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SEC Power Rankings after Week 3: LSU back on the rise; Vols in bottom half

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Honestly, play within the league itself has made the Southeastern Conference look worse than it already did. Teams supposed to carry the torch are now losing to some of the teams that were supposed to be at the bottom. That made for a lot of movement in our SEC Power Rankings following Week 3.

14. Vanderbilt Commodores

At least order is restored here. Vanderbilt suffered a tough loss to the UNLV Rebels, but if Clark Lea’s team was going to make a run at a bowl game this year, this was a game they had to win. As a result, they belong clear-cut at the bottom of our SEC Power Rankings.

13. Arkansas Razorbacks

Sam Pittman and the Hogs suffered a home loss to the BYU Cougars over the weekend, and outside of Vanderbilt, this is the worst loss of anybody in the league to a non-conference foe. BYU is undefeated, but nobody thinks they’re great, so Arkansas may be in trouble yet again.

12. Mississippi State Bulldogs

After a hard-fought Power Five win in overtime against the Arizona Wildcats, you’d think Mississippi State was destined to arrive with a huge game against the LSU Tigers in Starkville. They got obliterated. Losing 41-14 is more than enough for us to knock them down here.

11. South Carolina Gamecocks

Don’t read too much into South Carolina putting up a fight with the Georgia Bulldogs. UGA has offensive woes to work out, and they still play down to their opponent. For now, Shane Beamer’s team is staying at No. 11 in our SEC Power Rankings. They’ve got a lot more to prove before they move up.

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10. Kentucky Wildcats

You would think one of the five remaining undefeated teams would be higher up on this list, but Kentucky looked horrible against an FCS school last week, and beating the Akron Zips 35-3 isn’t enough to move them up from that just yet. Mark Stoops’ team still has a lot more to prove.

9. Tennessee Volunteers

An ugly win over the Austin Peay Governors and then a blowout loss to the Florida Gators that wasn’t as close as the score indicated has raised tons of concerns for Josh Heupel’s team. There is all the reason in the world to believe, now, that 8-4 is the ceiling for the Vols.

8. Missouri Tigers

How about Mizzou! They beat the Kansas State Wildcats on a 61-yard field goal. Kansas State was a ranked team at the time, and this is the best win of any SEC team against a non-conference foe. However, they still struggled with the MTSU Blue Raiders a week ago, so we can’t vault them up too much.

7. Florida Gators

Just when Billy Napier was left for dead, he got to play Tennessee, a team Florida almost always beats. The Gators got a top 10 win at home, and that opening-game road loss to the Utah Utes just doesn’t seem to hurt as much anymore. Florida is back in the top 25, and everything is still in front of them.

6. Texas A&M Aggies

There’s no excusing that loss to the Miami Hurricanes, and Texas A&M is still likely to collapse down the stretch at some point, but at least for another week, they look like one of the better teams in the league. A&M blew out the UL Monroe Warhawks 47-3 and still has everything to play for in the SEC.

5. Alabama Crimson Tide

Vegas would probably favor Alabama over a few other teams on this list, but that favoring would be based on brand name alone, not how they are playing. The Tide looked awful in their 17-3 win over the South Florida Bulls, and at 2-1, they have already played three quarterbacks. There’s no way they belong higher in our SEC Power Rankings.

4. Auburn Tigers

Sure, it was just against the Samford Bulldogs, but Hugh Freeze scored a 45-13 win and has Auburn 3-0 right now. You could say Mizzou has a more impressive track record, but that struggle game with MTSU is why they’re much lower. Plus, winning at Cal outweighs beating Kansas State at home. Anyway, now they get a real test, visiting Texas A&M.

3. Ole Miss Rebels

They beat the best Group of Five team in college football, and then they blew out a Power Five team in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Lane Kiffin right now has Ole Miss rolling, and while Alabama will be a huge test for them this weekend to truly determine who belongs at the top of these SEC Power Rankings, they deserve to be high up for now.

2. LSU Tigers

Maybe this is an overreaction, but LSU absolutely beat the brakes off Mississippi State. Add in the fact that the game was in Starkville, Miss., against a team that just won a Power Five game a week before, and that’s enough for us to move LSU back up to No. 2. Their loss is to an elite team at this moment, so they belong here.

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Despite struggling with South Carolina, there’s really nobody else we can put at the top of our SEC Power Rankings for now. Georgia may have quarterback issues, but they are still elite defensively, and Kirby Smart’s team is still in the midst of the longest winning streak in college football.

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