SEC Power Rankings: Steady at the top, but there's a Week 9 game that could settle last place

Cecil Hurt
The Tuscaloosa News

Week 8 in the SEC was like taking a low-dose aspirin after the craziness of the preceding weeks of October. You didn’t get any sort of big kick or unexpected drama; the expected teams won; and the highly ranked teams did what they were supposed to do. Bigger games are ahead, especially a top 25 Auburn-Ole Miss matchup that has real ramifications in the SEC West race, part of a slim (four games) but intriguing Saturday in Week 9.

Here are the SEC Power Rankings:  

No. 1 Georgia (7-0, 5-0)

Last Week: Idle

This week: vs. Florida (Jacksonville)

What to know: Georgia has had its psychological problems with Florida in the past but it is Dan Mullen who seems to have the most to figure out in going against this powerful bunch of Bulldogs.

No. 2 Alabama (7-1, 4-1) 

 Last Week: 2

This week: Idle 

What to know: Can Alabama use the open week to restore itself to dominant form? Nick Saban seemed to be turning up the thermostat on the media in the postgame session after the Tennessee win, so things might be off to a fiery start.

More:Are busted pass coverages part of Alabama football's DNA? Nick Saban has some thoughts on that | Hurt

More:Oddsmakers say Alabama football is fine, but try telling a Finebaum caller that | Toppmeyer

No. 3 Ole Miss (6-1, 3-1) 

Last Week: 4

This week: at Auburn 

What to know: Ole Miss fans know you whisper the word “Atlanta” at your peril. Even when they opened the season there, Hotty Toddy Nation referred to it as “the big city without good gas station food.” To get there for the SEC championship game, Ole Miss needs to beat Auburn and then become the biggest War Eagle fans in America.

No. 4 Kentucky (6-1, 4-1) 

Last Week: 3 

This Week: at Mississippi State 

What to know: It’s hard to slide a team down a notch when it has an off week and a remaining five-game stretch where it could run the table and have the best season since Bear Bryant walked the sideline.

Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada (10) throws a pass for a first down late in the fourth quarter against Alabama last Saturday.

No. 5 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2) 

Last Week: 5 

This Week: Idle

What to know: There doesn’t seem to be an award for best SEC individual turnaround in a season, but Zach Calzada would have to be a lock in 2021.  

No. 6 Auburn (5-2, 2-1) 

Last Week: 6

This Week: vs. Ole Miss 

What to know: Time to start paying attention to Auburn. A win over Ole Miss and it’s time to start paying really close attention.

No. 7 LSU (4-4, 2-3)  

Last Week: 7

This Week: Idle  

What to know: For all anyone knows, LSU has called in sick for the rest of the season. But every time you say the Tigers are done, they give one last effort for Coach O and his buyout. 

No. 8 Florida (4-3, 2-3)  

Last Week: 8

This Week: vs. Georgia (Jacksonville) 

What to know: The rest of the Power Rankings from here are a free-for-all, which happens most seasons – but it’s rare to see Florida in the “anybody’s guess” division. 

No. 9 Tennessee (4-4, 2-3)  

Last Week: 9

This Week: Idle

What to know: Tennessee did some good things at Alabama before running out of gas. With a little patience, the 15-year Rocky Top Soap Opera may have found the right coach.  

No. 10 Mississippi State (4-3, 2-2)  

Last Week: 10

This Week: vs. Kentucky 

What to know: The Bulldogs have had ups and down, but one would still rather invite Michael Myers to your kid’s Halloween party than play Michael Leach in a seemingly certain SEC game. 

Georgia fans root on their team during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Arkansas and Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

No. 11 Arkansas (5-3, 1-3)  

Last Week: 11

This Week:  Idle

What to know: Pine Bluff and then an open week may let Arkansas close out the nation’s toughest schedule on an upswing, if Hogs can swing.  

No. 12 Missouri (3-4, 0-3)  

Last Week: 12 

This Week: at Vanderbilt

What to know: The Tigers’ biggest win of the week may have come on the recruiting trail. If that is still true Saturday night, then yikes!

No. 13 South Carolina (4-4,1-4) 

Last Week: 13

This Week: Idle

What to know: The misery of Clemson fans this season may be the main thing that keeps Gamecock fans showing up for work on Monday mornings.

No. 14 Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-4)

Last Week: 14 

This Week: vs. Missouri 

What to know: Could this be SEC Win Week for Clark Lea? Maybe? Can you rule out an upset of Missouri? Show me.