It was a bad weekend for the nation’s premiere football league. In four games against Power Five schools, the Southeastern Conference went 1-3. Here’s how that changes our SEC Power Rankings following Week 1 of the 2023 college football season.
I know they’re 2-0, but barely holding off the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and then beating an FCS school means nothing. The Vanderbilt Commodores would be two-score underdogs to every team in the league on a neutral field right now, so they still belong at the bottom.
Billy Napier’s team lost 24-11 on the road to the Utah Utes in a game that could’ve easily been 31-3. Major mishaps kept them from keeping it closer, but those mishaps seem like long-term poor coaching issues, which keeps them down here. The Florida Gators are in trouble.
Despite winning, the Missouri Tigers looked pretty sluggish against the South Dakota coyotes, only scoring one touchdown in the second half en route to a 35-10 victory. Eli Drinkwitz is still having to prove himself entering his fourth year on the job, and this game didn’t do him any favors.
11. South Carolina
Nobody took a bigger hit in our SEC Power Rankings for this past weekend than the South Carolina Gamecocks. Spencer Rattler is an elite quarterback, but they have an awful offensive line, and Dowell Loggains is an awful offensive coordinator, which is why they lost 31-17 to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
10. Mississippi State
Don’t look now, but Zach Arnett is 2-0 as head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Okay, so a 48-7 win over the Southeaster Louisiana Lions means very little, and for now, they’re still near the bottom of our SEC Power Rankings, but they haven’t done anything to hurt themselves just yet.
A 56-13 win over the Western Carolina Catamounts means very little. The Arkansas Razorbacks are still a below average but middle of the pack team in the league until they prove otherwise. Sam Pittman and K.J. Jefferson did show promise, though, so maybe they have taken another step.
Some people want to drop the LSU Tigers to the bottom of our SEC Power Rankings after that 45-24 loss to the Florida State Seminoles, and others want to keep them in the top four. They showed too many structural issues to be in the top tier for now, but Brian Kelly’s team isn’t as bad as they looked in that game.
7. Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M Aggies are still going to give us every reason to bet against them, but for at least a weekend, the Bobby Petrino experiment worked out, as they beat the New Mexico Lobos 52-10 in their opener. True, New Mexico is awful, but that’s mainly due to their defense, so this was a good showing.
Welcome back Liam Coen. With him as offensive coordinator and Devin Leary in at quarterback, the Kentucky Wildcats returned to what they do in their 44-14 win over the Ball state Cardinals. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but that’s Mark Stoops football, and hey, they covered, even if at the last minute.
5. Ole Miss
Okay, so it was against an FCS team, but beating the Mercer Bears 73-7 has to count for something. We had no idea of what to make of the Ole Miss Rebels given all their transfer portal additions, but what they showed over the weekend combined with our belief in Lane Kiffin is enough to move them up here.
Again, say what you want about Hugh Freeze the person, but he knows offense, and until he gets in trouble, he’ll have the Auburn Tigers rolling. Beating the UMASS Minutemen 59-14 was pretty impressive. They covered, and the offense was dominant, so for now, they shot up our SEC Power Rankings.
Welcome to the only team this past weekend from the league to beat a Power Five foe. The Vols struggled midway through the second quarter against the Virginia Cavaliers due to their own issues, but they still won the game 49-13. Given what happened to LSU, they are still in a tier that’s a cut above everybody else in the league for now.
With new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, the Georgia Bulldogs showed some major issues in the first half against the UT Martin Skyhawks with new quarterback Carson Beck. They still won 48-7, but it wasn’t a pretty outing, and honestly, for now, we have no choice but to knock them down a spot.
Jalen Milroe put a lot of concerns to be for Alabama Crimson Tide fans as he scored five total touchdowns against the MTSU Blue Raiders. Alabama winning 56-7 is enough for us to put Nick Saban’s team back up at No. 1 in our SEC Power Rankings. We should trust the defense. However, Milroe got a lot of short fields, so he still has much to prove.