When the season begins, we (myself included) say “great, the games are starting, now we will find out some things.” Wise people know that Weeks 3 and 4, with more conference games, are when things really come into focus. Especially when someone whacks you over the head with a cowbell.

(Last week’s ranking in parentheses)

1. Alabama (1) — The Crimson Tide has some things to work out after the Colorado State game. Relative to the rest of the SEC, that’s like saying “Berkshire Hathaway’s stock price is flat” to a guy eating ramen noodles while he watches his car get repossessed.

2. Mississippi State (7) — No more Under the Radar for this year’s MSU team, which granted LSU no limited immunity at all.

3. Georgia (4) — On a personal note, I hate to see Bulldogs fight. (Someone please get a photo of Bully and Uga together.) Should be a hell of a football game, though.

4. Auburn (5) — If there was ever a year in which the SEC scheduling gods gave AU a break, it’s 2017. The Tigers have some issues but they will be far easier to work out against Missouri than any other East team they could have drawn.

5. Kentucky (10) — This could be Kentucky’s best shot to win the East in 25 years, when divisional play began. But before they start making the ceremonial bourbon bottles, UK needs to show consistency — and win games like the one against Florida.

6. Florida (9) — If it takes luck at Kentucky this weekend, Florida may be fresh out. Usually, it doesn’t take luck — but this year might be different.

7. LSU (2) — The Tigers’ best move might be to replace Ed Orgeron with Sherlock Holmes because they looked like they didn’t have a clue on Saturday night.

8. Vanderbilt (8) — The honest truth is that, based on accomplishments to date, Vandy deserves to be ranked ahead of LSU. Shattering that force field is going to require one more week of strength on my part, though.

9. Tennessee (6) — Take one trash can. Insert one goal-line strategy. Set afire. Stand around sipping some ‘shine. Cry a little.

10. South Carolina (3) — “The Gamecocks laid an egg” is too easy. But when you get a lofty ranking in the Power Poll and then embarrass me, you have to take leftovers and like them.

11. Ole Miss (11) — They played so late on Saturday (losing at Cal) that I fell asleep and thus have less bad things to say about the performance than it probably deserved.

12. Texas A&M (12) — The question has to be asked: how many millions of dollars does Kevin Sumlin actually owe Johnny Manziel?

13. Arkansas (13) — The Razorbacks — the only team in America who can legitimately wear an angry pig on their helmet — are going with a “Dallas Cowboys tribute uniform” this week. This is just sad.

14. Missouri (14) — Just like last year, Missouri has wandered away and is lost in the woods again. “Everyone said Purdue Pete was a nice man! Then he beat us up!” “I hate the SEC! We should have joined the Big Ten!” “Purdue Pete is IN the Big Ten!” “Then we should have joined the MAC!”