Alabama crushed Texas A&M (again). Once relevant, this series sits firmly in the Crimson Tide’s corner.
Ole Miss landed the first win of the Lane Kiffin era by topping Kentucky in overtime. Already, you can see how the Rebels’ offense will cause trouble in the SEC.
And in the biggest game of the week, Georgia beat Auburn to solidify its place in the College Football Playoff race.
The second weekend of the SEC season was a revealing one. What’s clear: Alabama, Florida and Georgia are the teams to beat. After two games, here’s an updated look at the conference power rankings.
1. Alabama (Last week: No. 1)
The Crimson Tide don’t budge from atop the list after a 52-24 win against Texas A&M paced by quarterback Mac Jones, who had three touchdown passes of at least 60 yards. Aided by an explosive receiver corps, Jones has gone from a question mark heading into the preseason to a part of the Heisman Trophy race.
2. Georgia (No. 3)
Sluggish in a win against Arkansas to kick off the year, Georgia put together a more complete performance to beat Auburn 27-6 and climb into second place behind Alabama. The Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage and protected quarterback Stetson Bennett, who threw for 240 yards.
Georgia defensive back Mark Webb intercepts a pass in front of Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz during the second half at Sanford Stadium. (Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)
3. Florida (No. 2)
Florida’s rebuild on offense is complete. The Gators have a pair of Heisman Trophy contenders in quarterback Kyle Trask, who threw for another four touchdowns in a 38-24 win against South Carolina, and tight end Kyle Pitts, who now has six scoring grabs through two games.
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4. Tennessee (No. 7)
Tennessee is quietly taking care of business, as it should, against the weaker teams in the East. Saturday’s 35-12 win against Missouri was briefly interesting late in the third quarter but was pretty much dominated by the Volunteers, who have Georgia next.
5. Arkansas (No. 14)
Arkansas at No. 5? It’s deserved. Arkansas led Georgia at halftime. Auburn never sniffed the Bulldogs. Mississippi State beat LSU. The Razorbacks beat Mississippi State. The concern before the year was that Arkansas wouldn’t win a game. After two weeks, it’s clear the Razorbacks are better than expected.
6. Auburn (No. 4)
Losing to Georgia puts Auburn on the outside of the playoff chase with plenty of time to work back into the mix, especially with games to come against the best of the West division. But to get anywhere, the Tigers need to address a running game that has sputtered through two games.
7. Mississippi (No. 10)
This offense alone will make the Rebels a tough out all season. Kiffin’s always adaptable scheme put a strain on Florida in the opener and then scored 42 points in an overtime win at Kentucky, the most the Wildcats had allowed in a game since the end of the 2017 season.
8. Mississippi State (No. 5)
After upending preseason expectations with an upset of LSU to start the year, Mississippi State’s 21-14 loss to Arkansas seems closer to the reality of the situation in Mike Leach’s first season. Will the Bulldogs have afternoons where the offense can’t be stopped? For sure. There may be just as many Saturdays where K.J. Costello and the offense struggle to move the football.
9. LSU (No. 6)
One key to bouncing back after a loss: getting Vanderbilt. After losing last week, LSU recovered with a 41-7 win against Vanderbilt that saw quarterback Myles Brennan throw for 337 yards and four touchdowns, two to all-conference receiver Terrance Marshall. Eleven different receivers made at least one grab as the Tigers’ offense regained some of its 2019 form.
10. Kentucky (No. 8)
Individual plays have meant the difference in each of the Wildcats’ two losses. Kentucky coaches and players might argue that questionable officiating has played the biggest role of all. Either way, it’s going to be a tough month: Mississippi State, Tennessee, Georgia and Missouri round out October.
11. Texas A&M (No. 9)
Another year, another ugly loss to Alabama. These sort of losses, even to Alabama, were supposed to be a thing of the past in Jimbo Fisher’s third season. Instead, the Aggies look just as far from the top of the SEC than at any point in his first two years. And winning seven or so games and finishing in the second half of the Top 25 is OK – it’s just not what A&M is paying for.
12. South Carolina (No. 11)
Down 38-24 with eight minutes left, South Carolina went on an 18-play, 74-yard drive that took more than seven minutes on the clock and ended in zero points. Where’s the urgency? South Carolina needs to play with a heightened sense of energy to have any hope of salvaging three or four wins.
13. Missouri (No. 13)
The ingredients behind an 0-2 start are a new coach, new schemes, an uneven offseason and matchups right out of the gate with Alabama and Tennessee. It’s not a recipe for success. Missouri will improve, if by default, but this will be a struggle of a debut season for coach Eli Drinkwitz.
14. Vanderbilt (No. 12)
With Arkansas showing some life under new coach Sam Pittman, Vanderbilt is the clear pick for the SEC cellar. Here’s the same question as last week: Is there a win on this schedule?