M. The Aggies are still a really good football team, but both sets of Tigers are currently playing at a level we haven’t seen from A&M at any point this season. There has been a lot of talk about how down the conference has been this year, and the Aggies’ unquestioned spot behind only Alabama was part of that perception. Again, nothing against the Ags, but this team has looked more like a top-20 team as opposed to a legitimate top-10 unit. That kind of quality usually nets you the fourth or fifth best spot in the SEC, and with Auburn and LSU’s current revitalization, that’s exactly where they now rest.
- Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols finally got a well-deserved day off this Saturday. If they can get most of their injured guys back into the fold, they will be a dangerous team that first week of December in Atlanta.
- Arkansas Razorbacks. Well, that went...poorly. Auburn made it personal with Bret Bielema by taking it right to the heart of his philosophy and whipping the Hogs on both sides of the line of scrimmage. After back-to-back battles with Alabama and Ole Miss, some fatigue was to be expected. But that was ugly. Regardless, this is still a good team, and with a bye week upcoming, the next time the Razorbacks take the field, the calendar will have flipped to NovemBERT.
- Florida Gators. This past weekend was unfortunately robbed of the beauty that is the Florida defense. Cherish it while you can, fair reader.
- Ole Miss Rebels. Earlier in the season, it was apparent that Ole Miss was a team with a few elite units and a couple of glaring weaknesses. Well, the Rebels’ flaws have started to crowd out their strengths, and the brutal schedule hasn’t helped. The defense is just plain bad right now, as the few studs up front have been mostly negated by fatigue and attrition, and the young secondary has been exposed badly. Chad Kelly and his receivers alone can’t save this team, especially when opposing defenses don’t have to respect any kind of run threat. The bottom could be falling out in Oxford, especially with looming NCAA sanctions.
- Georgia Bulldogs. It will be interesting to see if the Georgia offense can get anything going against the Gators in Jacksonville.
- Kentucky Wildcats. With wins over Mississippi State, Vandy, and South Carolina, the ‘Cats are slowly scratching and clawing their way out of the SEC cellar. Can they survive one more scrap in Columbia, Missouri?
- Mississippi State Bulldogs. How bad of a season is State having? There is legitimate heat on Dan Mullen’s job status. Yes, Nick Saban has driven the SEC West insane.
- Vanderbilt Commodores. I guess?
- South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks didn’t lose to their group of five opponent this week.
- Missouri Tigers. Missouri did, however. There really just isn’t much to say about the bottom of the SEC East. It’s terrible.