There’s nothing like a new season to remind you how crappy the previous season was. The SEC in 2016 was not “powerful,” but the SEC Pathetic Poll just didn’t sound right. As I said in last year’s final Power Poll, the league was one great team and 13 identical piles of rubble, a statement so true that I felt like saying it again, even though the one great team lost in the national championship game. That made the 13 piles of rubble even rubblier. But one can always build upon the ruins and while the SEC did have a couple of stinkers in Week One, a 3-0 record against the ACC made things feel like old times again.
Week One Rankings (Last year’s final rankings in parentheses)
1. Alabama (1) — Perhaps it’s time to go the Andre the Giant route and have the Crimson Tide play two or three opponents at once. Just don’t ask Nick Saban if that’s a good idea.
2. LSU (2) — They couldn’t go to the bars. They couldn’t go to the coffee houses. They couldn’t go into LSU territory. That left Brigham Young with a patch of New Orleans that wouldn’t park a fair-sized Volkswagen. Still waiting to decide on the Tiger offense, but Coach O’s “D” looked legit.
3. Auburn (3) — This is the week where Auburn finds out if they have captured transfer-quarterback magic once again — or whether they will spend the season shuffling cards at that position again.
4. South Carolina (13) — A lofty ranking here is a reward for beating North Carolina State and allowing SEC fans to boast that the ACC can’t even beat the SEC’s poultry.
5. Tennessee (6) — The Tennessee Trash Can may have been the worst sideline gimmick ever. (Poor Smokey the hound, ousted by a janitorial supply.) But it worked, and if he thinks it will help break the streak, Butch Jones will have a fully operational garbage truck lead the team out of the tunnel in Tuscaloosa.
6. Georgia (9) — Jake Fromm, once an Alabama quarterback commitment, will start for the Bulldogs on one of college football’s most famous playing fields: Notre Dame. Somebody is required to lose, and that means extended misery for either a program that isn’t what it used to be and one that’s never been what it thinks of itself. (I know, I know, Herschel…)
7. Florida (4) — If I weren’t forgiving about the multiple Gator suspensions last week, I’d drop them further. Partly for looking awful (they did) but moreso for making Jim Harbaugh look good.
8. Kentucky (5) — All the East Division teams are bunched together right now because I think there are five teams — including Kentucky — who can win the trip to Atlanta. And I might be doing Vanderbilt a disservice by leaving them out.
9. Mississippi State (10) — Ruston, La., is hardly the place you’d pick to spend a Saturday night — no offense to Terry Bradshaw. MSU should get out unscathed but that’s also what they thought when South Alabama visited last year.
10. Texas A&M (7) — Kevin Sumlin hit the coaching contract lottery when Johnny Manziel led the Aggies past Alabama in 2012. I think he spent the last remaining pocket change from that jackpot of credibility in Pasadena last Saturday.
11. Vanderbilt (8) — The Commodores should cruise past Alabama A&M this week and there is a better chance than you might think of Vandy being undefeated when Alabama comes to town.
12. Arkansas (12) — The Razorbacks did not look sharp in the opener against Florida A&M and while playing in Little Rock isn’t exactly inspiring, they’d better hope that Fayetteville elevates their level of play against TCU.
13. Ole Miss (11) — One more game for the Rebels before they go to the Super Bowl of Infractions Committee hearings.
14. Missouri (14) — When you pay one of the local FCS schools around $400,000 to come visit and then let them score 43 points, you might be being too generous.
Reach Cecil Hurt at 205-722-0225 or tidesports.com.