The wheat is starting to separate from the chaff. There’s a clear-cut élite that’s emerged at the conference’s top; it’s also clear which teams are the SEC’s worst so far.
Speaking of élite, I suspect my power poll looks a little different from Steve Spurrier’s does right now.
“Florida certainly isn’t down,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. “Vandy’s not down. Kentucky, well, I’m not sure how they’re doing right now. Tennessee actually played pretty well most of the time in that game, and Georgia has got an excellent team.”
Everybody’s a winner in the East! Meanwhile, in the real world…
- LSU (3-0, 1-0). It’s the oldest formula for success in the books – run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense. Throw in an above-average turnover margin and that’s how you rise to the top.
- Alabama (3-0, 0-0). They’ve been as solid as we expected. This week’s game against Arkansas should tell us more about how good the Tide’s defense is.
- Florida (3-0, 1-0). The Gators really haven’t struggled yet. That gets them the narrowest of nods at #3. But you can see where the cracks are starting to develop in the foundation: a shaky secondary, an offensive line that struggles with run blocking and few playmakers on offense.
- South Carolina (3-0, 1-0). Yeah, they’ve struggled, but they’ve won against better competition than Arkansas has faced, so the ‘Cocks are fourth this week. If Marcus Lattimore were a team, I’d rank him first.
- Arkansas (3-0, 1-0). If you had doubts about Arkansas’ defense, Troy didn’t make you feel better. The Hogs’ schedule definitely takes a step up in class the next two weeks with two top ten schools.
- Auburn (2-1, 1-0). Huge, huge drop off from fifth to sixth this week. It’s a shaky pick, based largely on the Tigers having a better offense than the rest of the teams below them. But, man, that defense is bad.
- Mississippi State (1-2, 0-2). They’d beat Vandy unless they lost the turnover battle, so that’s why they’re here.
- Vanderbilt (3-0, 1-0). The Commodores aren’t very good on offense, so the record is a bit of a mirage. But stout defense and stellar turnover margin is the same formula they followed the last time they made it to a bowl game.
- Georgia (1-2, 0-1). I’ve got the motto for this year’s team: “We’ll see.” Get those t-shirts printed, boys!
- Tennessee (2-1, 0-1). It only took one game for the pundits to go from the Vols being this year’s sleeper to really being at least a year away. Justin Hunter going down for the season is a crushing blow. This team is only a couple of injuries on defense away from rapidly heading south.
- Kentucky (2-1, 0-0). A mess on offense and not much better on defense.
- Ole Miss (1-2, 0-1). No matter how hard you try, there’s no way to spin a 23-point loss to Vanderbilt.