Sep 20, 2017
By Chase Gage
Welcome to our first SEC Power Rankings of the year! We here at SlingShot Sports do power rankings a little differently; we do them right.
We don’t just rank teams based on who we think is the best. We rank them based on what the numbers tell us.
For these rankings, we analyzed each team in the SEC in several categories: points per game, points allowed per game, point differential, strength of schedule and overall record. We then took the AP poll into account before making our final list.
A few executive decisions were made, however, as some of the numbers have been skewed due to the caliber of the opponents each team played. In the end, strength of schedule played a huge factor to keep teams like Texas A&M and Ole Miss lower than teams like Florida and Kentucky (as they definitely should be).
Without further ado, here are the Week 3 SEC Power Rankings!
1. (1) Alabama
- Well, this one should be obvious. When analyzing the stats, Bama came in second, but based on their high strength of schedule as well as their top-overall AP ranking and common sense, Alabama is the best in the SEC until someone proves otherwise.
- Stats: 4th in PPG, 4th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: (12) Florida State, W 24-7
2. (11) Georgia
- The two and three spots were tough to decide. Georgia emerged as the victor, though, based on their overall performance against tough competition (Appalachian State is no pushover and they won on the road against Notre Dame). Georgia deserves to be considered the second best team in the league and the best in the East until further notice. This weekend may change their ranking, however, when the #3 team on this list rolls into Athens.
- Stats: 6th in PPG, 5th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: @ Notre Dame, W 20-19
3. (17) Mississippi State
- Mississippi State is the hottest team in the SEC right now. They lead the conference in points per game and point differential, all while boasting the second-least points allowed (less total points allowed than Arkansas and Florida, teams that have only played two games). They’re fresh off of a dominating performance against LSU and are looking to establish themselves as a true West contender this weekend against Georgia.
- Stats: 1st in PPG, 2nd in PA
- Toughest Opponent: (25) LSU, W 37-7
Middle of the Pack
4. (15) Auburn
- The only reason Auburn is this high is because their only loss came at the hands of the #2 team in the country by eight points on the road. You’ve gotta give a little credit to that. The Auburn defense has been stellar, but their offense looks worse than it ever has under Malzahn. The Tigers still have time to get back on track, but they’ve got a tough road ahead.
- Stats: 13th in PPG, 3rd in PA
- Toughest Opponent: @ (2) Clemson, L 14-6
- Though Mississippi State may be the hottest team in the SEC right now, Vanderbilt may be the biggest surprise team so far this season. The Commodores are 3-0 after a big win against (then #18) Kansas State, but their biggest challenges still lie ahead. This weekend they will host the top team in the country when the Crimson Tide come to town. Then, they’ll face the likes of Florida and Georgia in consecutive games. If Vandy can survive the next few weeks, they might come out on the other side as legitimate contenders in the East. Oh, and their defense has only allowed 13 points in three games.
- Stats: T-8th in PPG, 1st in PA
- Toughest Opponent: Kansas State, W 14-7
6. (20) Florida
- The Gators have yet to prove much. They were beaten rather easily by Michigan and it took a miracle on the last play for them to beat a Tennessee team that was trying harder to beat themselves than to beat Florida. The Gator offense is pitiful. They went their first seven quarters of the season without an offensive touchdown. With just over eight minutes to go in their second game, they FINALLY scored their FIRST OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWN OF THE SEASON. That’s not a good sign. However, their defense has picked up the slack, scoring three touchdowns and forcing five turnovers this season. They’ve played two tough games, so maybe when the schedule lightens up a bit, the Gators can get back on track. Oh wait, the schedule doesn’t really get easier when you play in the SEC.
- Stats: 14th in PPG, 12th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: (8) Michigan, L 33-17
7. (25) LSU
- This isn’t the LSU of old. Les Miles is gone and you can already tell. This isn’t the LSU team that scares you. It’s not the team you used to dread seeing on the schedule. However, it’s still LSU, and they’re still a tough opponent in the West. Make no mistake, this is a team that will make a bowl game and have a successful season. But this will be a down year in Baton Rouge.
- Stats: T-10th in PPG, 7th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: @ (17) Mississippi State, L 37-7
- They’re calling for the head of Butch Jones in Knoxville. Isn’t it a little premature for that? Sure, it took double-overtine to beat Georgia Tech. Sure, they lost to Florida on a last-second Hail Mary. But it could be worse. At least the Vols aren’t as bad as the teams coming up on this list.
- Stats: 5th in PPG, 10th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: @ (20) Florida, L 26-20
- Kentucky fans, rejoice! The Wildcats are on their way to becoming a legitimate threat in football and not just basketball. Going back to last season, they’ve won five straight regular season games, including an upset of Louisville at the end of last year. This team is trending in the right direction and could move way up this list if their success continues.
- Stats: 12th in PPG, 6th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: @ South Carolina, W 23-13
Hot Seat Coaches
- The Hogs’ season may very well be on the line in Dallas (well, Arlington) this weekend. Both Arkansas and Texas A&M are at a crossroads. They’ve both looked pathetic so far this season, but they both have the chance to turn it around. If the Razorbacks can make a huge leap forward and dominate this weekend, they could put themselves back into the hunt. Coach B is on shaky ground, but a win this weekend could give him some breathing room.
- Stats: T-8th in PPG, 8th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: (16) TCU, L 28-7
11. Texas A&M
- See: Arkansas. Kevin Sumlin may have the warmest seat in the SEC right now. Texas A&M is in the same boat as the Razorbacks. Something has to change for them to get back on track. A win against a struggling Arkansas team this weekend could set that in motion, but a loss could ultimately cost A&M their season and Sumlin his job.
- Stats: 2nd in PPG, 13th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: UCLA, lost 45-44
12. South Carolina
- Okay, so maybe they don’t belong in the ‘hot seat’ category, but they’re sandwiched between teams that are. South Carolina isn’t a bad team. They’ve made moves in the right direction so far this season. However, when your toughest opponent so far is Kentucky and you’re 2-1 (1-1 SEC) with wins over Missouri and NC State, you’re not quite where you need to be to be considered a contender in this tough conference.
- Stats: T-10th in PPG, 9th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: Kentucky, L 23-13
13. Ole Miss
- Poor Ole Miss. You all know the Hugh Freeze story by now. This year seemed to be doomed from the start, but the Rebels still have a chance to make something out of it. Interim coach Matt Luke needs to step his game up if he wants to remove the ‘interim’ part of his title instead of the ‘coach’ part.
- Stats: 3rd in PPG, 11th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: @ Cal, L 27-16
There’s Always Next Year
- I told you guys from the start. Missouri, better luck next year.
- Stats: 7th in PPG, 14th in PA
- Toughest Opponent: South Carolina, L 31-13