SEC football power rankings 2021: It's Alabama football at No. 1, but who's next?
The days when you could speak with certainty about fall college football as soon as the various intrasquad games wrapped up in the spring are over. The transfer portal is not jammed with players seeking a new home to the same degree as basketball, the Friday afternoon I-285 commute of intercollegiate athletics, but it’s busy enough.
There will likely be revised SEC power rankings when the dust settles following SEC Media Days, but until then the speculation hinges more on two things: past history and future schedule.
1. Alabama (13-0 last season)
Like a finely-tailored tuxedo, last season’s Alabama team had the classic look and the finest materials. In 2021, the rest of the league will be looking for that one dangling thread to pull and unravel the entire creation. Young quarterback? Tough SEC schedule with games at Texas A&M and Florida? The other teams will be tugging.
2. Texas A&M (9-1)
It’s not quite right to say Jimbo Fisher’s mouth wrote a large check with his comments about beating Alabama this spring. The modern version is that Jimbo’s mouth better have the password for the ATM memorized. But to be fair, the Aggies have a lot of available assets.
3. LSU (5-5)
Just a guess but it feels possible that LSU could catch lightning in a bottle like it did in 2019.
4. Georgia (8-2)
The simplest logic is to put Georgia at No 2, since it has an SEC schedule built for Atlanta. The season opener against Clemson might make Georgia No. 1 in the country if the Bulldogs find a way to win, but winning that one won't be easy.
5. Florida (8-4)
The 2020 season ended strangely for Florida, although it came closer than anyone to knocking off Alabama. I’m counting on Dan Mullen to make it strange again.
6. Ole Miss (5-5)
Lane Kiffin once helped Alabama to the College Football Playoff by designing an offense around Blake Sims, so it will be fascinating to see what he can do with a veteran Matt Corral.
7. Auburn (6-5)
Always poised to defy expectations, this Auburn team is more mysterious than most. The Tigers are too good to finish in the bottom three, but any other outcome won’t be a shock.
8. Kentucky (5-6)
Alabama just won the SEC in men’s basketball, so ...
9. Mississippi State (4-7)
Have we ever heard definitively on discipline for MSU’s bowl game brawl against Tulsa? Fisticuffs aside, Mike Leach isn’t going to be an easy out for anyone.
10. Arkansas (3-7)
Because expectations were low, Arkansas got a lot of credit for winning three games last season. Hog fans will aim for the postseason, although this doesn’t look like a contender yet.
11. Missouri (5-5)
Connor Bazelak will be one of the league’s better quarterbacks, as good a starting place as any.
12. Tennessee (3-7)
How long will it take to rebuild Rocky Top from the ground up? I’d say there are still some years of anesthetizing with corn in a jar ahead,
13. South Carolina (2-8)
Shane Beamer has been around the block as an SEC assistant. That might not stop the bullies on the block from beating his team up this year.
14. Vanderbilt (0-9)
“Hello, Coach Lea, and welcome to the SEC Hotel. We’ve reserved the same basement room that your predecessors used.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt